When Dr. Gowan Payne inherits the thirteenth earldom of Welshpool he quits his practice intending to enjoy his newfound wealth. Unfortunately, he inherits his uncle's enormous debts, leaving him destitute. With no other choice, Gowan retires to his estate outside the village of Rhyd Ddu.

Upon his arrival, Gowan is met with an unusual snowstorm and seeks shelter in a cottage in the forest. The Rhys sisters, by way of magic, lure their niece Nicolette must wed the earl to end the curse upon their family and to pass the magic on to her daughters.

Nicolette must make a great sacrifice when she weds, thus she fights her overwhelming attraction to Gowan, but to no avail. As the aunts attempt to cast various spells using potions and the like, Nicolette attempts to counter their magic with her own, for she would not have Gowan enthralled.

Gowan is dismayed to find his home in ruins. Determined to make the best of it, he sets out to win the villagers' approval, restore his family's good name and win Nicolette's love. So what if the Rhys women are a little nutty; he can live with that. What ensues is a merry battle between fate, magic and love.

TOUCHED BY MAGIC is a hilarious tale that blends fate, love and magic into a wondrous potion to warm your heart. Well-drawn characters (including the ever-endearing aunts) and rich atmosphere combine with Gowan and Nicolette's adventures in love to create a tale that is sure to brighten your day and tickle your funny bone. SENSUAL (July, 423 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin