Author: Laura Navarre
Rating: 3 stars
I received this book through NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.
Midsummer Magick is a clever, sizzling supernatural romance set in Tudor England and Faerie. It’s published by Carina Press, a digital-first imprint of Harlequin. I have literally zero experience with Harlequin novels in their physical form, but this is the second or third book I’ve read from Carina, and I have really enjoyed each one.
Linnet Norwood, newly made a countess and running from a scandalous past, comes to the court of the newly crowned Elizabeth I looking for the truth behind her parentage and to find a respectable husband to help her rule her lands. Meanwhile, Zamiel, an angel of death and the son of Lucifer, is questioning his place in Heaven, and is exiled to a human body until he repents to God. When Linnet and Zamiel meet, sparks fly, and they embark on dangerous journey across England, Faerie, and the lost realm of Lyonnesse, uncovering Linnet’s powers and falling madly in love.
I’m not a frequent reader of romance, and I have to admit that there were plenty of things that made me roll my eyes. Insta-hard nipples (Seriously. All anyone had to do was look at this chick and her nipples were busting through her corset.). Attempted incest-rape. That damn ‘k’ on the end of magic. And for a bodice-ripping romance hero, Zamiel seemed weirdly physically unattractive to me (a ‘triangular’ face and hair like ‘oil’. Eww.), enough so that I kind of groaned in horror every time he was further described.
But I actually requested this book because I was interested in the non-romance elements of the plot. An angel struggling with the realities of mortality and potentially being damned. A bastard of Henry VIII learning about her parentage and trying to prove that she is loyal to Elizabeth, not trying to supplant her with a royal claim. Faerie and England bleeding together with consequences for both realms. There was really interesting stuff here, and I appreciated the fact that it wasn’t just empty, plotless erotica.
Midsummer Magick is the second of a trilogy, but I believe the first novel centers on a different couple and, in any case, it stands well on its own. It ends up exactly where you think it will, but the journey getting there is a lot of fun.