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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Bagpipes and Basil by Zoe Tasia is the second book in the Shrouded Isle series. Becca thought the island she now calls home was all she needed to give her and her daughters a fulfilling life and despite her new role as keeper of the forest, she still feels out of place. Finding balance in her life comes with its challenges, as she works to manage her keeper training with being a mother and facing a family visit. Her boyfriend, Greg, is facing changes in his life, with Becca’s help, from living alone in the forest to becoming part of society. When dangerous forces threaten those they care about and the island they call home, they must work together to save all.
Zoe Tasia explores Becca’s journey and her struggle to overcome feeling like an outsider. She learns the importance of the keeper role as the story delves into Greg’s history and explores how the powers work. The keeper’s role is a focal point of the story and becomes a central part of who Becca is. The island is described in detail, creating a place readers will want to escape to, and a place that gives Becca a chance to become someone else. The wonder of the island comes from the magical beings introduced throughout such as Puck, selkies, and fairies.
The relationship between Becca and Greg has a lovely balance in how they help each other. This helps to give heart to the story by using their partnership and respect for the island as a foundation for their relationship; romance and family are important to Becca, providing her with different layers to her personality. The story also has a humorous element displayed in Becca’s attitude, such as her belief Tinkerbell wasn’t a glittery ball of sunshine and her hope for a bee in a bonnet to sting a girl. Bagpipes and Basil is about finding your place and understanding your purpose, with a lovely setting, charming characters, and magic.