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Essential Magic
Cara McKinnon. Stars and Stone, $15.95 trade paper (244p) ISBN 978-0-9989514-2-3
The nimble first romance of McKinnon’s Fay of the Sky series blends magic and passion in Victorian England. Etta Mae Cook travels to London from Appalachia to learn magic from her far-flung family at her mother’s deathbed request. Upon arrival, she meets her distant cousin Malcolm Steward, a powerful mage who has given up magic after a tragic accident in his youth. Malcolm is instantly attracted to Etta Mae, but his father has informed him that if he does not find a wife from within respectable London society before the season is out he will lose his allowance. Meanwhile, Queen Victoria feels threatened by the magic of London’s elite, who have used their powers to shore up their positions in society, and hopes to destabilize their power using Etta Mae as a pawn in her political game. The worldbuilding occasionally grows murky as readers are thrown into the magical conflict without a full explanation of the backstory, but Malcolm and Etta Mae’s forbidden love for one another will be enough to keep the pages turning. This light, enjoyable romance will leave readers excited for the next in the series. (Self-published)

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on 04/24/2020

Release date 10/01/2017

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