The Secret of Magic: Book summary and reviews of The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson

The Secret of Magic

by Deborah Johnson

The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson X
The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2014
    416 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

In 1946, a young female attorney from New York City attempts the impossible: attaining justice for a black man in the Deep South.

Regina Robichard works for Thurgood Marshall, who receives an unusual letter asking the NAACP to investigate the murder of a returning black war hero. It is signed by M. P. Calhoun, the most reclusive author in the country.

As a child, Regina was captivated by Calhoun's The Secret of Magic, a novel in which white and black children played together in a magical forest.

Once down in Mississippi, Regina finds that nothing in the South is as it seems. She must navigate the muddy waters of racism, relationships, and her own tragic past. The Secret of Magic brilliantly explores the power of stories and those who tell them.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. [An] intimate, nuanced drama of the young black Yankee and middle-aged white Southerner...[a] provocative story about race in America that becomes a deeply felt metaphor for all human relationships." - Kirkus

"This novel presents a spirited portrayal of the postwar South, though heavy-handed storytelling keeps the characters from fully coming alive." - Publishers Weekly

"Johnson offers a completely engaging southern gothic with unforgettable characters." - Booklist

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Reader Reviews

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BeckyH

The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson
This is a wonderful book! The book jacket does not do it justice. I almost didn’t buy it. Then I started reading and couldn’t put it down. The writing reminds me of THE HELP or TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD or IN COLD BLOOD or even MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL – all great books.
A black war hero is returning home to Mississippi after WWII when he is beaten to death and dumped in the river. The story concerns the hero’s father and the two women – one white, one black – who want to see justice served in a segregated Jim Crow South. The characters in this book are real people (fictional) who are shown in both their goodness and their fear, their needs and their disappointments, their triumphs and their failures. The town of Revere, Mississippi, is as much a character as the people who populate the town - the District Attorney, the sheriff, the white lawyer and the black lawyer, the erstwhile lover and his wife and son, the maybe murderess and the ever present sense of fear and “place.”
The story is riveting. You will not be disappointed. Book group will a wealth of topics to discuss.
5 of 5 stars

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Author Information

Deborah Johnson

Deborah Johnson is the author of The Air Between Us, which received the Mississippi Library Association Award for fiction. She now lives in Columbus, Mississippi, and is working on her next novel.

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