All Captain Harold Monroe wants is to sail his ship—and clear his name of a dishonorable discharge from the British Navy. All Lady Johanna Cornehl wants is to sail home to her father. Unfortunately, her father is the man who orchestrated Monroe’s discharge, so when Johanna comes aboard Monroe’s ship, sparks are bound to fly.
Magician’s Spell is a fairly straightforward romance novel, with a dash of the sea for flavor. Monroe and Johanna, who know just how to push each other’s buttons, exhibit real tension as their opinions of each other constantly change. Yet events keep throwing them together, as much as certain people, notably Johanna’s father, want to keep them apart.
Quickly paced and easy to read, the novel also boasts a well-developed number of supporting characters, including an eccentric doctor who happens to be both Monroe’s best friend and Johanna’s first love, a former slave turned society belle, and a conniving shipping magnate. Several side plots involving these characters add spice to the novel, though at times they feel neglected for more of Monroe and Johanna’s endless vacillating.
Though somewhat slow to start, the final third of the book does an excellent job of building up to a thrilling climax that is solved in an unexpected way. While Magician’s Spell is not heavy on historical details or facts, it makes for a very enjoyable light read.