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Book Review: Magic of the Pentacle by Diane Wylie

Richard Blackstone, aka The Mesmerist, is a successful magician working in San Francisco, but in the city of millions, he is truly alone because Richard has a secret. He is immortal. Centuries ago as a medieval knight in King Edward’s service, Richard’s life changed when he met a traveling magician and stole an enchanted amulet granting him immortality, magical abilities, and the power to sense others’ emotions, but magic comes with a price. After an enemy kills his wife and sons, he sees how miserable his long existence will be and gradually becomes determined to never love again rather than feel the heartbreak of loss, but following on overnight stay in a psychiatric hospital for an incidence in a bar, Richard meets a woman who challenges his long-held beliefs. What began as a bargain to help a patient becomes so much more for Dr. Juliana Nelson. After agreeing to attend one of Richard’s magic shows, Juliana can’t keep her mind or her hands off the sexy magician who is as mysterious as his magic show, but when she his learns secret, she is uncertain whether she can believe the tale. If it is untrue, Richard should be committed, but if she allows herself to believe it, she should be committed. If he is immortal, Julianna will inevitably be forced to give him up, and she is left to wonder if love can conquer time.

One strength of the novel is the paradoxical irony of Richard and Juliana’s relationship. After spending five hundred lonely years, he has now found his love redemption with Juliana, but in order to fully immerse himself, he must give up love as well, the family he watched die in the fifteenth century. If Richard ever wants to find happiness in his present life, he has to free himself from his past life, and Juliana is the key to his freedom. In a beautiful quest with his lady love by his side, Richard must face literal and figurative trials to release not only himself but also his suffering family. He learns the ever-powerful lesson of letting go, letting go of his love and his guilt. In addition to this emotional baggage, the couple also faces the issue of whether or not the joy of their current love can balance the future pain of loss. Because Richard is immortal, he will be forced to watch Juliana age and die. In facing her mortality, he questions his immortality and whether he can again give up love in exchange for finite happiness. Juliana also wonders if she can love a man who will be forever young and healthy while she drowns in the possibility that she will develop the same mental illness that her mother and grandmother have. She doesn’t know if she can saddle her magic man with what she fears she will become, but their love proves to be stronger than life AND death.

A mixture of romance, the paranormal, and historical fiction, this novel is has something for everyone. Romance lovers get their literal knight in shining armor. History fans will get to experience a fifteenth-century battle in a video game style quest, and paranormal buffs will love the power of the amulet.

This review was written for Chanticleer Reviews.

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