Review: The Only Purple House in Town by Ann Aguirre

The Only Purple House in Town by Ann Aguirre

Timy reviews The Only Purple House in Town, the fourth, standalone Fantasy rom com novel in the Fix-it Witches series by Ann Aguirre.

An eARC was received by the publisher, Sourcebooks via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book
Series:Fix-it Witches #4 / standalone
Genre:Fantasy, Romance
Publisher:Sourcebooks
Date of Publishing:July 11, 2023
Trigger Warnings:
Page count:362
Possible The Sound of Madness Reading Challenge prompts:
  • Free Your Mind
  • Are You Gonna Be My Girl
  • Mindenütt jó (Everywhere is Good)
  • You Look Better When I’m Drunk
  • Keepsake
  • Misfits
  • Family Portrait
Book Blurb
The Only Purple House in Town by Ann Aguirre

Iris Collins is the messy one in her family. The “chaos bunny.” Her sisters are all wildly successful, while she can’t balance her budget for a single month. It’s no wonder she’s in debt to her roommates. When she unexpectedly inherits a house from her great aunt, her plan to turn it into a B&B fails—as most of her plans do. She winds up renting rooms like a Victorian spinster, collecting other lost souls…and not all of them are “human.”

Eli Reese grew up as the nerdy outcast in school, but he got rich designing apps. Now he’s successful by any standards. But he’s never had the same luck in finding a real community or people who understand him. Over the years, he’s never forgotten his first crush, so when he spots her at a café, he takes it as a sign. Except then he gets sucked into the Iris-verse and somehow ends up renting one of her B&B rooms. As the days pass, Eli grows enchanted by the misfit boarders staying in the house…and even more so by Iris. Could Eli have finally found a person and a place to call “home”?

Song of the Book

Well, well, picking a song was much easier than I would have thought. I’ll leave you with Every Breath You Take by The Police without any further comment.

Review

I’m slightly late with this review, as I was supposed to read The Only Purple House in Town just before its release on July 11, 2023. But then life happened, and I only just got around to doing it. I requested an ARC on NetGalley earlier this year, because I knew that I would need something light and fun in the summer between all my SPFBO books. And while it’s definitely a quick and light read, it was also quite underwhelming on the whole.

The Only Purple House in Town is the fourth book in a series, but it works as a standalone. You are not going to miss anything if you start here, although I definitely would have liked a bit more depth to the worldbuilding. It’s set in the present, only supernatural creatures are real and they live among the people. Witches came out a couple of years ago opening the way to the others. It’s a sensitive balance, and as with everything else, there are people who refuse to believe them, people who are actively against them, and people who accept reality. There are some reflections on societal issues, but as with everything else, it feels a bit superficial.

Iris belongs to a family of psychic vampires, although she is always the odd one out, not showing any abilities. She lives day by day, she is pretty much broke, has a heap of debts, and no jobs to speak of. If we don’t count the fledgling online jewelry shop that refuses to take off. At least some of her problems seem to get solved when her great aunt leaves her house to her, without any explanation. Iris decides to rent out the rooms to earn money and renovate the house as she goes.

Eli, on the other hand, has a couple of successful apps which keep him wealthy and free to come and go as he likes. He is also a shapeshifter and a lone wolf. The only person he connects with is his grandmother who raised him since his teen years. He returns to this family home to help her pack up her life as she moves to New Mexico and to look over the selling of the house. While doing that he runs into Iris, who once stood up for him, when other kids bullied him. He is determined to finally say thanks, but after a series of misunderstandings, he ends up moving into her house, renting one of the rooms.

As you might imagine, The Only Purple House in Town has all the usual twists and turns any rom com has. It builds on all the common tropes and clichés and doesn’t bring anything new to the picture. And all this would be fine, but the truth is, there is zero chemistry between the two MCs, and they are also the most boring/annoying people in the cast. I understand what the author intended with them, but it just doesn’t work. Eli is just a creep and a liar (he keeps stalking Iris on social media for years, and yes, we all check up on old acquaintances out of curiosity, but not once a month for fucking years, yikes). I also get him being a sensitive person and being anxious to talk to Iris at first, but come on, how hard it would be to tell her what’s up? And don’t even get me started on him trying to play Prince Charming and try solving all of Iris’ problems with his money. Behind her back. Geez.

I liked the other housemates, who got introduced one by one, giving them the spotlight so we could learn about their backgrounds a bit and get familiar with them. They also have different personalities and also happen to have skills they can barter for lower rent, while the house gets renewed in and out. But at the same time, while the MCs have at least some depth to them, most of the other characters (the housemates and Iris’ family) are either annoyingly sweet and kind, or selfish and hateful. There are just rarely any in-betweens.

To be fair, there are some cool ideas in The Only Purple House in Town. Like the fix-it witches, who can repair stuff be it a hall wall, a broken phone, or a broken walkman for that matter. There are a number of queer characters and I think my favorite thing about this book was how these very different people came together and became a real family. And despite my issues with it, I found it very easy to read – I got it done in 2 days.

The Only Purple House in Town is not particularly fun, but it has its moments. If the focus was on the found family aspect and delved deeper into these people’s lives and backgrounds, it would have been much better for it. As it is, it’s a superficial story about friendship and a love interest which makes the reader a tad uncomfortable. Probably not the intention of the author. I don’t know about the rest of the series, as this was the first I read from Ann Aguirre, so you might have to make up your own mind if you ever pick up any of the books.

Our Judgement
Into a Cell with Them - 2.5 Crowns

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