The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic

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.

Barker has delivered a well written epic fantasy. It was long, which I liked, it allowed the detail and the development of characters to evolve and grow, so as a reader I got to know them and felt I was there in the story with them.

I am not sure of the title for this book, its good, but it feels like a wrong fit for this story.

The story line developed the battle between good and evil and although a long book with an ending that allows it to stand on its own, I feel there is going to be more about this world and these characters.

I really enjoyed it and look forward to another book in the series.