The Wizard's Daughter, by Barbara Michaels

>> Friday, November 07, 2003

The Wizard's Daughter, by Barbara Michaels is the last of this author's historicals that I haven't read lately. After reading Greygallows, a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I've had mixed results with these books. Fortunately, The Wizard's Daughter was one of the good ones.

Marianne Ransom, orphaned daughter of a country squire, is rescued from a questionable living on the back streets of London by a mysterious attorney. Adopted by a wealthy duchess, she's told she isn't who she thinks she is and that she has powers she never knew existed. She's told her real father is a renowned magician with great powers, which she's inherited, and several demonstrations seem to bear this out...
Yep, I liked it. I think I definitely prefer Michaels as a contemporary author, but this one was enjoyable. A B.

It had a lot of the sarcastic, witty humour that I thought was missing from Greygallows. I especially enjoyed how the author used the omniscient POV (is that the right term?) to poke fun at Marianne when she's being silly or melodramatic. And Marianne was a much more likeable character than Lucy, too. She had many of the conventionalisms of the time on the surface, but underneath that she was extremely pragmatic.

I thought the book was not very easy to get into, because the first 80 pages or so were much too slow. This was the part where Marianne's circumstances were set up, until the moment she was "rescued" by the duchess. Parts of it were entertaining, but IMO the book would have been better if this section had been tightened.

The action itself was very intriguing, and had me reading late into the night to find out just what had been going on. Looking back, with 20/20 hindsight, yeah, it was pretty obvious who, but I don't think I could ever have guessed the why.

Oh, and a special mention should be made of the vicar. I had my suspicions that he was a spoof of Jane Eyre's St. John, and this was confirmed when he proposed to Marianne, just as romatically as the original St. John :-)

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