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  • Writer's picturecharlottelzang

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic

When I added this book to my shelves, tucking it away to read at a later date, I had picked it because of the story plot of modern day person stumbling into an unknown realm of a magic and danger. I have always had a strong wish that one-day I would walk through a door into a small shop and by some haphazard accident tumble into a world of magic and fairy and knights. Of course as I got older I realized just how dangerous that would be but that did not and has not quelled the desire and the magical feeling I get when I read a story wherein that is exactly what happens.

I was feeling a bit fantastical myself lately and focusing my attentions on one of my more magical novel ideas (also already partially finished) so I picked this from my “to read” section on the shelf and was immediately glad for it. I also had an instant feeling of connection with Nora, our heroine, who is a scholar in English. The book dances through our real world with ease, giving us a sense of the things we know, making us comfortable and then transitions into a place vaguely familiar on into something unknown and as bewildering to us as it is to Nora.

Enchanted by the beauties of the “fairy” queen Illisa, Nora finds herself enveloped in a world filled with anything and everything her heart could desire. Which, it turns out, was exactly what the queen was using to keep her there and have her produce an heir to the kingdom with her son Raclin. Raclin, as it turns out, is not all that he appears. On a chance encounter, completely by accident, Nora first meets the magician Aruendiel. And while nothing at first would hypothesize that he would turn into one of the most dashing and wonderfully complex characters of the novel, it doesn’t take long to find ones self falling in love with him, regardless of his faults. (He has quite a few, mind.)

The story, with almost a wink and smile, hints at being a strange retelling of Pride and Prejudice. That novel itself is featured in the novel many times. But the characters, the setting and the overall story arch are entirely different.

As I finished the book, seeing the pages left growing smaller and smaller, a grave sense of dread came over me. I hoped upon hope that it was not going to turn out how I knew it was going to turn out. When finished, I tossed the book down to the floor and felt as if I had just been dumped. How could she! (I’ll say nothing more and ruin anything, no spoilers here, you’ll have to read it.) Then, quickly! I opened my computer with a glimmer of hope that perhaps there was already a second tale to be purchased immediately.

I was disheartened to find that there wasn’t, but in only a fragment of research, I did indeed discover that a second novel is in the works!! Yay! Joy! Happiness!

I cannot wait for it to become available, whenever that might be, and see this grievous wrong set right. I may be over stating based on my emotions, but I think anyone who reads this will find that they are in want for a great deal more than The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic gives us in the first go around.

Eagerly awaiting book two Emily Croy Barker!

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