5 stars

Historical Romance Review: The Magic of You by Johanna Lindsey

“I want you, Warren Anderson.”


5 stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

No Time for Historical Romance

From 7th to 9th grade, I was obsessed with romance novels, reading everything from Lady Chatterley’s Lover to category romances to thick, door-stopper historical epics. By the time Johanna Lindsey’s The Magic of You was published by Avon in June 1993, a rising Junior in high school. I was not as fanatical about reading for fun due to having a full course load at school, with no lunch period and little time for extra-extracurricular activities.

On the day I came upon that blue Elaine Duillo and Fabio step-back paperback at a Waldenbooks in the local mall, I squealed in delight to see it was a sequel to one of my favorite Lindsey books Gentle Rogue. I excitedly plunked down $5.99 plus tax (oh my, how expensive books had gotten; only 3 years earlier, a mass-market paperback could go as low as $4) and hurried home to read it.

To do this day, it remains the only book I ever read and finished TWICE in one day.

The Heroine in Pursuit

The heroine-in-pursuit plot seems like such an unusual trope in historicals, or if it isn’t, it’s at least rare in the romance novels I read. More often, it’s the hero pursuing the heroine, if not out of love, because he wants her body. Here, Amy wants it all from Warren: his body, his love, and his laughter. A free-spirited, confident heroine in pursuit of an uptight, stuffed-shirt hero who tries his best to resist the heroine is my absolute favorite trope, and I don’t think I’ve seen it done better in any book than this one.

Lady Amy Malory might be female, but that doesn’t mean she’s any different than her libidinous Malory uncles, even more so than cousin Reggie. She might be a 17-year-old virgin, but she knows what she wants, and that is her uncle-in-law, the brother of her uncle’s James wife, the dour American, Warren Anderson, who is much older at age (I think) 36.

Yes, there’s a considerable age gap between the two, but it doesn’t make any difference here. Amy is strong-willed, determined, witty, and utterly charming. Warren is the complete opposite: a stick-in-the-mud type who was deeply hurt in the past by the woman he loved, so the only woman he has any feelings of consideration for is his sister, Georgina, and his newborn niece, Jacqueline.

The Hero in Flight

Warren hates the Malory family. In particular, his brother-in-law, James. When James Malory compromised his sister, Georgina, it took all five burly Anderson brothers taking turns beating James into a pulp to force him to marry her. James has never forgotten that.

Nor have the Andersons forgotten that James was a pirate who plundered some Anderson family ships. Not to mention that he’s a blasted Englishman, while the Anderson are American. The blood feud runs strong between the two families, despite George and James’s marriage.

So it’s no surprise that Amy’s uncles are vehemently opposed to any union between Warren and Amy. But Amy doesn’t care. She will use all her feminine wiles, all her charm, all the magic of her love to transform bitter Warren into a happy man.

And because she’s a Malory, Warren has met his match.

Final Analysis of The Magic of You

The Magic of You is an imperfect book, I know. It’s not one of Johanna Lindsey’s most well-written historical romance novels, but I loved it. Loved, loved, loved it.

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