Sunday, April 3, 2011

April Chick Lit Review: "It's a Kind of Magic"

I am incredibly proud of myself for completing April's Challenge on the second day of the month. Usually the middle of the month comes around and I think "Gah! Must read a book. Need to pick a good title. Must choose now before it is too late and the world comes to an end!" Yes, I can get myself quite worked up about things. I then remind myself that I can choose whatever chick lit book my little heart desires and that I have quite the stockpile of them from my years of working at a bookstore with a phenomenal discount. It’s a Kind of Magic was one of those stockpiled books. I believe I bought this one while still working in Waterloo, which would have been prior to June. If you think that’s bad, I’m fairly certain I still have books from when I was working at the store a couple of years ago. Plan is to work my way through those now that I don’t have any textbooks to read! But, enough of that. Onto my review of It’s a Kind of Magic!

I have read quite a few of Carole Matthews’ books (of the 18 her website lists, I have read 7 with two more on my shelves, patiently waiting). I’ve always enjoyed them because they’re witty, sweet, and British. I’m a sucker for British, Scottish, Irish and Welsh Chick Lit (no idea what Welsh chick lit authors are out there but I would feel bad if I didn’t include them). Feel free to recommend some in the comments, maybe someone will recommend an author I haven’t read! Since Chapters has failed me in providing a synopsis, here it is from Goodreads…ok, they fail too. Directly from Matthews’ website it is!

Emma and Leo have been together - off and on - for ever. But their relationship seems to have lost its spark - it's as though the magic has gone.
When Leo turns up at Emma's thirtieth birthday dinner unforgivably late and horribly drunk, embarrassing her in front of her family, she can't help wishing things were different. In fact, she wishes Leo was different. She loves him very much but if someone could wave a magic wand and turn him into a reliable, considerate boyfriend it would certainly save her a lot of trouble.
When Leo's path crosses with a decidedly sparkly wisp of a girl called Isobel, he falls under her magic spell and Emma sees him altering before her very eyes. Soon she regrets wishing for a 'new' Leo at all. And, surely, Isobel can't be for real? One thing's clear, if Emma's going to win him back, she'll need to do some changing of her own...
To be completely honest, it took me awhile to get into this book and I’m not entirely sure why. I like Carole Matthews and I like a good fairy story every once and awhile. However. I’m not sure I like the two together. I do like the underlying theme that I think Matthews was trying to get at – recapturing or finding the magic that’s been lost. While this novel, like all of Matthews’ books, has a romance at its core, it is not the only thing that the “magic” refers to. I think what sort of lost me with this book was the fact that Leo “found” the magic so literally – he starts dating a fairy! There’s a good quote in the book that I think sums up the way humans live nowadays. Leo is trying to explain the way human relationships work and she finds it very sad:

‘Humans are strange creatures.’
‘You have to give us time,’ he said. ‘We’re very stressed out. We’ve forgotten how to enjoy magic. Or even where to look for it. Instead, we all have crippling mortgages and dwindling pensions and plummeting share portfolios and heaps of commitments and spreading waistlines to worry about.’
‘You must be very sad people.’

Once the book got going though, it got a little better, and I think part of that had to do with the changes the characters went through.

The first time I “met” Leo he is at a bar belting out a wonderful rendition of Madonna’s “Material Girl” while on top a table, totally wasted. I soon realize that he is hopelessly late for his girlfriend Emma’s thirtieth birthday party. Really, he just seems like a huge prat and I’m feeling sorry for Emma. Then, I find out more about her and she seems like a stuck up bore. How did these two people end up together and why should I care or root for them to get back together? I’m still not sure how or why they started dating in the first place, but by the end of the book I was cheering for them. Without giving too much away, Isobel helps Leo grow up and while he’s doing that, Emma is realizing that she has been too hard on Leo and desperately wants him back. He may be an inconsiderate goof sometimes, but he’s her inconsiderate goof and she’s not going to let anyone stand in her way. At the end, everyone (Emma’s two girlfriends and Leo’s two buddies included) grows up and realizes what sort of magic has been missing from their lives. Yay! Happy endings! I have to admit that I still don’t really like Emma. There were just too many personality quirks that got on my nerves. I was able to overlook that (for the most part) and I ended up enjoying this book way more than I thought I would. Not my favourite Carole Matthews book but I would still recommend it to anyone who likes chick lit, British authors, or a good fairy tale.

Anyone else read this book? Let me know what you thought! Until next time…don’t forget to look for the magic! :)


  1. Way to go girl! :) I haven't read this particular book, but I have read many, many others by Carole Matthews. A few did start slow for me, but I enjoy her books overall

  2. I still haven't read my first Carole Matthews. I've read a few books like that but by the end, I'm glad I stuck with it..but boy, it can be tough getting there. Thanks for the heads up!


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