Friday, April 01, 2011

Review - Merely Magic

Merely Magic
By Patricia Rice
Sourcebooks, Casablanca
ISBN: 9781402251931
February 2011

Healer Ninian Malcolm Siddons is resigned to living alone. The local villager men are wary and so far, none have approached her with more than a respectful tip of the cap. That is until Beltane when Lord Drogo Ives rescues her from a drunken reveler. .

Ninian’s grandmother had always warned her to stay away from the Ives which until now hadn’t been a problem since no Ives were anywhere to be found. But now, Drogo Ives and three women had returned to Wystan Castle, an ancient keep that had originally belonged to the Malcolms. Not that Ninian really cared one way or the other. She was content with her magical, if lonely, life.

Drogo Ives is a man of science. He could wile away hours with his telescope or papers and books. Alas, his family, who he loves dearly, and his title of Earl, keeps him almost fully occupied. His brothers have inherited the Ives ability to procreate like rabbits so Drogo has to take care of their offspring. And his widowed sister, Sarah, with her friends, an unwed mother and an unhappy companion, had had to accompany him to this rural location. It seemed to much to ask for a moment for his own interests, one of which was the intriguing young woman he’d met on Beltane. In his mind’s eye, he could still see her laughing eyes and hear the mischief in her voice when she called herself a witch.

A lesser man might believe her but not Drogo. To him, she was no more a witch than any other female even if he styled her a ‘moon maiden’. Although he conceded she might be a touch daft, when his sister asked for a midwife for her friend, Ninian was the first one to come to mind. In no time, the lovely healer is set up in a room in the castle and introduced to his family.

Ninian knows that moving into the castle could ruin her reputation. Though raised rurally, she was born to the peerage class where a woman’s reputation was most important. She, however, doesn’t believe she’ll ever need to worry about her reputation. She has no expectations of a good marriage and no prospect to base such a hope on. Except, perhaps, for Lord Ives with his studious mind and quick understanding…and devastating good looks. As they work together to solve a series of disasters affecting the valley, disasters that commenced with his return to Wystan Castle, their relationship grows until Ninian discovers the magic of love.

But she will not stay with a man who doesn’t believe in her magic and Drogo certainly does not. Can she convince him of her powers? Or is she destined to live out her life alone?

This was a fascinating read even though the paranormal was light. I enjoyed learning about Ninian and Drogo and the history of their two families. The plot wasn’t simply the standard boy meets girl. It had enough twists and turns to really hold the readers attention. The love affair between Ninian and Drogo ranges from sweet to raging hot to bittersweet and all stages in between in a remarkable display of characterization.

All in all, Merely Magic is a terrific and enjoyable read.

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