Desert Isle Keeper
When I read a book and find myself gasping with delight as I read it, I know I have found a gem! When I almost hyperventilated as I read Forbidden Magic, I knew it was a keeper.
Meg Gillingham has been left in a fine mess by the death of her parents. She has two brothers and two sisters and no money. The family is living in a house provided by Sir Arthur Jakes, a so-called friend of the family. When Sir Arthur says he will turn them all out unless fifteen year old Laura Gillingham becomes his mistress, Meg takes action.
The women of Meg’s family have a magic talisman – a stone statue called a Sheelagh ma gig. The sheelagh can grant wishes, but while your wish comes true, there are future consequences that might not be very pleasant. Still, desperate times call for desperate measures, and Meg makes her wish.
At the same time, the Earl of Saxonhurst (known as Sax) is throwing a fit. He had promised his grandmother, the Duchess of Daingerfield that he would marry by his 25th birthday or he would allow her to choose his wife. Since Sax’s grandmother is a vicious old beldam, he has to get married – fast! One of Sax’s servants has a sister who once worked for the Gillinghams and she tells him about Meg’s plight. Meg and Sax are swiftly married, to the Duchess’s disgust. In all the hurry, the sheelagh is left behind in Sir Arthur’s possession. Meg is afraid that if Sax finds out about the sheelagh, he might think that she trapped him into marriage by magic, plus she shudders to think what would happen if Sir Arthur gets his slimy hands on the magic statue.
Forbidden Magic is sheer delight! The Earl of Saxonhurst is so lovable and charming that he takes your breath away. The scene where his servants gather to watch him throw a fit while they make bets on just what piece of ugly bric-a-brac he will break next is one of the funniest scenes I have read in a long time. Sax’s parrot Knox is a totally original creation. We have seen parrots in novels before, but they were almost always swearing parrots. Knox does not swear – he is a misogynist. Whenever he sees a woman he shrieks, “Women, women, road to hell – Eve, Delilah!” and then turns his back.
Meg is charming, but a bit of a fluffy head. How she resisted the charms of Saxonhurst for as long as she did, I will never understand. There is only one big love scene in the book, but the sexual tension leading up to it is handled masterfully. The secondary characters, Meg’s brothers and sisters and Sax’s servants are all just wonderful. Sequels please.
Forbidden Magic had me laughing and staying up late to finish it. I can’t imagine anyone not liking this book, and if by chance I meet someone who doesn’t – it’s probably my sister, the pickiest reader in the world.