Ancestral Magic by Moondancer Drake

Ancestral Magic
Moondancer Drake
P.D. Publishing, 2009
176 pages

I was contacted about reviewing this book because of the theme of magic and mysticism in it (as the title suggests!). And as it’s from a small press that specializes in LGBT themes, that gave me extra incentive to want to check it out. That was a good choice on my part, because not only have I been introduced to a new publisher, but I just got done with an enjoyable read!

The three main characters throughout the book are single mother Sky, her son Drake (who happens to be blind, though this is treated realistically and respectfully throughout the book), and their friend and Sky’s former sister-in-law, Meg. The story starts out pretty quickly, with Sky receiving notice (amid financial woes) that she has inherited an estate from an aunt she never met–which is a bit of a trope, but I was willing to keep going with it. Meg is asked to go along for the move, which of course leaves things open for the crush that Meg’s had on Sky for, well–a while, anyway.

This isn’t just some instant happily-ever-after story, though. Once these three end up in Green Grove, their new home, Sky finds a potential new male suitor, Meg has to deal with her jealousy–oh, and everyone in town is magically talented. Not stage magic, but the sort with wards and healing and invisibility. It’s a rather Wiccan-flavored magic, even using common Craft phrases like “She changes everything She touches, and everything She touches changes” and “So mote it be”, which should appeal to a certain demographic. (There’s also not the sometimes-preachy “Here is what Wicca is and isn’t” dialogue that too many Wiccan-flavored novels go into–bonus!) I won’t spoil the rest of the plot for you; needless to say, it’s a good setup. (Do be aware that there is one mild, nicely-written, sex scene.)

Unfortunately, if I could find any fault in this novel, it’s the pacing. Of the three main characters, only Drake seems at all surprised the first time he’s told about magic. Meg seems to have known all along, but that’s not made very clear until later in the book, and it seems rather abrupt. I think the author could have done more background and buildup of this particular twist in the plotline and made the transition from “Magic? What’s that?” to “Wow, magic IS real!” a bit smoother. I also found the ending to be a bit deflated compared to the buildup, though it did make me happy (I got very invested in the characters–what can I say?)

That being said, it was still a great read; the author has a particularly good skill for characterization and description, and her dialogue is realistic. If the plot was a bit wanting, it was still a good story. I would definitely recommend this to my readers as a good plane ride book, a nice afternoon curl-up-and-read, or a commuting companion.

Four pawprints out of five.

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