My Rating: 4 stars: Enjoyed - strongly recommend (A-)
Full Review: http://www.twimom227.com/2012/06/review-must-be-magic-by-patricia-rice.html
Lady Leila Staines is widow and a Malcolm. She is cousin of Ninian, who was heroine in the first book, Merely Magic. Dunstan Ives is the brother of Drogo Earl of Ives, hero from first book. Although this is the second book in the series, it most definitely can be read as a stand alone.
Leila has questioned her "Malcolmness" her entire life... She has dark hair, while all other Malcolm females are blonde. She doesn't seem to have any talents (magics), but she has an acute sense of smell. Her life dream is to create her own perfumes, but her late husband refused to support her. Now that he is gone, she has hired Dunstan, the best agronomist in England, to get her flowers to grow.
Dunstan has a black cloud above his head. His high-society (adulteress) wife, Celia, was murdered and most think Dunstan is responsible. He has some interest in clearing his name for the sake of his son, but he is a little worried he may be guilty. He takes the job with Leila so he can make enough money to hire an investigator.
Must Be Magic opens strong and jumps right into the plot. I enjoyed the determination in Leila from the get go - she wants so badly to have her own talents, and she knows in her heart that she needs the roses to make it happen. She is accustomed to the upper class lifestyle, but prefers to hide among her flowers without the make up, powdered wigs and fancy clothing.
The story is filled with wonderful dialogue and scenes. One of my favorites is when Lily/Leila and Dunstan come together for the first time. It was in a heated spring and the steam coming off the pages was extremely sensual. Soon after, Dunstan learns the truth of who Lily is and confronts her. Although he gives her a hard time about misleading him, he cannot stop himself from wanting her. He tries his best to put up a wall, but their mutual desire is palpable. The words left me aching for Dunstan!
Over all, Must Be Magic is a lovely romantic tale wrapped around a murder mystery. I adore that Dunstan acknowledges Leila's gifts rather than makes excuses for them. They each embrace the uniqueness of the other, and together they are a formidable pair. They are equals from the beginning, and although they don't always listen to each other during the book, there is always respect for differences and of talents. I think this is what made this one so enjoyable.