Razzle Dazzle, the title of this book, is not really a fitting title. It implies lightning bolts and the kind of magic and charisma that is more like a David Copperfield show. It does not do justice to the subtle, delightful magic that is found in Razzle Dazzle. This is an immensely enjoyable read, but I do have a small bone to pick with Ms. Hendrix, which I will get to in a minute.
Mason Alexander has to marry into a wealthy family to revive his family’s finances, and has found the perfect woman. Cynthia comes from new money, but has the education and social knowledge to fit in with the old money upper class society that his family has known for generations. They don’t love each other; in fact, Cynthia is pretty unlovable, but the practical Mason thinks that they will at least get along.
His mother and sister, Tish and Miranda respectively, have different ideas, however. They want Mason to be happy, and through their practice of witchcraft they make a love potion for the couple. Through a mix-up, the gardener, Raine Hobart, ends up drinking the potion with Mason – mixed in iced tea, of all things – much to his mother’s consternation. Mason, tired of the wackiness of his family, figures out quickly what happened to the love potion he thought he’d gotten rid of earlier. After enlisting Ms. Hobart’s help, he decides to spend the next few weeks teaching them a lesson by pretending to be in love with Raine. Of course, spending time with Raine turns out to be more delightful than he bargained for.
Raine and Mason are two wonderful characters. Mason is Mr. Practical at times, and doesn’t believe in any of that new age stuff. He is also thoughtful, funny, and tender. Raine is funny and full of surprises herself. She is more than a gardener: she is an artist and a practitioner and self-proclaimed student of feng shui, the Chinese practice of molding the environment around us to encourage positive energy flow, which is an interesting concept for a practical man such as Mason to accept. Their gradual development from co-conspirators into friends and then something more is magic to read.
There are two other secondary romances, one of which is almost as delightful as the primary. There is lots of quality dialogue, and heaps of sexual tension. And lots of magic, as I’ve mentioned before.
Now, for the bone to pick. Feng shui has been around for centuries and is handled in a tasteful way throughout the book. Ms. Hendrix knows the subject, and made feng shui not only interesting, but into something to be respected. Her handling of Wicca, on the other hand, where she makes it into some wacky new age cult-like belief system, didn’t give it the respect it deserves. For one thing, Wicca is not new age, but is older than Christianity. For another, Tish and Miranda were messing in someone else’s destiny, which in Wicca is just not done (bad for karma and all that). Since they had a teacher, and were not just making spells out of one of those five and dime witchy “how-to” books, they would have known better. Yep, I know this is fiction, but Wicca is someone’s belief system, and should be treated with respect.
Razzle Dazzle is, in many ways, a gardener’s version of Pretty Woman – the girl gets the fancy clothes, all the high society perks, and a hunky and tender man to boot. It is definitely worth a laugh, a tear, and a sigh of contentment when the last page is read. I hope that it brings some magic into your life as well.
|Review Date:||September 17, 1999|