Calypso Magic (A LLB favorite)
By Catherine Coulter, 1999 reissue, originally released in 1988, European Historical
Topaz, $7.50, ISBN #0451408772
Second in a trilogy that also includes Midsummer Magic and Moonspun Magic

Sensuality: Hot

Calypso Magic is a truly incredible book chock full of suspense and spice and hilarity. The characters are outrageously witty and the pacing is so fast you can't bear to put the book down until you reach the last page - and then you're so disappointed it's all over. Coulter is an absolute master at making her characters so real they become your friends, meant to be visited again and again.

Lyonel Ashton, the Sixth Earl of St. Leven, is the hero. Because his ex- betrothed played him false, Lyonel no longer trusts women. He's given up his dreams of being a "faithful hound" meant for home and hearth with a devoted wife.

But Diana Savarol, daughter of a plantation owner in the West Indies, is so guileless and provoking and different from any other woman Lyonel knows, he can't help but want her. Diana's also the protege for his Aunt Lucia, an outrageous old tartar who delights with her every word and her secret love of novels. Aunt Lucia's fond goal is to find Diana a husband in London, (preferably Lyonel) and therefore Lyonel considers her off limits as far as entertainment goes. But Aunt Lucia has other plans, and enlists Lyonel in teaching Diana how to dance and how to go about in London society, forcing them into constant contact.

The two verbally tweak each other at every turn as the sexual tension between them grows keeping the reader smiling and in deep anticipation of what will happen next, until finally Diana goes too far, evesdropping on a very private conversation between Lyon and his ex-betrothed, learning all the details of his ill-fated engagement. Outraged, Lyon decides on retribution, and tricks Diana into joining him at a private glade - only to turn her over his knee with the intention of thrashing her. Of course, his masculine instincts take over and the lesson is ruined by his feelings for her, and his distraction with her bared bottom. Diana struggles away, confused and hurt, and ends up falling into a stream. Lyon's plot for revenge is thoroughly ruined as Diana becomes ill. He stays by her side until she recovers, then determines to keep his distance, alarmed by the depth of his growing emotions. Diana, through with London and feeling out of place, insists on going home to the West Indies and before all is said and done, Lyon is stuck escorting her.

The plot twists and turns as first they get stranded on a beautiful island, left with nothing but their overwhelming feelings for each other and the privacy to enact them all. The circumstances of their isolation force them to wed once they're finally rescued, and shortly, Diana is reunited with her father on Savarol Island. Enter the villians and the excitement of an evil plot and a twisted killer.

Before we're through, we've experienced every emotion imaginable which only makes the ending all that more satisfying. I savored every word, even though I've read this book at least 5 times. And I still sigh at the intense, explicit love scenes, still LOL with the jokes, and still refuse to blink as the killer gets just a little too close to succeeding with his plans. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give this book an 11. I'd love to hear what others thought.

-- Lori Foster

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Link to reviews of Lori's books and reviews she's written for AAR following our DIK review of Say Yes
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