The Good, the Bad, and the Hungry Sale
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | June 20, 2014

Lauren Owen: IMG The Other Vampire



It's a wild and thundery night. Inside a ramshackle old manor house, a beautiful young girl lies asleep in bed. At the window, a figure watches... Continue »

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$26.95
New Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z
2 Burnside Literature- A to Z
1 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z
25 Local Warehouse General- General
25 Remote Warehouse Literature- General

More copies of this ISBN

The Secret of Magic

by

The Secret of Magic Cover

ISBN13: 9780399157721
ISBN10: 0399157727
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"If you liked The Help, you'll love this one!"--EW.com

In a novel that “brings authentic history to light,”* a young female attorney from New York City attempts the impossible in 1946: 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 Calhouns The Secret of Magic, a novel in which white and black children played together in a magical forest. The book was a sensation, featured on the cover of Time magazine, and banned more than any other book in the South. And then M.P. Calhoun disappeared.

With Thurgoods permission, Regina heads down to Mississippi to find Calhoun and investigate the case. But as she navigates the muddy waters of racism, relationships, and her own tragic past, she finds that nothing in the South is as it seems.

 

READERS GUIDE INCLUDED

*Augusta Trobaugh

Review:

"When African-American WWII veteran Joe Howard Wilson, returning home to Mississippi in 1945, is killed in what appears to be a racially motivated crime, his family's former employer writes to legendary NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall for help. Johnson's spirited sophomore novel (following The Air Between Us) explores racial boundaries in 1940s Mississippi through the eyes of Regina Robichard, a young black lawyer from Harlem sent to investigate the murder in Marshall's stead. Upon arriving in Revere, Miss., Regina discovers that, although the stories that she has heard of overt racism and strictly enforced Jim Crow laws are true, the reality is much more complicated. Unlike New York, where 'races rarely mingled', here they lived 'right on top of each other, constantly traipsing in and out of one another's lives.' Joe Howard's father, Willie Willie, has taught generations of children, both black and white, the secrets of the surrounding forests. Yet many of these children, now adults, are the very people who want to sweep his son's death under the carpet. Inspired by the story of African-American WWII veteran Isaac Woodard, who was blinded by a South Carolina policeman following his service, , this novel presents a spirited portrayal of the postwar South, though heavy-handed storytelling keeps the characters from fully coming alive. Agent: Harvey Klinger, Harvey Klinger Inc." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

The Lost Entwife, January 21, 2014 (view all comments by The Lost Entwife)
To be honest, I wasn't sure what I would think of The Secret of Magic . There's a comparison to The Help in the blurb on the front of the advanced copy I received from Penguin, and that was almost enough to put me off of reading The Secret of Magic . You see, while The Help was good for a few chuckles from me, I still couldn't get past how much I disliked the dynamics of the book. I hated seeing everything made right by yet another privileged white woman who comes to the rescue. And while I understand there was more than just that happening in the book, it still bugged me. With that said, it was refreshing to see a similar scenario happening in The Secret of Magic - but an entirely different outcome.

The Secret of Magic is actually the name of a book that a young, female, African American lawyer named Regina Robichard read as a child. It plays one major part in the story, as the author of the book, a M. P. Calhoun is the one to hire Ms. Robichard to handle a case for a man in her employ, Mr. Willie Willie. This case takes Regina from New York, where she works with the historical figure, Thurgood Marshall, into the deep South - Mississippi south, where things abide by an entirely different set of rules than she has been used to in New York.

Regina is not without a troubled past, however. From the start, her story is laid out and her background follows her through the book. And the beginning of the book had me on pins and needles. But in spite of what brings Regina to Mississippi, this is not a story about a mystery. There is never any "a ha" moment, because for crimes like the one committed here, there was no reason to hide who did it. The question was, will the person who did it be brought to justice. Ultimately, that's what Johnson's story is about. It's about the navigation of the law and the putting forward of historical events into the light so that change can be made to happen. It's about why change was needed in the first place - because even with the ability to vote, equality was still a long way to come.

I think Johnson did a beautiful job of really portraying the fears and the terror that must have been present in the lives of the African American people in the South during this time period. I thought she also handled well the relationships of the privileged around them, allowing some to show deep compassion as a counterpart to the horror that was the others. The only real issue I had with the book was the story within a story. This is a hit or miss thing for me - the story either works or it doesn't. In this case, I was too interested in what was happening with Regina and Willie Willie to be interested in the actual book written by Calhoun. The excerpts, in fact, annoyed me more than enhanced the story for me.

With all that said, I think The Secret of Magic is a great novel and one that I'm glad to see released. I enjoyed it much more than I did The Help, and I recommend it to anyone interested in post-war Mississippi and the civil rights movement.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780399157721
Author:
Johnson, Deborah
Publisher:
Amy Einhorn Books
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20140131
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
readers guide inside
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » African American » Historical

The Secret of Magic New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$26.95 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Amy Einhorn Books - English 9780399157721 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "When African-American WWII veteran Joe Howard Wilson, returning home to Mississippi in 1945, is killed in what appears to be a racially motivated crime, his family's former employer writes to legendary NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall for help. Johnson's spirited sophomore novel (following The Air Between Us) explores racial boundaries in 1940s Mississippi through the eyes of Regina Robichard, a young black lawyer from Harlem sent to investigate the murder in Marshall's stead. Upon arriving in Revere, Miss., Regina discovers that, although the stories that she has heard of overt racism and strictly enforced Jim Crow laws are true, the reality is much more complicated. Unlike New York, where 'races rarely mingled', here they lived 'right on top of each other, constantly traipsing in and out of one another's lives.' Joe Howard's father, Willie Willie, has taught generations of children, both black and white, the secrets of the surrounding forests. Yet many of these children, now adults, are the very people who want to sweep his son's death under the carpet. Inspired by the story of African-American WWII veteran Isaac Woodard, who was blinded by a South Carolina policeman following his service, , this novel presents a spirited portrayal of the postwar South, though heavy-handed storytelling keeps the characters from fully coming alive. Agent: Harvey Klinger, Harvey Klinger Inc." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.