Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Review: The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson

Title: The Secret of Magic
Author: Deborah Johnson
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: January 6, 2015
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a historical fiction fan.
  • You don't mind tough subjects.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "Regina Robichard works for Thurgood Marshall, who receives an unusual letter asking the NAACP to investigate the murder of a returning black war hero. It is signed by M. P. Calhoun, the most reclusive author in the country.

As a child, Regina was captivated by Calhoun’s The Secret of Magic, a novel in which white and black children played together in a magical forest. The book was a sensation, featured on the cover of Time magazine, and banned more than any other book in the South. And then M.P. Calhoun disappeared.

With Thurgood’s permission, Regina heads down to Mississippi to find Calhoun and investigate the case. But as she navigates the muddy waters of racism, relationships, and her own tragic past, she finds that nothing in the South is as it seems."

My Two Cents:

 "The Secret of Magic" takes place in the mid-1940s. It's just after World War II and the United States is starting to put itself back together again as its young men come home. In the South, a young black man comes home as a decorated soldier and he hopes that his life and that of his family will be able to be better than it was before the war. It's not to be though and he is murdered, which will set off the main events of this book.

Regina is our main character in this book. She is a young lawyer who leaves New York to come South after her law firm receives a letter from a reclusive author who just happens to have written on of Regina's favorite childhood stories. Regina is a fascinating character. She starts out wanting to take on this case due to personal interest. Eventually she realizes that her help could help so many other people throughout the story. I did wish that we had more concrete things to go on with regard to Regina. So many of the things that Regina did seemed to hinge on a feeling that Regina had and perhaps not on what was there. It made it hard to find common ground with her in some parts of the book for me.

I was really excited about the premise of the book. It was interesting to see what life was like for the characters. So many of them had hopes that World War II would be able to change American society and were unpleasantly surprised when it did not work out. Overall, I did enjoy the story. There were a couple places in the story that dragged for me and pulled me out of the story. 



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