Book Review: When A Stranger Comes by Karen S. Bell

Title: When A Stranger Comes
Author: Karen S. Bell
Genre: Magical Realism, Supernatural, Paranormal, Mystery
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Satisfying one’s greed can come at a devilishly high cost.

Achieving what you crave can also bring the terrifying fear of losing it. For Alexa Wainwright, this truth has become her nightmare. Born Gladys Lipschitz, the daughter of an unwed Soviet-era Jewish immigrant, she was beyond thrilled and amazed when her debut novel, A Foregone Conclusion, soared to number one on the bestseller’s list and became an international sensation. The accompanying fame and riches were beyond her expectations. Unfortunately, her subsequent work has yet to achieve the same reception by critics and readers. Yes, they have sold well based on her name recognition, but she dreads the possibility of becoming a mid-list author forgotten and ignored. She vows to do whatever it takes to attain the heady ego-stroking success of her debut. But is she really?
Witnessing an out-of-the-blue lightning bolt whose giant tendrils spread over the blue sky and city streets below her loft window, Alexa doesn’t realize just how this vow will be tested as she’s magically transported to an alternate reality. In this universe, the characters from her books are given the breath of life and she meets publisher, King Blakemore, who just might be the Devil himself. At first, she shrugs off her doubts about this peculiar publisher and very lucrative book deal offer because the temptation of riches and refound fame is too strong. But all too soon, Alexa realizes she’s trapped in an underworld of evil from which she desperately wants to escape. For starters, she finds herself in an iron-clad book contract that changes its wording whenever she thinks of a loophole. Desperate to get her life back, she devises schemes to untether herself from this hellish existence. She’s also aided by the forces for good who attempt to help her. However, King Blakemore is cleverer and more powerful than she can begin to understand. Playfully, he decides to give Alexa a second chance to save herself from eternity with him and to be free. He offers her the prospect of a rewrite, as most authors do as part of the writing process. Given this chance, will Alexa make the same choices and the same mistakes again?

In When A Stranger Comes, Alexa Wainwright’s debut novel, A Foregone Conclusion, reached number one on several bestseller lists, becoming an international sensation. Of course, Alexa never imagined such fame and fortune, and when it stays out for her subsequent books, she cows to do whatever it takes to attain the success her debut novel received.

One night, she suddenly sees a lightning bolt in the sky, and it magically transports her to an alternate reality. There, she meets King Blakemore, a publisher who might turn out to be much more than a regular publisher. Evil is everywhere in this alternate reality, and if Alexa wants to escape, she’ll have to use all her wits, intelligence and inspiration to get out of there.

This book had such an original plot, I was completely blown away by it. From the moment I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. The writing was strong too, and Alexa was an intriguing character, although a tad superficial at first with her constant need for fame and success, she changed and grew a lot throughout the book, learning to value other, more important things.

When A Stranger Comes was an entertaining, fun read that I would recommend to all fans of magical realism.



  1. Thank you for this nice review.


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