Lani Diane Rich debuts her paranormal pseudonym, Lucy March, with this month’s A Little Night Magic. And with the author’s signature wit — expect to smile as you read this story — she turns a waitress heroine into a woman who might just be the deciding factor in a war between good and evil. But when the story opens, our Olivia doesn’t even know that she has magic powers ...
Whitney: Before we get into the whole Olivia-is-magic thing, we have to point out that she stopped believing in that kind of stuff a long time ago.
Morgan: Well, not so long ago.
Whitney: Right, for a long time she imagined that a sparkly blue linoleum square at Crazy Cousin Betty’s Waffle House could grant wishes.
Morgan: She tried to use this throughout her childhood to make her dreams come true, with varying results.
Whitney: But when Olivia was twenty-two she stood on the square and wished her mother wouldn’t have cancer anymore.
Morgan: And when the wish didn’t come true ...
“I stopped wishing after that. I mean, I didn’t really believe that it was magic and could grant wishes, but … I kind of believed it was magic and could grant wishes. And that it was a sadistic little bastard, to be avoided at all costs.”
Whitney: So since her mother’s death, Olivia has given up on magic and done her best to move on. She has her mother’s friend “Cousin Betty”, owner of the aforementioned diner, and her own three best friends Peach, Millie and Stacy to keep her company.
Morgan: But other than some great friends, Olivia doesn't have much else going on. When we meet her she’s still in Nodaway Falls, New York waitressing at the waffle house and wishing that the magic linoleum square could grant wishes. Because if it could, then she’d be wishing for Tobias, the diner’s cook, to stop sending out mixed signals and instead just be in love with her.
Whitney: But when Olivia realizes that Tobias doesn’t love her...
Morgan: More like he can’t —
Whitney: Well, she certainly doesn’t know that! Olivia decides that enough is enough of Tobias’ rejection, and so she plans her escape to Europe so she can see the world and relocate somewhere far, far away.
Morgan: Like Scotland far.
Whitney: When you are running from unrequited love, what is a continent or two?
Morgan: However, Olivia doesn’t make it quite that far. One night, when she is about to close up the diner, she gets accosted by a customer who throws a stinky gym sock in her face.
Whitney: And poof! With one sock to the face (filled with mysterious herbs), Olivia’s magic, which has been passed down from her absentee father, is released.
Morgan: The same magic that she has stopped believing in.
Whitney: Well, it’s hard to stay a nonbeliever when you can literally bring inanimate objects to life. Her powers are free, free like a bird!
Morgan: If by free you mean, completely uncontrollable, then yes, that’s the state of Olivia’s magic.
Whitney: Control is overrated! I love her power. This is the first time that I’ve ever read about a heroine who involuntarily turns everyday, household items into animated creatures … normally of the woodland variety.
Morgan: Right out of the gate she transforms a mug into a bunny rabbit.
Whitney: Gibson! I can’t even express how much I want one of my own, or a Niles (who used to be a piece of paper, but is now a living origami crane).
There was a noise down by my ankle and I looked down to see Gibson bumping into the side of the bed. I glanced up to see Niles floating in circles above Gib and I smiled as I picked Gibson up.
“Well that’s weird,” Betty commented
“They’re inseparable,” I said. “I think it’s sweet.”
“It is sweet,” she said, “But your piece of paper’s in love with your mug. It’s also weird.”
Morgan: Thankfully, Olivia isn’t alone with her revelation, she’s got a bunch of people willing to help her out. Like Betty, who unexpectedly reveals her own power: making delicious baked goods appear out of thin air.
Whitney: That’s my kind of talent — although I’m not sure the word thin belongs in that sentence.
Morgan: Thin aside, Betty isn’t the only one with extra special gifts.
Whitney: Right, the gym sock wielding maniac, Davina Granville, turns out to have powers of her own and, thankfully, she’s returns to help protect Olivia from Cain who is some kind of evil conjurer/sorcerer that is gunning for Olivia's gifts.
Morgan: Regardless of the help she has, the more Olivia learns about this new life of hers, the more she wants to just give it back.
Whitney: Especially when she figures out that her friendship with Tobias is actually a set-up. He was hired by her family to protect her.
Morgan: Which leads us back to the fact that he can’t love her. Sad really, because they make a great pair. Him with all of the protectiveness and her with all the needing protection.
Whitney: True, it’s not just Cain who is turning Olivia’s life upside down. He’s created minions who are wreaking havoc around Nodaway Falls.
Morgan: Among those going off the deep end is Olivia’s best friend Millie, who, in a fit of pique, magically pelts Olivia with walnuts.
Whitney: Which make surprisingly good (aka dangerous) projectiles, yet another clever moment from the talented author.
Morgan: I really like that because of the sorcery stuff happening in the story, really anyone could be made into a conduit for evil. It is kind of like a magical game of musical chairs. When the music stops, you never know which bad guy will be left standing.
Whitney: Deception does abound in the story - and with almost no one left to trust, Olivia has some very difficult decisions to make. Including whether or not she will give up her powers so she can go back to a normal life.
Morgan: Little does Olivia know that to get rid of her power, she’ll have to die ...
Whitney: And with that cliffhanger ending, you’ll have to pick up A Little Night Magic by Lucy March to find out what happens to Olivia.