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Review – Midsummer Magick by Laura Navarre

cover_midsummer_magick

Publisher: Carina Press
Publish Date: Out Now (Aug 12th)
How I got this book: eARC from Lit Connect

Tudor England, 1559

The Virgin Queen’s Court whispers about shy scholar Lady Linnet Norwood, who spent a year and a day trapped in the Faerie realm and returned as a ruined woman. Linnet, however, is not yet free of magick. Otherworldly forces plot to use her to incite a bloody uprising that will twist the fates of mortal and Faerie realms alike.

Exiled angel Zamiel wavers on the edge of accepting an offer from his fallen father to become Prince of Hell. Lucifer knows Lady Linnet’s significance, and urges his son to pursue and protect her for sinister ends.

As Linnet flees those who would make her a pawn, Zamiel follows, tempting her trust and her passion. But the more he employs his killing rage on her behalf, the more he dreams of laying it aside in favor of peace.

If the two can find faith together, they might sunder the unholy alliance that threatens the dawn of the Golden Age of England.

Book two of The Magick Trilogy.

*blurb from Goodreads here

        I haven’t been reading Historical Romance much lately. I think maybe I burned out of the genre. I find I am less interested in certain tropes and themes than I used to be. I suppose it’s natural that reading habits change over one’s lifetime. However, when the offer came for this book, something about the description called to me. First, it referred to a time period other than Regency or Victorian which really appealed to me. Second, it referred to supernatural elements within the story line. I just had to check it out and I’m so glad I did. I loved this book!! This is the second book in the The Magick Trilogy, but it reads well as a stand-alone. I haven’t read the first book yet and I don’t feel this story suffered for it.

        Midsummer Magick, set in Tudor England, incorporated human/mortal, Angel and Fae realms and blended it into a well-written story full of descriptive language, active narrative, interesting characters, intrigue, tension, and romance. Yummy! I loved Navarre’s writing style and the way she used language and phrasing to help set the tone of the story. I enjoyed the subtle blending of historical and supernatural elements. I especially enjoyed the nods to Arthurian lore (I’m a sucker for all things Camelot) and some familiar characters and places do make an appearance. I liked how Navarre blended Arthurian lore with the Fae realm and how that affected the political climate of Queen Elizabeth Tudor’s reign in the mortal realm.

        The pace, tension and romance elements swept me up into this world of mortal, Fae and Angels. This series takes place during the time of Convergence when the Veil between the Fae and mortal realms thins, something that only happens every one thousand years. The last Convergence occurred during King Arthur’s reign when he wore the double crown of both mortal and Fae realms bringing about unity between the two realms. There are forces who would like to use this current Convergence as an opportunity to grab power.

        Navarre’s representation of the Heavenly realm described a heaven consisting of seven levels, having its own hierarchy, warrior class, archangels, political intrigues and bickering — although we really didn’t get much insight into that as this story takes place in the Mortal and Fae realms. The inclusion of Protestant and Catholic references seemed rooted primarily in the political clime of the period which, to me, seemed an accurate reflection of that era when religious differences were often used in political ways. It is unclear to me at this point in the arc sequence where the Heavenly realm will fit into the Convergence, if at all, however there are indications that all is not peaceful in the seven Heavens. I’m intrigued as to how that will play out.

        Linnet, the new Countess of Glencross, had been appointed as one of the Queen’s Maids of Honor. Linnet was also under suspicion by the Queen’s court. In an attempt to secure her place in Glencross, she decided to seek a favor from the newly installed Queen Elizabeth Tudor. There were mysteries surrounding Linnet’s family history not to mention a period of time in her own life for which she herself can’t account and she hoped to find some answers about her family within the Queen’s archives. Then there was the business of an anonymous note promising answers she dearly needed. As a result, she found herself in the middle of an intrigue that put her in danger from unknown enemies. I enjoyed Linnet’s character. Despite her personal history of being raised by an unloving and abusive father and the spectre of her own presumed madness, she was determined to shed her timid nature and step fully into her new role as Countess of Glencross. She was courageous and didn’t let fear render her helpless. If she was going to go down, she was going to do it fighting with all her might.

        Zamiel, a disillusioned angel, was exiled to the mortal realm — a fact that Lucifer himself was only too happy to inform him. Lucifer would like nothing more than for Zamiel to fall from the Holy realm and join him in Hell, something that Zamiel had long denied him. Zamiel’s route back to the Heavenly realm required him to repent a certain act of rebellion, only he won’t do it as he doesn’t regret the act itself nor would he see it undone. After spending some time exploring what the mortal realm has to offer (he went off the debauchery-rails just a tad. ahem.), he soon realizes his limited options. However, he can’t deny his desire to champion Linnet’s cause and help her on her journey. Adjusting to his mortal form presented certain challenges and some amusing scenes. Watching him learn how to interact with Linnet provided a very touching element to the story and their relationship dynamic.

        Linnet and Zamiel developed a steamy romance. There is something about forbidden love that makes it all the more satisfying when the couple finally falls. Having said that, what I liked the most about their relationship was how they went on an adventure together. Linnet was determined to go in search of information about her family whether Zamiel helped or not. Zamiel didn’t overshadow/over-protect her and didn’t treat her like a helpless woman. I appreciated the equality between these two characters. Yes, of course, Zamiel had fighting skills that Linnet did not possess, but that didn’t render her incapable or put her in the category of damsel-in-distress. She took initiative to get what she needed and didn’t wait around for someone to come to her aid.

        I really liked how this story came together and kept me guessing. I give Midsummer Magick an A.

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