Magic and Moonlight
I was so impressed with the way this book started out that I initially toyed with the notion of giving it an “A” and honoring it with Desert Isle Keeper status. In my notes for the book, I have written: “Page 66 – I’m hooked. This is an excellent book.” The end result, however, was less than stellar. The romance between the hero and heroine was excellent and compelling but it was pretty much the rest of the story that I could have done without. Full of great, original ideas and a good love story, this story was strung together by a plot that dragged on and ultimately drove me nuts. Much to my disappointment, I had to force myself to finish reading the book.
Originally, I found this to be a simple, unforced, warm, extremely witty and well-written tale of a small town schoolmarm and an uneducated but rakishly handsome magician (he even sported a gold hoop – in other words, my kind of rakish hero). Salome Hall and Marc Cooper meet when Salome leaves home determined to win back Lyndon Whittier, the fiancé who left her for another woman. Marc, desperately looking for an assistant for his magic act, hires Salome even though, as a conservatively dressed schoolteacher, she hardly looks the part. Salome totally botches their first appearance together but the two tough it out and eventually achieve star billing. Along the way, Marc and Salome, predictably but endearingly, fall in love. Marc accepts his feelings far more readily than does Salome, who persists in the notion that she still loves Lyndon Whittier. Indeed, the entire reason Salome left home in the first place was because she wanted to prove to Lyndon that she could be as glamorous and beautiful as his new paramour.
Salome was a good heroine with excellent depth to her character. I liked how she kept idiotically focused on winning back Lyndon while at the same time not realizing how deep she was getting in with Marc. It seemed a very human failing. Marc, caring, sensitive, handsome and buffed, was my kind of hero.
The various villains and villainsesses were too many and the goals of their intrigues were too varied. It would have helped if the bad guys and gals had all been working together toward one common evil goal. As a result, there were too many things working in this book – less would definitely have been more in this instance.
This book had much to recommend it, but what absolutely ruined it for me was the overkill on the intrigue and the villains. As a result, the story grew quite tiresome. It seemed like the villains were systematically dispatched in the order in which they appeared in the story. This isn’t actually what happened, but the end result came across as just as methodical. Unfortunately, Marc and Salome got mired in the backwash.
Magic & Moonlight had numerous things going for it: an excellent hero and heroine, good secondary characters and great slapstick humor. As an example, Marc frequently and successfully fended off villains with a small derringer that was actually a lighter (only nobody knew it except the hero). I never got tired of the funny stuff but, unfortunately, the initial promise of the story seemed to fizzle right along with the endless supply of villains.
|Review Date:||July 19, 1999|