Barker, Emily Croy. The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic
Nora Fischer is a literature doctorate student whose life is going nowhere fast. Dumped by her long-time boyfriend and with her disseration stalled, she leaps at the chance to escape from it all and head out of town for a friend’s wedding. But when she decides to take a long walk up the side of a wooded mountain and discovers first an old cemetary and then the mansion of a glamorous, oddly generous woman, her life changes forever. The woman, and the house, are not what they seem. Faerie creatures of a sort, they begin enchanting Nora by degrees, layering spell after spell upon her to confuse her and draw her away from the human world so that she might make a compliant wife for the queen’s only son. Rescued at last by a human magician, Aruendiel, Nora has still not been returned to her own world, but to another, parallel, in which magic functions. Dismayed by this place’s, to Nora’s mind, backward ideas about a woman’s proper place, she refuses to abide by them and begins tutelage in magic herself under Aruendiel’s stern and uncompromising hand, all the while finding herself growing closer and closer to the moody, scarred magician despite his checkered past.
A light fantasy which plays gently with genre conventions and includes a pleasantly stubborn and intelligent heroine, The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic should appeal to fans of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.