Kissed by Magic
Kissed by Magic snuck up on me. It had a rather slow start, but as I read further and further, I realized I was enjoying it more and more. It’s always nice to enjoy an author’s debut novel, and I can say I finished this one with a smile on my face.
Pixies Allegro and Largo have a rather daunting mission ahead of them to help keep their tiny world of Jubilant afloat in the clouds. Jubilant floats on the power of love, and Allegro and Largo must pair together two very unlikely people, the Earl of Falconwood and Phaidra Moore, a 27-year-old spinster on the very fringe of society. (Her family is in trade, dye to be specific).
Kain, is known as the “Black Falcon” – and it’s not an affectionate nickname. The rumors say that he killed his brother to claim the title and he is known as a ruthless adversary who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. What he wants now is the secret of the dye known as Nottingham Blue. Phaidra’s father has let it be known that the dye will be part of her dowry, which humiliates Phaidra since she has no desire to marry. Phaidra wants to have her own millinery shop, although her hat customers are scarce.
When the “callers” (as the pixies are known to the Moore family) come, Phaidra is not surprised since they have formed love matches for all of her ancestors, including her father. However, she is surprised that the Black Falcon is supposed to be her true love. She’s even more surprised when he point blank offers to marry her for the Nottingham Blue dye. Phaidra has more pressing concerns than love however, which involve her hotheaded young cousin Ramsey, who has gotten involved with the plight of the stockingers, hand-weavers of stockings who lost their jobs and agitated for reforms when the industrial revolution came to England. (I had no idea who the stockingers were until I read this book. Learning more history is always a plus.)
Ramsey crosses paths with Kain, and Phaidra is desperate to save Ramsey from Kain’s wrath. However, nothing turns out as Phaidra expects, Kain is definitely not what he first seems, especially with regard to Ramsey, and as Allegro and Largo work together to convince Phaidra that the earl needs her love, she opens her heart to him.
I liked Phaidra, she is an off-beat irreverent heroine who has no qualms about talking to pixies. She wants to be independent, but realizes that love can give her independence and her other dreams in life. She’s also the only one to see through Kain’s gruff façade to the grieving person he holds inside. Her quest to make everyone else acknowledge his innate goodness is hilarious and made me smile. Kain prefers people to believe he is ruthless, dangerous and mean. He melts like a marshmallow around Phaidra, however, and cannot figure out why. The tactics he uses in trying to drum up customers for Phaidra’s hats are priceless. His journey through his unfinished grieving process and acceptance of what happened to his brother make him a better person for Phaidra.
Allegro and Largo have their hands full with Phaidra and Kain, and I laughed out loud at some of the antics they came up with to bring these two together. I was initially afraid they would be annoying and extraneous, but instead, they become well rounded characters in their own right.
For those looking for a fun, whimsical fantasy romance, this one definitely fits the bill and I look forward to more books from this author. Brava!