In 1946, a young female attorney from New York City attempts the impossible: 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 Calhoun's The Secret of Magic, a novel in which white and black children played together in a magical forest.
Once down in Mississippi, Regina finds that nothing in the South is as it seems. She must navigate the muddy waters of racism, relationships, and her own tragic past.
The Secret of Magic brilliantly explores the power of stories and those who tell them.
©2014 Deborah Johnson (P)2014 Penguin Audio
"Johnson offers a completely engaging southern gothic with unforgettable characters in this fictionalized account of a pivotal NAACP case from the 1940s." (Booklist)
It's a well-written story that is captivating and touching about race relations in 1945 Mississippi. It's not "in-your-face" or race-biased. It tells of good and bad, black and white. Johnson is able to reveal the wonders and splendors of the state of Mississippi while delving into its troubled history. There is a light at the end of the race tunnel which foretells the positive evolution that is going-on in the South now.
Living in Mississippi today, I am happy to see so many people of all races reading and loving this book! You will too.
The obvious answer is To Kill A Mockingbird because it portrays the love, respect, and bond that all good people, black and white, have for each other in the South. It contrasts this with the hatred, stupidity, and cruel acts of others. Combined, they make for a good and rewarding reading.
His voice is clear and easy to understand. He shifts easily between black and white voices without stereotyping.
It made me want to read Johnson's next book.
When is the movie coming-out?
I was surprised that a book written by a woman with two female protagonists was read by a man, but he did an excellent job. The story was wonderful and very evocative of the time it's based in.
Which came first... the books or the glasses?
This story drags. I listened to 3 hrs of this 14 hr book and the author was barely getting started. In my opinion she put in too much minute detail that slowed down what could have been an interesting story. For example: the phone rang, person 1 (who answered the phone) called person 2 (who the phone call was for) to come to the phone but before person 2 came to the phone there was about 15 minutes of details on background info totally unrelated to the phone call. Another example: person 1 goes to pick up person 2 at the train station as they are walking towards each other to meet there is about 15 minutes of detail about a distraction person 1 sees over her shoulder. And this type of thing goes on and on. I really tried with this book because I thought the story was going somewhere but I can't hang with slow stories that really drag like this one does.
This story is set in 1946 ish Mississippi -- a black man on his way home from the war disappears off a bus just a few miles from home. A letter is written to Thurgood Marshall at the NAACP and our heroine -- a newly minted lawyer -- goes to investigate. She finds the people are all characters from a book she read as a child. The ending was a bit contrived, but it was a very enjoyable listen. The narrator was excellent.
An amazing, intriguing, wonderful, and glorious read!!! "The Secret of Magic" will be with me the remainder of my life. And Mr. Willie Willie and Ms. Regina Robixhard will remain in my heart, as will Miss Mary Pickett.
Mr. Peter Francis James is the most fantastic narrator! His reading of "Devil in the Grove" was outstanding, as it is here! I actually found this book when searching for others he may have narrated. How could I turn down another book with Mr. James' rendition of Mr. Thurgood Marshall? Wonderful. Just wonderful. I highly recommend both these books -- they changed my life. Truly.
Deborah Johnson's writing is so amazingly vivid. It's like I was watching a movie. I can't wait until the movie comes out, by the way. I love the story. I loved every detail of this book, and usually I like to skim over some details.
I found all the characters interesting. Often in a book there will be a character about whom I am not intrigued or disgusted. I was intrigued by all her characters. I cared about them all.
No. I wanted to savor it for a long time. I wish it hadn't ended.
Peter Francis James is unbelievable!!!! I have never heard a better narrator. Every character sounded like their gender, their social status, their personality... And I loved the way they all sounded. I don't know how James did it!
The magic aspect of the story was a very fun concept to read about.
The ending seemed a bit anticlimactic and the magic tie in with the book fell short to what I was initially expecting. The narrator did a decent job with the voices, but I would've liked a bit more variation to decipher who was talking(other than the character name being said)
Johnson has created an evocative story of life in 1940's Mississippi, which not only seems to faithfully capture the flavour of the time and space, but also draws the listener into a "can't put it down" first class mystery. Though dealing with difficult subjects and episodes, she manages to avoid sensationalism, or graphic descriptions of human excess -- a rare find in contemporary writing, but one I appreciated. One of my best 'reads' in some time -- highly recommended.
"Stop, look and listen...."
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