A woman driven to excel. A man ashamed of his past. A desire that could lead them to bliss…or peril.
Etta Mae Cook, a mountain witch from Appalachia, arrives in London in 1895. Her goal: to study magic. But she steps off the train and into a dangerous world of politics, decadence, and power. Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales, and the Fay Clan are waging a silent war. In the balance: the future of spellcraft in the kingdom. Etta’s lineage and magical power make her an asset - or a threat - to all three formidable forces.
Her choices skew when she meets Malcolm Seward, a mage of the Fay Clan. He once held a prominent role in society, but a tragic mistake forced him to flee into obscurity. His attraction to Etta draws him back into the fray, but though she’s drawn to him in return, she didn’t come to England for desire.
Despite her intentions, their passion flares, and Malcolm falls for her. Now, Etta must choose: love, or ambition? Either path could mean the renewal -- or the destruction -- of British sorcery. If she follows her heart, will she doom their magic?
***Quarter-Finalist, 2017 Publisher's Weekly Booklife Prize, Romance category***
Praise for Essential Magic:
"McKinnon writes clear and often beautiful prose, utilizing apt analogies to give liveliness to the text. An American girl with native blood who lands in London society makes a good frame for this romance novel." - Publisher's Weekly Booklife Prize Critic's Report
“Vivid backdrop…thorough research...very hot.” - Avonna from The Romance Reviews
“Engrossing and dramatic…. Tantalizing details.” -J.L. Gribble, author of Steel Victory
“The writing is just lovely…. Characters you care about!” -Maria V. Snyder, author of Poison Study
“The romance is sweet and hot.” – Amazon reviewer
“Cara McKinnon does a masterful job of transporting her readers to magical 19th century Scotland. Her detailed descriptions of historically accurate attire and etiquette helped to fully immerse me in a story that I was unwilling to put down until the very end. Engaging characters, powerful emotions; all with a unique and captivating method used to describe the casting of spells.” -Christina Robbins, author of Seeking Solace
The nimble first romance of McKinnon's Fay of the Sky series blends magic and passion in Victorian England. Etta Mae Cook travels to London from Appalachia to learn magic from her far-flung family at her mother's deathbed request. Upon arrival, she meets her distant cousin Malcolm Steward, a powerful mage who has given up magic after a tragic accident in his youth. Malcolm is instantly attracted to Etta Mae, but his father has informed him that if he does not find a wife from within respectable London society before the season is out he will lose his allowance. Meanwhile, Queen Victoria feels threatened by the magic of London's elite, who have used their powers to shore up their positions in society, and hopes to destabilize their power using Etta Mae as a pawn in her political game. The worldbuilding occasionally grows murky as readers are thrown into the magical conflict without a full explanation of the backstory, but Malcolm and Etta Mae's forbidden love for one another will be enough to keep the pages turning. This light, enjoyable romance will leave readers excited for the next in the series. (Self-published)