Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Thinking Woman's Guide To Real Magic

Nora Fischer's life is not going well.  She is stuck on her doctoral thesis and her advisor is making hints about a probation.  Her boyfriend has come home, not to propose as she thought, but to announce he's marrying someone else.  Distraught and fed up with life, she wanders off on a mountain walk and inadvertently falls through a door into another world.

As Nora walks, she comes upon a gorgeous country estate.  The owner, a beautiful, sophisticated woman who reminds Nora of those 60's women like Jackie O, seems delighted to find Nora trespassing and insists she stays for a party that night.  Somehow, that party stretches into weeks, and before Nora knows it, she has fallen in love with the woman's son and they are married.  However things are not what they seem.  For she has fallen in with fairies and the enchantment she is under falls apart when she sees her husband for what he is, and he tries to kill her.

Escaping by the wiles of a magician she had met, she realizes what had happened to her.  The magician is an man of vast age, charismatic and known throughout the land as the greatest magician ever, but he has his faults.  He is often remote, surly at times and not one to suffer fools gladly.  Then there are the rumors about how his own marriage ended, and the rumors aren't good.  Nora comes into his household as a servant but slowly begins to become his student and learn magic herself.  When the chance to go back to her own world opens up, which world will Nora choose?

Emily Croy Barker has written an engaging, charming fantasy.  It is full of dangers and romance, evil and good, battles and spells and alliances.  Who could resist a world where hungry ice demons can be warded off with poetry or where one starts to learn magic by putting back shattered plates?  Nora is a believable heroine and the reader will fall in love with her, while the magician, Aruendiel is a man any woman would love to meet.  This book is recommended for fantasy lovers and those English majors who suspect that there is more to life than books.

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