Midsummer Magic – Julia Williams

I meant to have this done a month ago at the appropriate time… never mind! Harry is a journalist with aspirations to travel until he suddenly finds himself engaged to his lovely girlfriend Josie. Josie’s manic wedding planning takes a turn for the extreme as they and their best friends Ant and Diane all take a weekend away at Josie’s wealthy parents’ house in Cornwall. Ant and Diane were expecting to meet for the first time- it turns out they used to know each other well until a betrayal tore them apart.

In one eventful weekend the group meet two television illusionists whose star power convinces all four of them to undergo hypnosis for a dare at the site of a local tradition. On midsummer’s eve by the standing stones on the cliff top, if you plight your troth, you will have true love, so the legend says. If this sounds familiar, yes it is a modern retelling of a midsummer night’s dream. This becomes especially apparent with some of the names!

Kooks for your Kindle?– There are a few familiarly named supporting characters here, Auberon (Bron), Freddie Puck and Tatiana are a little past it in professional years, but Tatiana is trying to get back on stage in a production at the local open air theatre. Josie’s well-to-do parents have an old fashioned dynamic, he earns the big bucks while the little woman looks after him. Small wonder Harry finds his prospective father-in-law intimidating. The four leads are in their twenties and quite different to each other- although neither Ant nor Diane are the committing type, both flitting through life for the same reason.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Josie knows she’s led a charmed life; only child; wealthy parents; men falling at her feet; but even when she’s obviously more into the wedding than Harry is she fails to see the signs. Harry isn’t really the strong silent type, he’s just silent at first, wondering how he ended upon this runaway train and how he can get off it. Fortunately midsummer’s eve offers just the chaos he needs.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– One of the book’s strengths was the vivid portrayal of a summer weekend in the west country (if you’re lucky with the weather), with the heat, the cliffs along the coast, sitting outside a pub of a summer’s afternoon; it made me quite homesick!

Evaluation of your eBook?– I suspect we all know a couple where the bride-to-be got a teensy bit carried away and ended up with a massive wedding- or no groom! Josie was not especially likable at first, fortunately the weekend contains lessons for her. The hypnosis element was interesting, and a new take on the Shakespeare tale, but it did lead to an awful lot of back and forth (I love him, no not him ,him!) and running up and down cliffs having Enid Blyton style adventures. The older supporting characters were showbiz luvvies, entertainingly so. It wasn’t as predictable as you might imagine, for there are real possibilities for people to end up with other partners so I won’t tell you whether it follows A Midsummer Night’s dream in that respect. Not quite as good as the last one we reviewed by this author, but a pleasant summer read, no need to have read the original Shakespeare, and a good price (in UK at least, if it remains 99p).

Frothy Ranking: 3/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for only 99p.

US: Amazon for $3.79 and Kobobooks for $7.29.

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