Curious Magic, by Elisabeth Beresford, for Timeslip Tuesday

Curious Magic, by Elisabeth Beresford (1980), sounded so very good.  Who would not want to read about a boy, Andy, going off for a holiday to a remote British island, to stay in an ancient fort, a boy with a broken leg who finds himself in the role of the Wounded Knight who must free the island from a magical enchantment, and who has time travel adventures in the process of so doing?

On the plus side, I liked the time travel elements, back through the past of the place, very much; one character kept reappearing in various guises, first as a kindly Roman centurion, and then in similar roles of guardian and caretaker of the place.  One the downside, there's no plot connection between all the other things that are happening and the time travel; a symbolic, history of place connection, but that's it. I am not at all sure why it was even happening, except that the author wanted to write it.

The actual plot is just too much for me.  Angry sea king vs. white witch, with merboy trying to give up the sea to live on land who must be hidden from the sea king and the witch's niece with growing magic of her own roping Andy into trying to break the sea king's imprisoning spell on the island?  All in 144 pages.  This is not what I wanted. 

I have nothing against the writing, and it was all very vivid and magical.  I have nothing against the two main characters, Andy and Ella the Witch's niece.  They were just as plucky and adventurous as you would expect them to be.  And I like the Roman centurian very much.   That wasn't enough though.

Short answer--this is my second book by Elisabeth Beresford (the first being Two Gold Dolphins).  It will, I think, be the last book of hers I seek out and buy (though if I see others going cheap in my travels, I'll get them).  It sounded so good, and I just didn't enjoy it.


  1. I find that books rarely hold up for more than 20 years. Styles change so much. This sounds a little like something I read recently, though. Have to think what that was.

  2. that's true for quite a number of books, but many of my all time favorites are vintage books more than 30 years old....

  3. Gorgeous cover. Too bad the book wasn't as good. I do find books from forty years ago probably wouldn't be published today. Thanks for your honest review.

  4. As soon as I read that first sentence I knew there was going to be trouble...why does Elizabeth Beresford sound familiar? I know I did not read this book, but maybe something else by her.


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