Book review: Midsummer Magic by Julia Williams
Take a plot straight out of Shakespeare, two couples finding true love doesn’t always run smoothly, a mischievous illusionist called Puck and hey presto, the midsummer revels have well and truly started.
By any other name, this is A Midsummer Night’s Dream – not quite as you remember the play from school or the theatre, but with all the same familiar characters in an enchanting and contemporary guise.
Williams has created the perfect summer read in this gloriously offbeat and entertaining take on one of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays, adding the sparkle of a Cornish backdrop and a few tantalising twists and turns.
Throw in a few quirky extras like Auberon, Tatiana, Susan Peasebottom and M’stard and the stage is truly set for a tale of Shakespearean style ‘visions’ and ‘vexations.’
Josie and her fiancé Harry couldn’t be happier together but the bride-to-be is taking her wedding planning a little too seriously and Harry is starting to feel left out and more than a little overwhelmed by the logistics of it all.
Despite Harry’s initial reluctance, Josie decides a trip to her parents’ beautiful home in Cornwall will be just the job to keep him relaxed and take a welcome break from the stresses and strains of London.
It is also going to be an ideal opportunity for Josie’s best friend and chief bridesmaid Diane to meet Ant, Harry’s good mate and their prospective best man, as the pair are joining them for the holiday.
But they have hardly been in the car five minutes before all-out war is declared, mainly because Ant and Diane, or Teflon Tone and Dynamite Di as they were previously known to each other, once shared a rather disastrous relationship.
As friendships are tested to the limit, Ant tries to lighten the mood for them all by agreeing to a dare put forward by Freddie Puck, a famous TV hypnotist and illusionist, that they test out a local legend.
The two couples must go to the spooky Standing Stones on the cliff and agree to be hypnotised. Local mythology says that true love and lasting happiness belong to those who plight their troth at midnight on Midsummer’s Eve at the stones.
But as night falls and Freddie Puck begins to play his mind games, Josie, Harry, Diane and Ant discover much more about themselves, those they care about and their destinies than anyone could have imagined…
Midsummer Magic does exactly what it says on the ‘cover’– whisks you away on a sunshine break, puts the magic into romance and the fun into summer.
A dream read for the holidays…
(Avon, paperback, £6.99)