FORBIDDEN MAGIC - Jo Beverley
Meg Gillingham is valiantly trying to keep her family together after the sudden deaths of their parents. Her lecherous landlord has offered to “help” them out if Meg agrees to hand over her younger sister, Laura, to be his mistress. Panic sets in, and Meg knows that her only alternative is use a family heirloom to try to rescue her and her younger siblings. The erotic looking statue, the sheelagh-na-gig that has been in her mother's family for generations, can grant wishes, but it extracts retribution for each wish. So Meg takes the statue and goes through the sickening procedure as she asks for help.
Meanwhile, the Earl of Saxonhurst also has family issues to deal with. He promised his grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Daingerfield, that he would marry by his twenty-fifth birthday, and that day is tomorrow! After a letter from the old lady arrives with a warning that she would take matters into her own hands, Sax vows to find a wife immediately. It just so happens that one of his eccentric house staff is aware of a young woman who is in dire straits, is of a good family, and might well fit the bill for Sax. Sax sends a message to the woman to meet him at her church the next day, promising to ease her burden of caring for her siblings if she'll marry him.
Stunned by the rapid turn of affairs and fearing that if she doesn't say yes to the earl her sister will be vulnerable, Meg reluctantly agrees to the proposal and turns up at the church with her family in tow. Thankfully, her intended isn't old and decrepit, but young, handsome, and seemingly kind. But what cost will the sheelagh extract after the wedding?
This delightful reissue was impossible to put down. FORBIDDEN MAGIC is, simply put, a charming, poignant, and oh so romantic Regency written by one of the best. Meg gains strength from her decision, despite moving into the rather unusual household that her husband has built. Sax collects people and pets that others don't want, and these cast-offs provide him with the loyal, loving family he lost when his parents and sister died. But the revenge of the sheelagh threatens to destroy everything if Sax and Meg can't overcome the secrets of Sax's past.
FORBIDDEN MAGIC is a wonderful story filled with terrific characters, and it has such a uniquely written plot. Don't miss this fun book!