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The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


An imaginative story of a woman caught in an alternate world—where she will need to learn the skills of magic to survive

Nora Fischer’s dissertation is stalled and her boyfriend is about to marry another woman.  During a miserable weekend at a friend’s wedding, Nora wanders off and walks through a portal into a different world where she’s transformed from a drab grad student into a stunning beauty.  Before long, she has a set of glamorous new friends and her romance with gorgeous, masterful Raclin is heating up. It’s almost too good to be true.

Then the elegant veneer shatters. Nora’s new fantasy world turns darker, a fairy tale gone incredibly wrong. Making it here will take skills Nora never learned in graduate school. Her only real ally—and a reluctant one at that—is the magician Aruendiel, a grim, reclusive figure with a biting tongue and a shrouded past. And it will take her becoming Aruendiel’s student—and learning magic herself—to survive. When a passage home finally opens, Nora must weigh her “real life” against the dangerous power of love and magic.

For lovers of Lev Grossman's The Magicians series (The Magicians and The Magician King) and Deborah Harkness's All Souls Trilogy (A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night).

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 03, 2013 – Nora Fischer has lost everything: dumped by her boyfriend, her dissertation going nowhere fast, her life an empty shell. She decides she needs an escape. In this ambitious, densely packed debut by journalist Barker, Nora finds that instead of getting a small break from normality, she has escaped into another world in which magic exists and is not as cute and cuddly as she might have imagined. Though the story starts with a classic tale of unpleasant fairies working their will, it morphs into something deeper and more nuanced when Nora meets the magician Aruendiel. Barker weaves together classic fantasy and romantic elements (including shout-outs to Pride and Prejudice and hints of Wuthering Heights) to produce a well-rounded, smooth, and subtle tale.

Customer Reviews

Loved it

Took me somewhere I never saw coming. Fabulous! I want a sequel!

Can’t wait for the sequel

I just read The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic for the second time, and it was just as good as reading it the first time.
Emily Croy Barker’s characters are interesting and mysterious and the plot moves quickly. The book did end abruptly, but the ending lets you know there is more to come. Hurry up, ECB!

Great idea and plot, but what the heck happened at the end?

It ended so abruptly without a promise of a sequel and it seems like there won’t be one? But i liked the story and the characters, was a bit long in places but for me, it made the story more satisfying, it became more real and detailed, hence why the shock at the abrupt ending.

The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic
View in iTunes
  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Contemporary
  • Published: Aug 01, 2013
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Print Length: 576 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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