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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Midsummer Magic

Midsummer Magic by Molly Stark
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Review by Snapdragon

Marry a murderer or end up on the streets, destitute and alone.
When spinster and poor relation Mira Fitzhenry’s odious aunt and uncle force her to make a choice straight out of Ann Radcliffe, logical Mira plans to create her own alternative. As Mira falls under the spell of Nicholas Ellerby’s alchemical eyes, however, she discovers that the line between logic and love is not always clear...and a wrong choice may cost Mira her life.

Nicholas Ellerby, Viscount Balthazor, can ill-afford a wife who might expose his family secrets or worse, fall victim to them. When his father finds him a bride, Nicholas expects a feather-brained young miss, tepid as tea and malleable as mud, not Mira Fitzhenry. Mira’s cleverness and persistence threaten everything Nicholas holds dear...including his heart.

It will be the classic, nineteenth-century arranged marriage – known and regrettable, perhaps, but for all that, there is something deeply compelling in Miss Mira Fitzhenry’s plight. After all, how many poor relations are so poor they get married off to a… a… well, an actual murderer? There seems little doubt – about either his guilt or the marriage... but who could foresee the impact of these two dissimilar people being brought so abruptly together? And she is hardly what he expects: Mira is not the sort to give way to ‘the vapors’ because someone is determined to intimidate.

From the height-of-season ball to the little riding party, subtle moments of fun and teasing bits of dialogue serve to lighten what could be a very dark affair. Not the least of which is because the Viscount Nicholas is so much more than Mira ever imagined. For those that love the historical, the discussion among her lady friends (nicely camouflaged but certainly slightly mean-spirited) is fun reading too.

Midsummer Magic is simply spellbinding; from romance to mystery, twined neatly in a historical package and spiced with that hint of a power one cannot quite put a finger on… Stark has written a wonderful novel of love and intrigue, deception, and the amazing power of a determined person (or two).

Delightful sensual descriptions and fast-paced, heart thudding action all take a backseat to the engaging characters Stark has created. The main characters are original, fun, and can be quite passionate. Some secondary characters are simply wonderful – the villains nicely villainous, the odious relatives satisfying to thoroughly detest. An utterly entertaining read. My one question is, when book 2 of ‘Sisters of the Heart’ due out?