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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Magic Man

I'm back! Did you miss me? Italy was wonderful. Ten days of sunshine and temperatures in the 90s (mid-30s for anyone not in the U.S.). I took 20 books along, and read much less than I'd expected to. I was too busy.

I wrote this review out longhand... and learned my lesson. It's much, much easier using a keyboard.

****½ Magic Man by Patricia Rice. Historical romance.

Finally! Aidan's story! I've been waiting for this for a while.

Aidan has been the mysterious relative of the Malcolms--or is it the Iveses--throughout this historical romance series about two families with magical gifts. He has a habit of coming to the characters' aid and then disappearing, always disparaging those magical gifts and denying any suggestion that he might have gifts of his own.

And that's how we find him at the beginning of Magic Man--m,inding his own business, until he's summoned to the aid of the Malcolms, and the itch on his nose leads him straight to their visitor, Mora, who's being attacked by brigands.

Mora, for her part, would love to have magical gifts, but doesn't believe she does. Still, when her adoptive parents dies and she'll have to leave her home, she sees no harm in trying A Spelle for Trubble in the Journal of Lessons her mother left her.

The answer to her troubles comes in the form of an invitation to stay at the Malcolms' country estate, and the man who saves her from attack, and who seems to be able to make the earth move--literally.

Aidan is also on the verge of losing his home to a greedy aunt who insists his illegitimacy makes him ineligible to inherit. Making matters worse, she intends to expand her coal mine, destroying the homes of his tenants.

As he searches for some other heir or some way to protect his land and people, it becomes more and more difficult to deny his heritage and his magical gifts, particularly with Mora around, who's developing gifts of her own, and also discovering her own heritage.

While I enjoyed the magic/paranormal aspects of the story, what made it exceptional for me was the characters and their romance. Both Aidan and Mora are complex characters, and both are dealing with similar issues, though from different angles. They're both dealing with a loss of their homes, a lack of family, and the possibility of magic talents. And just as their magic talents complement each other, so do their family and home issues, making Magic Man satisfying both emotionally--because I cared about the characters, and intellectually--because the story fit together so completely.

Unfortunately, Magic Man is the last of the series. I'm going to miss the Malcolms and the Iveses, but kudos to Ms. Rice for not drawing a series out until it gets dull. I'm going to have to check out her other books--in my experience, a talent like this for characterization and satisfying romance plots carries over to other sub-genres.


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Hurray! Darla's back! I missed you.
Welcome back! Italy sounds like it was terrible! LOL!!
Welcome back Darla! Miss ya!

Julia (JDRobb)
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