Book Review: The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic, by Emily Croy Barker
By Julia Padgett
Sometimes in life you need a little bit of escapism. Slipping into a different world to encounter other people’s problems and lives can be an anodyne that we welcome. Books typically have been able to transport me elsewhere and away from the now. Let’s face it, that may be the primary reason most of us read. Especially lately when the world gets a bit heavy, picking a title and going somewhere else is its own sort of magic. That is precisely what The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic does for the reader. A patron recommended title, I thought “why not?”. I am happy I gave it a chance. Nora quite literally slips into another world right when her own world was not really working out. She finds herself being enchanted and controlled by magical beings for a brief period of time before being rescued by the magician Aruendiel. Once she escaped the enchantment, she realizes that her modern world experiences don’t really mesh well with this darker, primitive, and grim existence. Apparently working on a doctorate in English literature really doesn’t keep you fed in imaginary worlds either. However, she soon begins getting tutored in magic and has some cooking skills that come in handy in the kitchen as well. This novel is just the sort of escapism some of us may need right now. Barker lures you in with a richly descriptive and imaginative background and flawed main characters that grow on you in spite of themselves. No, this book is not going to solve a moral crisis, probably will not enlighten you too much, but it will keep you entertained and sometimes, that is exactly what you need in life. In all honestly, when it was over I realized how much I wanted more of it. Rest assured, the author is working on a 2nd and even 3rd book to continue the intersected worlds of Nora and Aruendiel so we can look forward to more adventures and mental breaks to come.