The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker
Nora, a graduate student in English, is at a rough spot. Her long-time boyfriend has left her for another woman and her dissertation just isn’t going well. Walking in the woods one day, she finds herself in an unfamiliar setting, the estate of a beautiful woman named Ilissa who inexplicably treats her like a cherished guest and begs her to stay. Soon Nora finds herself involved with Ilissa’s son, Raclin, like Ilissa too good to be true. When this idyll becomes ominous, Nora is assisted by the magician Aruendiel who eventually takes Nora on as an apprentice.
This book had everything I really love in a book: magic, fairies, romance, strong character building, and a fully-formed world. It’s a very long book, and I was completely engrossed the whole time I was reading. The one thing I object to in this book, and it’s sort of a big one, is that nothing at all was resolved. The romance—nope. The villains—at large. The disappeared good guy—missing. I guess in my husband’s favored genres (sci fi and fantasy) this is normal, but I’m not used to it, especially when the book isn’t introduced as “Book one of a trilogy” or something like that. I did love this world and want to stay in it, and the fact that the book ended unresolved made me salivate for the sequel, but no clue when (if) that will be coming along. 4.5/5*