Barbara’s Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Series: School of Magic #1
Publication Date: 3/24/20
Number of Pages: 326
OH! What a perfectly perfect read. This fast-paced, well written, well-plotted first book in the School of Magic series is filled with excitement, danger, and sigh-worthy romance. The characters are memorable and you’ll quickly come to love them. Each of the main characters is strong, independent, self-reliant, and very wrong about what they think they want in life. So, it is a good thing they are both open-minded and accepting of things that don’t necessarily fit with their version of ‘normal’. I have absolutely adored the Malcolm family through all of the various series and I know this one will just add to that – especially if this book is an example of what is to come. I did keep waiting for a member of the Ives family to make a showing, but they stayed hidden.
While Lady Phoebe Malcolm Duncan is the daughter of an earl, she lives in a tenement inside the medieval walls of the old town in Edinburgh. She has been living on her own for years – since her mother’s ill health caused her to move to France. Phoebe loves her life, loves the vibrancy of her neighborhood, and loves her neighbors. The only thing that would make it better would be for the veterinary schools to let her take classes. You see, Phoebe can communicate with animals and she is always rescuing them.
Andrew (Drew) Blair is an inventor, builder, and investor. He comes from very humble beginnings and has worked really hard to get to where he is in life. He made a good bit of money from inventing a few things for the railroads – and now he has a tidy sum of that money invested in a consortium that plans to rebuild the old town tenements into modern terraced buildings. However, Drew’s world has been flipped on end for most of the last year. His cousin’s wife died in an accident that almost killed his cousin and their children as well. Only, it wasn’t an accident. His cousin’s wife and three children have the Malcolm gifts – and now the three children are living with Drew. He knows nothing of children and he can’t seem to keep a governess/tutor for any length of time. Where can he find someone who can handle and be accepting of three small children who have special abilities?
Phoebe meets Drew after Drew writes to her aunt’s School of Magic and asks for a tutor for his wards. Phoebe is available because the entire front wall of her tenement building just crumpled and fell away leaving her and the other tenants with no place to live. Just as soon as she arrives at her aunt’s school, they send her out to act as an instructor for Drew’s wards.
I love the interactions between Drew and Phoebe. She is straight-forward, direct, and totally unintimidated by anyone or anything – yet she treats his wards with tenderness, understanding, and care. When danger rears its ugly head and the children are in danger, Drew discovers an appreciation for things he never thought he wanted in life.
I enjoyed this fun and exciting read so much that I couldn’t put it down and read it straight through. One of the very best things about the book – NO, none, nada, zip angst. Dear author, I thank you for that. I hope you love it as much as I did.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.