The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker – Book Review

The Thinking Womans Guide to Real Magic

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Goodreads Description:

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.

My Review:

This book took me a while to get through.  It was a good read and I enjoyed the story and characters, but it was a little dense.  It was definitely not a quick read for me.  There were times I had to push myself to get through it but it held my interest.  I also enjoyed that the author managed to fit Pride and Prejudice into the book.

Nora Fischer has traveled with a friend to another friend’s wedding.  When she takes a walk on a trail she finds herself in another world.  A magical one.  At first she doesn’t realize this until she encounters Aruendiel, a magician, who helps shed light on her situation and helps to extract her from a near-deadly encounter with the Fae.

Stuck in this new world with no way to get home, she is taken in by Aruendiel and eventually becomes a student of his, learning magic as well as helping his house servants with daily chores.  Back home in her own world, Nora had just been left by her boyfriend.  Her love life was going nowhere and neither was her graduate school studies.  In this new world, Nora is still struggling with fitting in.  The one difference is magic, which is at the heart of everything in here.

This book reminded me a little bit of Uprooted by Naomi Novik.  Both stories have young women who are taken from the worlds they know and wind up living with a magician/wizard who is ill-tempered and crotchety most of the time but who have moments of softening up enough to teach them magic.

I read that there will be a sequel to this book and it does lend itself to one although it can definitely be read as a stand alone.  I will read it to see what happens to Nora and her magical life.

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