Book Review: The Well-Wishers by Edward Eager

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All the children from Magic or Not? are back, with some new friends. In yet another book that transports the magic of E. Nesbit into American suburbia in the 1950s, Edward Eager delivers a warm-hearted tale of a group of children, using chiefly the magic of their own kindness and camaraderie to make the lives of those around them better. Only this time, he breaks the convention of having their adventures take place over a summer holiday. This tale ... Read More »

Book Review: The Government Manual for New Wizards by Matthew David Brozik & Jacob Sager Weinstein

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For a good-natured laugh about witches and wizards, try this clever spoof of the fantasy genre. Designed to guide young people with newfound magical powers to schools and resources that can help them survive “wizardolescence,” it gives a broad sketch of such subjects as dealing with “the dead (Grateful and otherwise)” and eluding the grasp of He Who Must Not Be Named Melvin. Along the way it offers witty commentary on different kinds of magical ... Read More »

Book Review: The Dumari Chronicles: Year One by Anne Patrice Brown

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The author of this pretty much self-published series contacted me through MuggleNet and asked me if she could send me her book. I told her to go ahead, but not to expect me to get to it right away. I got to it right away, though. I can’t say why it felt like the next book I must read. The cover wasn’t terribly interesting; just the title and author’s name on a neutral background, with ... Read More »

Book Review: The Time Garden by Edward Eager

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The children from Knight’s Castle return for another summer full of magical adventures through history and literature. Jack and Eliza and their cousins Roger and Ann meet at the home of a distant relative, a lady who writes children’s stories in an old mansion on the South Shore of Massachusetts, while their parents are in London. In between swimming and collecting shells and taking walks on the shore and other fun (and in Jack’s case, hitting on ... Read More »

Book Review: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

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This is only known novel by the middle of the three celebrated Brontë sisters, who died at age 30 only a year after it was published in 1847. The rumor that Emily was putting final touches on a second novel adds a tragic mystery to the world of arts and letters, right up beside Beethoven’s Tenth Symphony and the lost episodes of Doctor Who. This is especially frustrating since Wuthering Heights has been argued more and more to ... Read More »

Book Review: The Wild West Witches by Michael Molloy

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This is the third tale in a series featuring up-and-coming “Light Witch” Abby Clover and her best friend Spike. This time, Abby’s Dark Witch nemesis, Wolfbane, has hatched another evil scheme to destroy all the Light Witches-starting with Abby and her friends-and take over the world. To give you an idea, without giving away too much, it involves a new and more powerful source of Black Dust that is more powerfully evil than any weapon ... Read More »

Book Review: Villette by Charlotte Bronte

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This 1853 novel is important in many ways. For one, it is the last novel to be completed by any of the three celebrated Brontë sisters, and it shows the furthest development of an artist whose career as a published author started with Jane Eyre. It draws on its author’s experiences as an English teacher at a boarding school in Brussels, where (among other unhappy experiences) she suffered from loneliness, homesickness, and possibly an inappropriate but ... Read More »

Book Review: Seven-Day Magic by Edward Eager

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The seventh magical book by mid-twentieth-century American author Edward Eager pays homage, once again, to his favorite children’s author: E. Nesbit. But it also makes references to the Oz stories of L. Frank Baum, The 13 Clocks by James Thurber, the Narnia tales of C. S. Lewis, the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and the author’s own Half-Magic. It also visits the world of Charles Dickens, the desert island of Robinson Crusoe, and the wanderings of a medieval knight errant… but the “magical world” ... Read More »

Book Review: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

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  A good friend of mine recently sent me Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair as a gift. Thanks, Heather! But I was sure that I couldn’t truly enjoy such a book until I had first read this novel by one of the three gifted Brontë sisters who lived such sad, short lives in and around Haworth, Yorkshire, and who each wrote an enduring novel (Emily’s was Wuthering Heights and Anne’s was Agnes Grey). Written in 1847, Jane Eyre is an expansive romantic novel ... Read More »

Book Review: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

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Published in 1848, the year before her death at age 29, this was the second novel of “the other Brontë sister.” It stands out among the seven novels those three sisters wrote between them—though not necessarily as the best-executed piece of writing, nor as the most daring structural experiment, nor the most enduringly appealing romance. It stands out, rather, as a searingly realistic depiction of a failing marriage at a time when wives were still ... Read More »