This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Victoria Sutton
Midsummer Magic was inspired by Julia William’s love for William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It is the story of four friends on one magical summer weekend in Cornwall. Josie and Harry are planning their wedding, and enlist the help of best man Ant and chief bridesmaid Diana who are to be introduced for the first time…
The weekend gets off to a bad start when it becomes apparent Ant and Di have met before and parted badly, although exactly what happened is only slowly revealed throughout the novel. A chance meeting with TV hypnotist Freddie Puck in the local pub forces all four together in a reality TV show experiment. It is said in local mythology that those who plight their troth at The Standing Stones on Midsummer’s Eve will fall in love forever but what will happen when Freddie throws suggestion and hypnosis into the mix?
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The first part of the novel sets the scene, dealing mainly with the four friends who are staying at Josie’s parents as they make wedding plans. Josie and Harry seem to be a very sweet couple at first but as wedding fever takes hold Josie turns into something of a less likeable bridezilla! I preferred the mystery between Ant and Di at this point and the desire to know more about their past encounter was what kept me turning the pages. There are also flashback chapters about the older characters Tatiana and Bron that introduce us to their history together.
As Midsummer’s Eve dawns, the action moves onto the filming of the TV show at The Standing Stones and the hypnotism of the friends! From here the action twists and turns as Josie, Harry, Di and Ant wander around the woodlands in their hypnotised state. Although it is longer than I would like to remember since I studied Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream I could see the parallels in this section with all the dream-like misunderstandings and confusion.
I found Midsummer Magic to be a sparky summer read full of romance, mayhem and a hint of mystery. I was kept guessing to the end on how things would turn out, and also kept changing my mind on how I wanted them to! I enjoyed the descriptions of the Cornish countryside in the summer, it proved to be the perfect magical setting and if I wasn’t already hankering after a holiday in Cornwall then I am now! In marrying traditional Shakespeare with the very modern concept of reality TV Julia Williams has put an up to date twist on the classic tale.