I tried, I really did, I just couldn’t finish this book, The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker should have been among my all time favorites it has all the components that I absolutely adore in fiction. An intelligent woman, alternate realities, creatures and magic, on the surface it is reminiscent of A Discovery of Witches a brilliantly executed story of another well educated woman and her immersion into a world rife with love and intrigue.
Nora Fischer’s dissertation is stalled and her boyfriend is about to marry another woman. During a miserable weekend at a friend’s wedding, Nora wanders off and walks through a portal into a different world where she’s transformed from a drab grad student into a stunning beauty. Before long, she has a set of glamorous new friends and her romance with gorgeous, masterful Raclin is heating up. It’s almost too good to be true.
Then the elegant veneer shatters. Nora’s new fantasy world turns darker, a fairy tale gone incredibly wrong. Making it here will take skills Nora never learned in graduate school. Her only real ally—and a reluctant one at that—is the magician Aruendiel, a grim, reclusive figure with a biting tongue and a shrouded past. And it will take her becoming Aruendiel’s student—and learning magic herself—to survive. When a passage home finally opens, Nora must weigh her “real life” against the dangerous power of love and magic.
Honestly, it’s hard to articulate what specifically The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic was missing for me. Personally, I found that Nora was just not a dynamic character and as such had difficulty engaging with her and ultimately caring about her welfare. I was intrigued by Aruendiel, which is probably why I stuck it out until page 297 when I put it down a month ago and just couldn’t bring myself to try again especially when I had so many other books waiting patiently for my attention. I was very disappointed in The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic particularly when I felt I should have liked it.
AUTHOR: Emily Croy Barker
GENRE: Literary Fiction
Note: I won this book for free through Goodreads First Reads and I would like to thank them and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.