After a heavy read like The Revolution of Marina M., I needed something like Sylvia Izzo Hunter’s The Midnight Queen. It has so many things that I find delightful in a book: magic blended with history; a tall, shy guy falling in love with a talented, bookish girl; Celtic languages; cunning plots; and smart alecks. There was enough heft to keep my brain engaged but packed with plenty of humor and sweetness to keep things fun.
Gray Marshall is a scholarship boy at Oxford’s Merlin College when he is talked into participating in an errand that goes horribly wrong. The next thing he (and we) knows, he’s being hauled off to Brittany by his tutor to rusticate while his superiors figure out what to do with him. The Professor is a boor, but it isn’t until Gray starts snooping—and spending time with the Professor’s daughter, Sophie—that he figures out how much of a villain the man is.
Sophie is a powerful, albeit untrained, magician. She’s been sneaking into her father’s library for years to learn more about magical theory. Gray’s arrival, and his willingness to teach a female, is a blessing for her. The lessons lead to a growing friendship (and more, because this is a fluffy book), but also more discoveries about the evil Professor. Once Gray and Sophie figure out that there’s a plot to poison powerful Britons, things get literally explosive and they have to flee back to England to try and save some lives.
The rest of The Midnight Queen passes by quickly. I had so much fun reading this book that I could hardly bear to put the book down to get dinner or put on my PJs. (I stayed up until 1:00 AM to finish it.) Once I get out from under Mount Must-Read-Soon-Because-Deadlines, I’m definitely checking out the next book from the library.