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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Jo-Anne Blanco
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"Hello," Rowan said. At his side, Hutchincroft nudged her book experimentally with his nose. "What are you up to, then?"

She shrugged, determined not to give him the satisfaction of a smile quite yet. "Not a lot."

"You're not still sulking, are you?"

"I don't sulk. You two sulk. I was reading."

"Any good?"

She glanced down at her book. "'It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it. Millions are condemned to a stiller doom than mine, and millions are in silent revolt against their lot. Nobody knows how many rebellions besides political rebellions ferment in the masses of life which people earth.'"

His eyebrows went up. "And that's you not sulking, is it?"

"It's Charlotte Brontë, not me!" In fact, that part had been a few chapters earlier, but she had remembered it to make a point. "I'm just reading what she says."

"Well, tell her to lay off." He must have seen that pretending they hadn't argued wasn't working. She heard a faint sigh, and then he settled down beside her on the grass. "Look, I know it's not fair. I know it's lonely here for you. For what it's worth, I'm sure I did say you could come with me when you were older, and I'm sure I meant it. I thought things would be different by now. They might be soon—I'll do what I can, I promise—but I need more time. All right?"

It wasn't, really. But she knew Rowan was apologizing in his own way, and she wanted to apologize too. She didn't want there to be undercurrents of tension and struggle between the two of them, as there seemed to be more and more often these days. There never had been before. Oh, when she was thirteen and a prickly ball of existential angst, she would shout at him that he didn't understand her, and he would retort, a little frustrated and a lot more amused, that she was bloody right about that, and she would storm off fuming. But that had been about her own emotions flaring, easily solved once they settled down again. This was about Rowan, and she had enough common sense to see that if he wasn't going to budge, she could do nothing except keep pushing or back down.

And so she nodded, and tried to mean it.

"Thank you." His voice was so unexpectedly quiet and sincere that it caught her off guard. It was as though a curtain had flickered aside, and beyond it she could glimpse something shadowed and troubled. Then the moment passed, and he was stretching and getting back to his feet in one sure movement. "What time is it, by the way?"

Biddy resigned herself to the subject being closed and checked her coat pocket for her watch. "Ah… almost two."

"That late?" He glanced down at Hutch. "You were right. We do need to get a move on if we want to get back before tonight."

"Are you going somewhere tonight?" She made her voice deliberately innocent, and his look suggested he knew it.

"I might be. For now, I'm going out to the oak. Do you fancy a walk?"

She was half tempted to refuse, just to show she wasn't letting him off as easily as all that. But she did fancy a walk, and what was more, she fancied their company after her morning alone. So she got to her feet, brushing grass from her skirt.

"It isn't only about me leaving the island," she couldn't help adding. "I worry about you when I wake up at night and you're not there."

"I know you do. But you don't have to, I promise. I can take care of myself. I'm always back by morning."

"That doesn't mean you always will be."

"It doesn't mean I won't be either," he pointed out, which was technically accurate if infuriating.

They walked through the trees, the two of them on foot and Hutch scampering beside them before Rowan scooped him up to settle him against his shoulder. At this time of year, the path was like a dark green cathedral, dappled with sun, and Biddy told the other two about the words the Japanese had for different kinds of light: Light through leaves was called komorebi. Her mood lifted, and the trapped, resentful feeling sank back down in her chest where it belonged.

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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