Under Her Spell
J. A. Ferguson
ImaJinn, Jun 15 2010, $14.00
In 1897 the Amazing Nightingales travel the circuit as Roland the magician performs with his sister Madeleine as his assistant. They go from small town to even smaller villages while Roland dreams of making it in London. Though she wants her sibling to be happy, she realistically knows he lacks their late father’s prestidigitator skills.
At a performance in Kent, Madeleine’s distraction makes Roland look more inept than usual, as she is sidetracked by attendee Christopher Sheffield. He is hosting a Faire at Sheffield Priory to extensively celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, but in fact to introduce his rustic mom to his London mistress Allegra to make his life easier. She learns that Gilbert Birmingham owner of London’s Birmingham theater will attend the Sheffield Faire so she wants to attend hoping her brother will gain his dream. As Christopher forgets his mistress and even his mom, he wants Madeleine ever since he stole a kiss that has placed him Under Her Spell. She is attracted to him, but knows he will hurt her when he magically disappears from her life even as she magically heals his mom’s aching joints, his niece-ward’s aching loneliness and his forlorn heart yet ironically Roland and Allegra seem to connect.
This is a fun lighthearted late Victorian paranormal romance starring a woman with real magical healing skills concealed as the assistant to her untalented unaccountable brother in his magical act and an aristocrat who simply finds himself Under Her Spell. Fast-paced with a touch of irony fans will enjoy the lower class healer and the noble falling in love, but illusion comes naturally to her and he will soon bitterly learn other loved ones too.