Aidan Dougal is alienated from his family, and he’s convinced he brings destruction to everything and everyone he touches. For such a man, intimacy is impossible and marriage out of the question…until a gentle woman with delicate beauty and mysterious enchantments turns his cool composure into red-hot passion. Mora Abbott is not the meek vicar’s daughter she appears to be. She longs to live life fully and embrace the magical talents she’s only beginning to discover in herself. But is Mora’s bewitching allure enough to overcome Aidan’s crumbling self-control?
The sixth of Patricia Rice’s appealing historical/paranormal romance novels featuring the Malcolms and Ives families, Magic Man serves as the keystone, or perhaps the capstone, to the entire series. In Rice’s 18th-century Britain, Malcolm women are often described as witches; they have uncanny gifts: Lucinda paints the future, Felicity can feel past emotions in anything she touches, Christina see ghosts and auras, and so on. Ives men, on the other hand, are relentlessly scientific and unwilling to entertain the possibility that the inexplicable Malcolm gifts are real. Naturally, Ives and Malcolms are irresistibly drawn to one another – don’t opposites always attract?
They certainly do in Magic Man, though the question of identity – both the hero’s and the heroine’s – colors the whole book. Family secrets, convoluted genealogies, and unclear parentage abound — and can be difficult to follow, particularly if you’re not familiar with the earlier books. It also helps to know the secondary characters and their relationships to one another. On the upside, Magic Man answers most of the mysteries and hints in the previous novels.
The main characters are clearly made for each other, and their hearts know it even if their heads are harder to convince. Hard-headed describes Aiden, in particular, rather well, along with big, rough-hewn, and stubborn as an ox. He’s got a protective streak a mile wide, a nose that itches when Malcolms are in trouble, and a temper that quite literally rattles buildings and shakes the earth. Orphaned Mora is less certain of who she is, but under her self- and society-imposed ladylike demeanor is a passionate, wise, strong-willed woman trying to break free. Like Aiden, she is protective, and like him, she both fears and longs to be part of the Malcolm-Ives family.
There’s plenty of chemistry between Mora and Aiden, and some fairly scorching kisses, but only one really explicit scene. Unlike some historical romance authors, Rice neither dismisses nor ignores the real challenges that 18th-century clothing posed to women’s freedom of movement as well as to sexual encounters. She also does a nice job portraying a world on the edge of the scientific revolution; the scientific bent of all the Ives men stands in sharp contrast to the Malcolm women’s intuitive, magical nature and beliefs.
I can’t really recommend Magic Man to new readers of the Malcolm-Ives saga. There’s simply too much background you need to make sense of the story. But if you’re already a fan, Magic Man is definitely a satisfying wrap-up to the series. And if you enjoy a touch of magic in your historical romance, but you’re not yet familiar with these books, do yourself a favor and start at the beginning of the series. You’ll be glad you did!
Note: See below for a listing of all titles in the series.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Category: Historical paranormal romance
Series: Magic #6 (Malcolm-Ives)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release date: Feb. 4, 2014 (re-release)
Book source: review copy from the publisher
About the author:
With several million books in print and New York Times and USA Today’s bestseller lists under her belt, former CPA Patricia Rice writes emotionally-charged contemporary and historical romances which have won numerous awards, including the RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice and Career Achievement Awards.
Her books have also been honored as Romance Writers of America RITA® finalists in the historical, regency and contemporary categories.
A firm believer in happily-ever-after for good reason, Patricia Rice is married to her high school sweetheart and has two children. A native of Kentucky and New York, a past resident of North Carolina, she currently resides in St. Louis, Missouri, and now does accounting only for herself. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Authors Guild, and Novelists, Inc. (Bio source: Goodreads)
The ‘Magic’ series in order: