Review by Barb Drozdowich
In Forbidden Magic, Jo Beverley once again crafts a truly magical book. Meg Gillingham is left penniless after the death of both of her parents within a short period of time. Her cruel landlord threatens to evict her and her siblings unless she gives up her younger sister to his lecherous plans. Meg is desperate, and it’s almost Christmas – a time for miracles!! Meanwhile, Sax, the earl of Saxonhurst, is reminded that he has agreed some time ago to marry by the time he turns 25 or his grandmother gets to choose his bride. At the time the story starts he has 24 hours to find a wife.
Sax has a wonderfully eccentric collection of misfits for servants who band together to help him find someone to marry. One of his beloved servants has a sister who knows of Meg’s situation and Sax agrees to send the woman to Meg to propose marriage if she will show up to the church the following day. Out of other options, Meg agrees to the marriage which starts the crafting of a wonderful love story. Again, this story doesn’t really involve members of the Company of Rogues but the explanation of Sax’s participation as a boy exists for the connection of this series of books. Many reviewers don’t consider this book to be one of the “Company of Rogues” books. I disagree.
Several reviews that I have read of this book comment on Sax as a unique hero in the Regency Romance genre. Often the heros are dominant characters, taking charge with a great deal of arrogance (as illustrated in other books in this series). True, the heroines usually temper that arrogance in some fashion or another. Sax is an unusual hero. He is both sexy and endearing while being very eccentric. His symbiotic relationship with his servants is both touching and humorous. Due to his antagonistic relationship with his grandmother, he has an unpredictable temper. When he’s in a foul mood he often takes to smashing things in his bedchamber – with his servants betting on what he will smash next! His collection of servants and pets are another example of his endearing qualities. They are an interesting collection of people many with criminal pasts or physical disabilities. His collection of misfit pets mirrors his servants.
This book is an example of why you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover! The blurb on the back didn’t encourage me to read it, but I did as this book was the next one in the “Company of Rogues” series. I was quickly drawn into a magical love story that was almost impossible to put down. Definitely a keeper!