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Reviewed by Cecelia Hopkins for Readers' Favorite
Where the Magic Lies: Perils of Portia Saga #1 by Hermione Lee commences as Amethyst and her mother bring home a log. They are shocked to be confronted by fairies who accuse them of stealing treasure. The penalty is death, but Amethyst bravely offers herself to save her mother’s life. The fairies agree on the condition she moves to the kingdom of Portia and marries Prince Angus. At first, Amethyst is homesick and attempts to run away. Then she and Angus fall in love. This section of the story included descriptions of Amethyst’s princess wardrobe and created a literary fashion parade! But even as Amethyst is settling down, someone is trying to murder her! The mystery has to be solved, and the villains overcome in an explosive confrontation before Prince Angus can propose to her.
Where the Magic Lies by Hermione Lee was charmingly written and well-targeted for the young adult audience. I enjoyed the refreshing innocence of the main character and felt I was privileged to share the emotions of first love. The plot included magic, suspense, and drama, beautifully narrated in the heroine’s fresh young voice. The fairy-tale scenario provided a sophisticated exploration of coming of age and independence issues as Amethyst missed her mother and faced challenges in her new environment. The story evoked a sense of empathy for the character of Prince Angus who underwent a coming-of-age process of his own. This is the perfect girl's book, specially written for the entertainment of young adults, and as a mature lady, I also found it incredibly appealing.