Excerpt from The Magician's Daughter by H.G. Parry, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Magician's Daughter

by H.G. Parry

The Magician's Daughter by H.G. Parry X
The Magician's Daughter by H.G. Parry
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    Feb 2023, 400 pages

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"All right. I give up. What have I done now?"

"Where did you go last night?" she asked—bluntly, but without any hope of a real answer.

She wasn't disappointed. "Oh, you know. Here and there. I was in Dublin for a bit, then I got over to Edinburgh. And London," he added, with a nod to Hutchincroft, conceding a point Biddy couldn't hear. In her bleakest moments, she wished they wouldn't do that. It reminded her once again of all the magic from which she was locked out.

"And when did you get hurt?"

"I didn't—well, hardly. A few bruises. I got careless." He looked at her, more serious. "If you're worried, you don't have to be. I'm not doing anything I haven't been doing longer than you've been alive. I haven't died yet."

"Death isn't a habit you develop, you know, like tobacco or whiskey. It only takes once."

"In that case, I promise I'll let you know before I consider taking it up. Is that toast done?"

"Almost." She turned the bread belatedly. "But we need more milk."

"Well, talk to the goats about it." He checked the milk jug, nonetheless, and made a face. "We do, don't we? And more jam. I need to take the boat out to the mainland for that."

This gave her the opening she'd been hoping for. She picked the slightly burnt bread off the fork and buttered it, trying for careful nonchalance. "I could come with you."

"No," he said, equally lightly. "You couldn't."

"Why not? You just pointed out that you've been leaving the island at night since long before I was born, and you're still alive. Why can't I at least come to get the supplies in broad daylight?"

"Because you don't go to the mainland, Biddy. I told you."

"You told me. You also told me it wouldn't be forever. You said I could go when I was older."

He frowned. "Did I? When did I say that?"

"Rowan! You said it when I was little. Seven or eight, I think. I asked if I could come with you when I was grown up, and you said, 'Yeah, of course.'"

She had held on to that across all the years in between, imagining what it would be like. Rowan clearly had no memory of it at all, but Hutchincroft nudged him pointedly and he shrugged. "All right. You're not grown up yet, though, are you?"

She couldn't argue with that. She had tried when she turned sixteen to think of herself as a woman, like Jane Eyre or Elizabeth Bennet or the multitudes of heroines who lived in her books, but in her head she wasn't there. They were all older than her, and had all, even Jane, seen more of life. And yet she was too old to be Sara Crewe or Alice or Wendy Darling either. She was a liminal person, trapped between a world she'd grown out of and another that wouldn't let her in. It was one reason why she wanted to leave the island so badly—the hope that leaving the place she'd grown up would help her leave her childhood behind. Not forever, not yet. But for a visit, to see what it was like.

"I'm not a child," she said instead. Of that, at least, she was sure. "I'm seventeen in December. I might be seventeen already—you don't know. I can't stay on this island my entire life."

"I know," he said. "I'll work something out, I promise. For now, it's not safe for you."

"You leave all the time."

"It's not exactly safe for me either, but that's different."

"Why?" She couldn't keep frustration out of her voice. "It should be safer for me than for you, surely. You're a mage. I'm nothing."

"You're not nothing," he corrected her, and he was truly serious now. "Don't say that."

She knew better than to push that further. Rowan, like her, had no patience for self-pity, and she didn't want to blur the lines of her argument by indulging in it.

"Well," she amended. "I can't channel magic. I'm not like you. I'm no different to any of the other millions of people living out there in the world right now, the ones I read about in books, and they're safe and well. If there's no threat to them, surely there's no threat to me." She hesitated, seized by doubt. "They are out there, aren't they? It really is like in the books?"

Excerpted from The Magician's Daughter by H.G. Parry. Copyright © 2023 by H.G. Parry. Excerpted by permission of Redhook. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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