- File Size: 200 KB
- Print Length: 46 pages
- Publisher: Harlequin Historical Undone (April 1, 2013)
- Publication Date: April 1, 2013
- Sold by: Harlequin Digital Sales Corp.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00B355EK2
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #637,275 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Magic of His Touch (May Day Mischief) Kindle Edition
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It's May Day Eve in Warwickshire and Peony Whistleby is desperate. The Earl of Elderwood is coming to call and she's been ordered by her aunt to throw herself at him since he may be her last chance before spinsterdom sets in.
All her life Peony has been told she's too tall, too thin, has no personality, and is generally a dud where men are concerned. Her belief in magic is also considered a severe character flaw.
Of course Peony falls back on that belief to aid her. As the sun rises on May Day, she sets out to perform a ritual guaranteeing her success in this amorous endeavor.
The custom of a young woman rolling naked in May Day morning dew has been given a most definite twist in these novelettes comprising the two entries in the "May Day Mischief" series.
Accompanying the Earl of Elderwood is his friend, Sir Alexis Court, coming to visit his betrothed Lucasta Barnes, Peony's cousin.
Alexis is as much a skeptic as Elderwood is a believer in magic, so when his friend suggests they separate in order to find Whistleby estate's enchanted meadow, Alexis plans to just wander about a bit then call out failure.
Instead he happens upon enchantment...in the form of Peony rolling naked in the dew. His only thought is to get her clothed and home before some unscrupulous cad--like his friend Elderwood--also sees her. Peony's main reaction is anger because he interrupted the ritual.
What neither will admit is that the ritual hasn't been interrupted . . . it's been fulfilled, for according to the myth, the only man who'll appear in the meadow is one's true love.
Lucasta Barnes has no desire to marry. She simply wants to continue her research into debunking myth and superstition and have it published.
Her engagement to Alexis is merely a shield arranged with his consent to keep persistent suitor Elderwood, away, and ward off the women Alexis' mother pushes at him.
It's a shock when she discovers Lord Elderwood wandering in the forest as she goes to the meadow to make certain her cousin Peony is safe while she pursues her harebrained scheme. Meeting the man who caught her performing that same ritual three years before--in an attempt to prove it untrue--wasn't in her plan, especially since she's been running from him ever since.
The Earl is accustomed to having women fawn over him. After all, he's been told he has fairy blood so that means he's irresistible. He loves Lucasta. So what if she's engaged to his best friend? She belongs to him . . . by decree of the magic of May Day.
Here the story takes a Midsummer Night's Dream turn. Two couples, very obviously unsuited to each other, abruptly discovering they yearn after their friends' intendeds . . .and all being either too stubborn or too honorable to do anything about it. What's a lovestruck young man to do? Or a lovestruck young woman, for that matter?
One thing's for certain: sometimes magic works best on those who don't believe.
Witty Regency dialogue and a very entertaining tale are contained in these two novelettes which should be read in tandem in order to fully appreciate the plotline.
Each book gives a Rashomon-like twist to the same incidents, told from the viewpoints of the four persons involved. Ms. Monajem's research into ancient British superstitions, as well as her uses of Regency-era turns of phrase, make these two stories a delight.
They're funny, romantic, a bit racy, and definitely enjoyable.
These novella were provided by the author and no remuneration was involved in the writing of this review.
I asked Barbara Monajem how difficult it was to write a story with two different points of view in separate novellas. It was fascinating as a reader to come across the same dialog yet read a different aspect of the same story. I also asked her if she had read something like this before or had the idea come to her and she wanted to try it. Here is her answer.
“After reading the stories, a friend said they reminded her a bit of Rashomon, a fabulous play where the same event is seen from four different points of view. I saw it performed years ago by the Atlanta Shakespeare Company, but I'm pretty sure that wasn't what inspired me. Still, I can't for the life of me remember what did.
Anyway, I thought it would be a fun experiment. I started with Lucasta, the heroine of the second story, wrote a few scenes, and then went back and wrote her cousin Peony's story first. The trick is to use the same dialog only in scenes which move the story forward from the points of view of both characters (that is, the character who will have the point of view in the first story, as well as the character who will have the point of view in the second) because it's important not to put any scene in a story which isn't essential to the development of characters and plot. Also, I didn't want to do it too often for fear that readers would think, "Hey, I already read that!" That's less likely to be a problem if the new point of view sheds a quite different light on the same scene. (Does that make sense?)
It worked out quite naturally with these two stories, but when I tried the same thing with my next novella duet, it didn't work at all. This was partly because the stories worked better if they took place one after the other rather than simultaneously, and partly because what was significant to the characters in the first plot mattered far less to the characters in the second. I found this out via a lot of wasted time trying to make it work!”
The Magic of His Touch, Book 1
Tired of being paraded before every eligible bachelor, Peony Whistleby decides it's time to find her true love—through the ancient custom of rolling naked in the dew on May Day morning. But the magic goes awry when she is caught in the act—and by an entirely unsuitable man. And yet, the way his eyes linger upon her flesh ignites a sensual craving that can only be satisfied by his touch…
Bewitched By His Kiss, Book 2
Lucasta Barnes knows the folly believing in magic can lead to—and she won't accept that her illicit tryst with a notorious rake was the result of anything more than pure lust. Or that it has bonded them together forever. Yet, she can't deny that she yearns for just one more night in his arms…
David, Earl of Elderwood, is used to women being enchanted by him, but ever since a passionate encounter with Lucasta three years ago, he desires only her. How can he convince his thoroughly practical paramour that love is the greatest magic of all?
My Review: These two novellas were very quick reads. You could almost finish one on a lunch hour break at work. I didn’t realize what the author meant about the two novellas. She told me that the two take place at the same time and place -- while one story is in the foreground, the other is in the background, and vice versa. In hindsight I know exactly what she meant.
Really, it was lots of fun reading. Magic, the belief thereof, was a big topic. Some of the characters believed strongly in magic others didn’t. But Barbara Monajem made me a believer! (At least during the reading of the books)
Normally a short read like this leaves me wanting. However, Barbara packs a lot of story into just a few words. Both novellas were well written romance reads and unique in their plot and story particularly the way they were combined. You shouldn’t miss the read.
I learned from reading these two books side by side that unless you know what is happening behind dialog in a story the plot remains unknown. It was a very good lesson to show point of view, something want-to-be authors struggle to perfect.
Because she knows how to write a story that has the romance and the steamy sex and the happily ever after that you want, and she does it in such a way that you feel satisfied with the ending. Nothing is hurried.
It is hard to believe that a story this short can be this good.
You had to feel sorry for Peony. No one felt that she could find her true love and she had to resort to an ancient custom of rolling naked in the dew on May Day to see if her True Love would find her.
The only person who found her was her cousin's fiance, Sir Alexis.
What a tangled web! Especially when Peony starts to feel things for Sir Alexis and he seems to return those feelings.
There's a lot of magic afoot here and maybe even a haunted bedchamber.
The sex is just the right amount of steamy too and timed perfectly to come towards the end of the story.
A great slightly racy regency short!
~ Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review