A female magician, a not so innocent black rabbit, a treasure map, a duke firm in his convictions, a band of pirates, and romance equals mayhem in the making! Celeste Summers is a self-reliant vegetarian magician, and her sidekick is a mischievous black rabbit named Dexter. It’s the kind of mixture that can get you burned at the stake in 1820.
All Lord Devlin Rutland wants is to see Celeste taken care of as his father instructed, but wedding a girl who may not be dealing a full deck of cards is not easy. Celeste sees opportunity to foil his plans when she comes across a map to a pirate’s treasure, but Devlin is after the same booty. Foolishly, she bargains with a stranger, finds herself double-crossed, at the mercy of pirates, and in need of Devlin's aid. Devlin comes to the rescue, but he has an ethical dilemma. He can ensure that Celeste honors her betrothal to him, or set her free with the treasure and his heart. His only other choice is to persuade her that Love’s Magic is enough to bind them together.
RATING: 4 Stars
The year is 1820. Celeste Summers first meets Lord Devlin Rutland, Duke of Doomsbury, when he rescues her from being burned as a witch. But then he takes her prisoner himself. Celeste didn’t know that before they died, her father signed a contract with the elder Doomsbury: to keep her safe and well-cared for, Devlin will marry her – whether or not the young woman agrees.
And Celeste does not agree. She is strong and independent, supporting herself as a magician and healer. But whether she agrees to the betrothal or not, Devlin’s estate is close to bankruptcy, and supposedly, Celeste possesses one half of a treasure map that could lead him to enough money to save the estate, as well as keeping his father’s promise. However, his fiancée is strongly determined to stay single – and find the treasure herself. Celeste persuades a young nobleman to help her escape and, taking her beloved pet rabbit, Dexter, they set sail for Brazil, with Rutland in pursuit.
Many of the elements of this story are very familiar: a family scandal, resentful servants, a large somewhat run-down mansion, a vengeful ghost, a surprise villain, even some bloodthirsty pirates. But Sheffield built in an original plot point that allows her to use each of these elements in unexpected ways: Celeste is a magician, with a large rabbit who is much more than a stage prop. This piece of characterization largely lifts ‘Love’s Magic’ above the standard Regency romance.
The book is fun, amusing and easy to read, and I enjoyed it. The characters develop well, making you want to see how the mystery will be solved, and how the hero and heroine will come together. Some chase scenes are repetitious; I felt that the ocean-crossing voyages go remarkably fast; and there are some things that feel jarringly out-of-place, like Dexter’s ‘litter pan’ and Celeste being a vegetarian. I found these things distracting. Still, I was able to push that aside, and happily finish the book, so I give ‘Love’s Magic’ 4 stars, for being entertaining and fun.
I am grateful for the free review’s copy I was given.
Reviewed by: Roberta