Breath of Magic
You take a partially trained witch who was raised in part by Puritans, add a jaded billionaire, and bring them together. My first thought was (with minimal eye-rolling), only in a romance. After a few pages, I became a believer. In Breath of Magic, Teresa Medeiros demonstrated to me why so many fans believe she is one of the best authors in the time-travel arena.
Puritan life was hard, especially for women, and darn near impossible to tolerate for a would-be witch. Arian was sent from her grandmother’s in France, in the late 1600’s, to live with her mother in the New World. She discovered upon her arrival that her mother was dead, and her new stepfather intended to make sure she became a God-fearing person. With no other recourse, Arian tries to fit in as best she can, but she can not help but continue to develop her magical skills when she is alone. After being hit by a floating candleholder, her stepfather does the only thing he can think of to bring the evil out of her – he goes to the local minister for help. The minister immediately calls the local populace in for a trial, and in a frenzy of godliness, tosses a tied Arian into the water for the witch test. Arian, with the help of her amulet, a keepsake from her mother, manages to magic herself to present day Manhattan, where she finds herself alive and flying (you guessed it) on a broomstick. A broomstick that she can’t control. She crash lands in the courtyard of the Lennox Tower, and is soon in the arms of owner of said tower, Tristan Lennox.
Tristan is considered an eccentric, and his latest antics do nothing to improve his image. He has offered one million dollars to anyone that can actually prove that magic exists. He is in the courtyard interviewing “magicians” when Arian, with the help of her broomstick, drops in. He decides to keep her within his sight while he has a team of researchers examine the broomstick, and Arian herself, to try to disclaim her “obvious” attempt to win the prize money, so he keeps her in his apartment.
Tristan, being a jaded tycoon, gradually learns to trust Arian. Arian gradually learns how to take care of herself in a very different future that is full of wonderful opportunities. They go through heartache, a kidnapping, a secondary mystery, and some time-travel before they are finally able to begin the happily-ever-after part.
Teresa Medieros realistically portrayed Arian as a woman from the 1600’s. She found wonder in everything. She had trouble with the clothes and personal hygiene habits of today (we actually shave the downy fur on our legs!). Tristan also is well created. He is cool, efficient, and doesn’t know how to handle the chaos – both physical and emotional – that Arian brings into his life. These are well written characters who are easy to like. The secondary characters are also interesting – a burly bodyguard who considers his job as something he does before he is “discovered” as an actor, despite his poor English. The hero’s best friend – an American Indian who works at Tristan’s company as the legal advisor. A few others, including two pretty disgusting villains. The plot is interesting. There is humor and intrigue. Passion and betrayal. A lot to cover in a tiny review.
There are also a few things that bothered me. One, this book suspiciously lacked females – there is only one other woman besides the heroine, and she is just mentioned a few times in passing. Medeiros also uses the time-tested plot device of having the hero betray the heroine emotionally near the end. I liked and respected both up until that point. Who can respect someone who hurts the woman he loves so badly? Who can respect a woman who forgives so easily? He opens his arms, and in she goes, without needing an apology or anything. I, for one would have given him a few choice kicks before being so forgiving. Two more itty-bitty things … the line— “Oh, my!” she exclaimed. “You’re not withered up at all!” … and, a moment near the end when three adults use a getaway broom (do they make brooms that big?).
Through it all I laughed, cheered, glowered, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Despite the very few irritants, this book is one that kept me up into the wee hours. A man who, beneath it all, wants to do what is right, a woman who finds joy in everything and can hurl a mean fireball – what more could a person want?