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The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Emily Croy Barker(Author)

    Book details


An imaginative story of a woman caught in an alternate world—where she will need to learn the skills of magic to survive

Nora Fischer’s dissertation is stalled and her boyfriend is about to marry another woman.  During a miserable weekend at a friend’s wedding, Nora wanders off and walks through a portal into a different world where she’s transformed from a drab grad student into a stunning beauty.  Before long, she has a set of glamorous new friends and her romance with gorgeous, masterful Raclin is heating up. It’s almost too good to be true.

Then the elegant veneer shatters. Nora’s new fantasy world turns darker, a fairy tale gone incredibly wrong. Making it here will take skills Nora never learned in graduate school. Her only real ally—and a reluctant one at that—is the magician Aruendiel, a grim, reclusive figure with a biting tongue and a shrouded past. And it will take her becoming Aruendiel’s student—and learning magic herself—to survive. When a passage home finally opens, Nora must weigh her “real life” against the dangerous power of love and magic.

For lovers of Lev Grossman's The Magicians series (The Magicians and The Magician King) and Deborah Harkness's All Souls Trilogy (A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night).

Dumped by her boyfriend and dissed by her academic advisor, disconsolate graduate student Nora Fischer wanders off a beaten mountain path smack-dab into a parallel universe seemingly populated by glamorous refugees from a Fellini film. Every night is party night for the suddenly and inexplicably gorgeous Nora, who is the unwitting victim of numerous spells cast by Ilissa, her mentor/captor and the undisputed leader of the glamorous gang. Married off to Ilissa’s son, who harbors a brutally dark secret, she realizes too late that all is not as it seems beneath the shining veneer of her new world. Making her escape with the aid of an enigmatic wizard who tutors her in magic, she becomes increasingly drawn to him and faces a tough choice when an opportunity to slip back through the portal to her former life presents itself. This dark fairy tale has plenty of curb appeal for a wide range of fantasy, time-travel, and alternate-reality fans. --Margaret Flanagan “Centered on more adult concerns than the Harry Potter books, Barker’s debut is full of allusions to dark fairy tales and literary romances.  If Hermione Granger had been an American who never received an invitation to Hogwarts, this might have been her story.”—People Magazine"A marvelous plot, clever dialogue, and complex characters distinguish The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic. With the intimacy of a classic fairy-tale and the rollicking elements of modern epic fantasy, Emily Croy Barker’s delightful debut will sweep readers into another world. Fun, seductive, and utterly engrossing, this wonderful tale of magic and adventure is a perfect escape from humdrum reality."—Deborah Harkness, author of the All Souls Trilogy"To read The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic is to enter a lush, fantastical dream filled with beauty and strangeness, love and cruelty, playfulness and gravitas. Emily Barker has crafted a wholly imaginative and witty debut novel that is unlike any I've read. Mind candy for those of us raised on Harry Potters!"—Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants“Think of this book as Hermione Granger: The Grad School Years. An entertaining tale capably told.”—Kirkus“Barker weaves together classic fantasy and romantic elements (including shout-outs to Pride and Prejudice and hints of Wuthering Heights) to produce a well-rounded, smooth, and subtle tale.”—Publishers Weekly"Like in Harkness’s work, as the novel closes, Barker leaves Nora poised on the brink of a decision that could lead to another adventure. This reviewer can’t wait. . . . Readers who love magical fantasy adventures with strong female protagonists will enjoy Barker’s novel. And fans of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians may also want to try this.—Library Journal"This dark fairy tale has plenty of curb appeal for a wide range of fantasy, time-travel, and alternate-reality fans."—Booklist“The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic is a medieval fairy tale with a deliciously dark twist . . . a thoroughly enchanting read. . . . Barker has spun a clever, lush yarn that is uniquely its own.”—BookPage“The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic embraces many of the things that make portal stories so perennial, with just enough twists that it seems to be in conversation with some of its forebears . . . and . . . suggest[s] deeper issues of power and gender waiting to be explored.”—NPR"Emily Croy Barker has written a sophisticated fairy tale that has one foot through the looking glass and the other squarely planted in the real world. Both classic and wholly original, The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic is an imaginative synthesis of the stories that delighted us as children and the novels that inspired us as adults."—Ivy Pochoda, author of Visitation Street“'I wish my life were different. I don’t care how.' So begins perpetual grad student and recently jilted Nora Fischer’s grand adventure into a wonderfully imaginative world of illusion and real magic that reveals the importance of a curious and open mind, learning and love. Author Emily Croy Barker has great fun toying with our ever-shifting notions of work, beauty, belonging, and reality—creating a delightful book for anyone longing to escape the everyday (and who isn’t?!)."—Karen Engelmann, author of The Stockholm Octavo“A clever and scrumptious debut fantasy, the kind you happily disappear into for days.”—Kelly Link, author of Magic for Beginners

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Book details

  • PDF | 576 pages
  • Emily Croy Barker(Author)
  • Pamela Dorman Books (August 1, 2013)
  • English
  • 4
  • Literature & Fiction

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Review Text

  • By Guest on August 4, 2013

    The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real MagicEmily Croy BarkerViking/Pamela Dorman, Aug 1 2013, $27.95ISBN 9780670023660The mouse stuck on the glue trap reminds Nora that her roommate Dane allowed her cat Astrophel to escape their house and be run over. Using expensive olive oil she frees the rodent but cannot tell Adam as he just told her he is marrying someone else. At the English Department, an irritated Naomi lectures her for being late on her dissertation documents and for her last second request to study Donne at Cambridge; Nora admits she is stuck. At the library she literally bangs heads with Farmer Dahmer.Feeling like she will implode as her self-esteem has been nuked; Nora wanders into the woods until she gets lost and finds a nineteenth century cemetery. She looks at some of the inscriptions and reads out loud a creepy poem etched on a stone with today's month and day only in 1833. Suddenly her need to escape her depressing realty becomes true as Nora finds herself encountering nasty fairies and soon afterward Aruendiel the magician, He explains she has been spelled multiple times and must quickly learn to use magic if she wants to stay alive and also one day to go home.This is a wonderful leisurely-paced romantic fantasy as the protagonist learns that sometimes you get what you wished for. With a nod to classical English literature including poetry, fans will enjoy this engaging good and evil tale though also wonder about the heroine's go with the flow attitude rather than more of a shocked and awed Nora "Through the Looking Glass".Harriet Klausner

  • By Meg Cox on August 1, 2013

    I read all kinds of books, including the classics. When it comes to reading page-turners, I like them to be well-written as well.This book is one of those, like Deborah Harkness' Discovery of Witches, where you won't feel like an idiot once you've stayed up all night reading, because the author is clever and intelligent and the story and characters suck you right in.The conceit is more Alice in Wonderland than Harry Potter, but for grown-ups. The lead character is a graduate student in literature who accidentally wanders into a magic kingdom. It seems pretty heavenly at first, but it soon becomes clear that appearances are deceiving and that she is a prisoner. The only way she can escape is to learn magic herself.It's an old saw, to be sure, but a book of this kind only succeeds if the unreal world feels real while you're reading, and this one is so deeply imagined and occupied by such quirky dark characters, that I bought it completely.This book was a pure joy to read, and I can hardly wait for the sequel, which is said to be in the works.Enjoy!!!!!

  • By Nancy Famolari on August 10, 2013

    Nora, a disillusioned grad student, goes to the wedding of a friend, wanders off on her own, and finds herself in an alternate universe. At first she's not sure it's an alternate universe. The gardens she walks through are magnificent, the owner of the house is beautiful and intelligent, and all the people she meets are gorgeous. That's not to mention the parties. Things, as it usually turn out, are too good to be true. Nora finds she can't remember things. She wonders what's happening to her mind. Some of the people turnout to be less beautiful than they appear on the surface.Accidentally she wanders across the boundary of her kingdom and meets people who inhabit the next kingdom. They tell her in no uncertain terms that she's dealing with a group of bad people who use magic to get what they want. One of the men, a magician, offers to help her if she needs to escape. She is sure she never will, but life if full of surprises.I didn't enjoy this book. I found Nora too unhappy and listless to be an attractive heroine. She does get some guts later in the story, but for me it was too late. The book is very long. It feels as if we're following Nora around looking into an alternate universe, but not much exciting is happening.If you really love fantasy, you may enjoy this book, but it will take a long time to get through it. If you enjoy books with a fast moving plot, this is not for you. Give it a miss.I reviewed this book for Net Galley.


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