Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic-Emily Croy Barker

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic

Emily Croy Barker

Viking/Pamela Dorman, Aug 1 2013, $27.95

ISBN 9780670023660

The mouse stuck on the glue trap reminds Nora that her roommate Dane allowed her cat Astrophel to escape their house and be run over. Using expensive olive oil she frees the rodent but cannot tell Adam as he just told her he is marrying someone else. At the English Department, an irritated Naomi lectures her for being late on her dissertation documents and for her last second request to study Donne at Cambridge; Nora admits she is stuck. At the library she literally bangs heads with Farmer Dahmer.

Feeling like she will implode as her self-esteem has been nuked; Nora wanders into the woods until she gets lost and finds a nineteenth century cemetery. She looks at some of the inscriptions and reads out loud a creepy poem etched on a stone with today’s month and day only in 1833. Suddenly her need to escape her depressing realty becomes true as Nora finds herself encountering nasty fairies and soon afterward Aruendiel the magician, He explains she has been spelled multiple times and must quickly learn to use magic if she wants to stay alive and also one day to go home.

This is a wonderful leisurely-paced romantic fantasy as the protagonist learns that sometimes you get what you wished for. With a nod to classical English literature including poetry, fans will enjoy this engaging good and evil tale though also wonder about the heroine’s go with the flow attitude rather than more of a shocked and awed Nora “Through the Looking Glass”.

Harriet Klausner

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