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Essential Magic (The Fay of Skye) (Volume 1) Paperback – June 19, 2016
"McKinnon writes clear and often beautiful prose, utilizing apt analogies to give liveliness to the text. An American girl with native blood who lands in London society makes a good frame for this romance novel." - Publisher's Weekly Booklife Prize (Semi-Finalist in Romance, 2017)
"Vivid backdrop...thorough research...very hot." - Avonna from The Romance Reviews
"Engrossing and dramatic.... Tantalizing details." -J.L. Gribble, author of Steel Victory
"The writing is just lovely.... Characters you care about!" -Maria V. Snyder, author of Poison Study
"The romance is sweet and hot." - Amazon reviewer
"What a superb fantasy historical! I was captivated and enchanted and enthralled...You will absolutely not be disappointed." - Anna, Goodreads review
"Cara McKinnon does a masterful job of transporting her readers to magical 19th century Scotland. Her detailed descriptions of historically accurate attire and etiquette helped to fully immerse me in a story that I was unwilling to put down until the very end. Engaging characters, powerful emotions; all with a unique and captivating method used to describe the casting of spells." -Christina Robbins, author of Seeking Solace
About the Author
Cara McKinnon has been writing magical stories since age five, when she penned a gripping tale about a unicorn couple--her first foray into fantasy romance. Cara is a graduate of the Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction MFA program, which she recommends to all genre writers. She lives in Western Maryland with her husband, two children, and an oversized lapdog named Jake.
Top customer reviews
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Etta Mae Cook was raised in Appalachia by a Fay mother and a Choctaw medicine-man father. After her mother’s death, she follows her last instructions to return to her distant clan relations in England to train her exceptionally strong powers. It is quite a cultural change from running through the mountains to being in the home of a Marquiness, but Etta is willing to put up with just about anything for the chance to train. What she wasn’t expecting was an instant attraction to Mal, the second son of the Marquiness.
Malcolm Seward just wants to run his Scottish lands and forget about magic, but his family has other plans for him. When he meets Etta, there is an awakening of his power that he will fight at all costs and it could be at the cost of losing Etta. When the clan comes together for the birth of his sister’s twins, many magically secrets become clear and Mal and Etta will need to work their magic together to triumph.
The author has set a vivid backdrop to this series and the research seems very thorough. The characters are all interesting because they have differing levels of magic and come from different levels of society. The romance was spread at a natural progression throughout the story with some very hot sex scenes. This book does give you a HEA for Mal and Etta, but carries over the overall arc of the search for the reason of the magical drain in England. An entertaining start to a new series.
Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.
For a person who doesn't claim to be a "romance book" reader, I seem to keep lucking out with some amazing speculative fiction romances. In this case, I enjoyed a lovely historical fantasy romance (or is that a historical romance fantasy?) that takes place in an alternate version of Victorian England. Magic is both real and expected in this world, and our heroine has returned to her English roots to find training for her supernatural gifts.
Etta's journey as she takes her rightful place among her people was engrossing and dramatic. I can't wait to read more in this series as the world McKinnon created gets bigger and bigger, since so many tantalizing details are dropped about other areas in this first novel.
What I wasn't expecting to enjoy so much was the romance. Stodgy period dramas aren't exactly my thing, but Etta and Mal's story is infused with enough passion and excitement to carry along even the most non-romance reader. I even read and enjoyed the sexually explicit bits! I tend to skip over them in most (non-erotica) novels, because so often the sex is just there as provocative window dressing. In this novel, the sex acts as a delightful representation of the evolution of the relationship itself.
As the first book in a series, obviously not every question is answered to the reader's satisfaction. However, this book is not a cliff-hanger. It ends on a satisfying note at the end of the first major arc. But plenty of threads are left dangling, and I'm looking forward to the next installment of the series.
Upon arrival, Etta and Malcolm feel an immediate pull to be together and have a strong connection. They are each fighting it for different reasons- Etta is convinced that relationships will pull you away from your purpose and Malcolm is afraid she will pull him back into magic too much. I liked the other Fay clan members too- they are people I'd be curious to learn more about. I found the Etta/Malcolm relationship a little creepy in theory as they know they are related (albeit distantly). If you can forget about that, it's a great romance between them. The book moves quickly and has a clear storyline (mostly about their relationship with subplots of who will teach her, rival clans, and the problem of magic).
Please note that I received this book through goodreads giveaways.