Publisher: Carina Press (2013)
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The Golden Age of England is threatened and the timeline of history as we know it will be changed forever if powerful forces of Heaven and Hell, Faerie and Mortal have their way.

Laura Navarre has done it again. Midsummer Magick, the second book in her Magick Trilogy series is not your typical bodice-ripper novel. Navarre exquisitely interlaces the adventure of Arthurian legend, the timelessness of angelic lore, the intrigue of the English Tudor court, the magic of the Faerie realm, and deliciously passionate love scenes in this spellbinding novel.  The mesmerizing story line will sweep you into its world and may even have you wondering if this alternate reality that Navarre constructed for her Magick Trilogy series might just exist somewhere, in some time.

Midsummer Magick finds country- bred Lady Linnet Norwood, a shy young scholar, as a lady in waiting at the coronation of the Queen Elizabeth Tudor.  Linnet’s mother, Lady Catriona Norwood, disappeared without a trace when Linnet was but five-years-old.  As the only living soul left in the Norwood line Linnet is, for the moment, the Countess of the troubled lands of Glencross, Scotland.

For those who read Magick by Moonlight, they will know that Linnet was considered missing—if not dead— for two years by mortal time. The Tudor court thinks the worst of her—that she is a ruined woman who speaks madly about being kidnapped by fairies and whose father disowned her on his deathbed. And since Lady Linnet is a Papist in a decidedly Protestant court, there are those who consider her a threat and her loyalty to the Queen questionable.  The story begins with Linnet being led to a trap where her killers await.

Enter Zamiel, the Angel of Death, son of Lucifer. Zamiel is unique in the Heavenly Host. Because his touch brings death, he leads a solitary existence that straddles the vast divide of the Heavenly Host and the Hell of fire and brimstone. However, the angel Zamiel has Lucifer’s infamous rebellious nature along with his devilish good looks and charm.

Zamiel, on his way to deliver his touch of death, aids Linnet in fighting off her attackers instead of touching her. His good deed will be his un-doing. He is exiled from Heaven and made mortal for his transgression of intervention. Now it is his soul that hangs in the balance. Navarre excels at introducing the hierarchy of angels to her readers and almost has you feeling sympathy for the devil and his son.  Zamiel’s weariness of his eternal role of bringer of death is palpable.

Navarre deftly counters and parries powerful entities against each other as all struggle to gain or maintain power within their own dominion. The Machiavellian maneuvering of usurpers of Queen Elizabeth’s reign is brilliantly reflected in the realms of the Fae and the dominions of the Heavenly Host.  The ante is raised when the realms plot to gain supreme power and control over the other realms. Zamiel and Linnet struggle to remain true to themselves as the sovereigns of these different realms scheme to use them as pawns for their own means.  They encounter magic and trickery, subterfuge and knavery, as they fight for their very lives and eternal souls.

But wait a minute; this is supposed to be a steamy romance novel. It is. The lovemaking scenes are sumptuous, the flirting and foreplay arousing, Zamiel’s gallantry seducing.  Navarre artfully juxtaposes wanton sex with the celebration of true love manifested.  Zamiel and Linnet are both virgins, but they are not unexposed to the vagaries of mortals, which makes their love all the more enrapturing.

Laura Navarre is a wonderful story teller who takes romance novels to a new level.  Those who enjoy sensuous heat with a measure of  Phillippa Gregory’s Tudor series intrigue, but who also take pleasure in the fantasy elements of magic and Arthurian legends a la Marion Zimmer Bradley will find the Magick Trilogy an enjoyable and engrossing read.  These are not Y/A novels. The next installment, Book Three, of Laura Navarre’s  Magick Trilogy is  ardently anticipated by this reviewer.