Review of The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic

Review of The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic is a paranormal romance novel by Emily Croy Barker.

Review of The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic

An imaginative story of a woman caught in an alternate world—where she will need to learn the skills of magic to survive

Nora Fischer’s dissertation is stalled and her boyfriend is about to marry another woman. During a miserable weekend at a friend’s wedding, Nora wanders off and walks through a portal into a different world where she’s transformed from a drab grad student into a stunning beauty. Before long, she has a set of glamorous new friends and her romance with gorgeous, masterful Raclin is heating up. It’s almost too good to be true.

Then the elegant veneer shatters. Nora’s new fantasy world turns darker, a fairy tale gone incredibly wrong. Making it here will take skills Nora never learned in graduate school. Her only real ally—and a reluctant one at that—is the magician Aruendiel, a grim, reclusive figure with a biting tongue and a shrouded past. And it will take her becoming Aruendiel’s student—and learning magic herself—to survive. When a passage home finally opens, Nora must weigh her “real life” against the dangerous power of love and magic.

  • Title: The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic
  • Author: Emily Croy Barker
  • Genre: Paranormal Romance
  • Length: 577 Pages
  • Released: August 1, 2013
  • Rating: 7.8/10

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic is a bonafide best seller with nearly 500 reviews on Amazon, including quotes from Deborah Harkness, People Magazine, Publisher Weekly and Kirkus.

Despite the fact that this book came out 5 years ago, in 2013 – it’s the $1,519 most popular book in the Kindle store. anyone who pays attention to such thing knows that’s an impressive feat, for a newly published book, let alone one that came out 5 years ago.

Emily Croy Barker is the author. If you read her bio you can probably connect the dots as to how she got this book published. She had to have used her past journalist connections to get a publishing deal with Penguin Books.

No matter what you may think of the book, the author, Emily Croy Barker is still a graduate of Harvard and that in itself is impressive. Impressive enough that I was willing to give her book a try.

The book is long and tedious. Sure it’s technically well written without any obvious grammatical issues. But there’s more to a good story than an author with a big vocabulary and the ability to write with proper sentence structure.

What the story lacks is conflict and passion.  Not passion of the characters but the passion given to a story by an author that herself (or himself) puts into a story because she’s so caught up in her own story.


This reads more like a school paper, a project of a student who was given an assignment and the student completed it based on the teacher’s instructions.

What it’s not is a story that comes from the heart – that draws the reader in because it’s such a fascinating world that you have to know what will happen next.

Would I recommend it? Not at full price. But if you are like me and catch it on sale, absolutely. I was able to pick it up on clearance for $1.99.  Still, be warned it’s not an easy read. I struggled many times trying to get through it, having instead to force myself to finish it. It does drag in a few parts.


author avatar
Raina Rivers
I'm the dedicated romance book reviewer here because who doesn't love a good love story? My reviews may not always be nice, but they are honest. Lately, I've also been reviewing some shows from Netflix and Amazon Prime, and well, who knows what else I may find to review for you.

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Review of The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic

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