First I thought about going with a synopsis from the publisher, but it's a little too long and too revealing for my taste, so I'll give you my 30-second version:
Toby Warring is a magician--specifically, a real magician who does real magic--and Mel Snow is a textile designer. They meet in a dusty Nevada diner and marry two days later. Soon, Mel finds herself swept up into Toby's world of magic, which is often less than perfect and glazed with a bit of mystery and danger.
In a couple of reviews, I've seen Toby and Mel's relationship compared to The Time Traveler's Wife, and that's a tall order, in my opinion. One of the things I loved most when I read TTW was the intense, romantic, often heartrending relationship between Henry and Claire. I definitely don't feel the same about Toby and Mel, and I'm over halfway through the book. I often find their relationship unbelievable since Mel is prone to refer to him as "the magician" and it seems like the dialogue between them is stilted. It's a tangible distance. This could be Pochoda's way of emphasizing the fact that they really didn't know each other when they got married. I just haven't decided if it works for me.
On the other hand, Pochoda's brand of magical realism is enough to keep me flipping pages. While I'm tempted to compare this book to Sarah Addison Allen's writing, that would be somewhat misleading. Allen is far sweeter and Pochoda a little more raw. Toby pulls objects out of thing air, conjures wonders from the natural world, and can see pockets and channels through dimensions to do his magic. Mel, in all her ordinary existence, hears music and sees the stories behind the fabrics she comes in contact with. It's a weird "power," but it's also really charming in the context of the book. It sounds all good and fine, but on the flip-side, Toby is haunted by the assistant he made disappear and couldn't get back. Mel is haunted by the brother who left.
Toby is often troubled by his abilities. Mel often wonders over the decisions she's made and her new husband's motivations. While I find some bits of the writing unbelievable, I am enjoying this book enough to finish. Pochoda has created a great premise, and I hope the rest of the book delivers.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours for giving me a crack at this novel!
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