Reviewed by Victoria Sutton
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…
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?
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.
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.