More Than Magic was a great introduction to the ‘Books of the Kindling’ series by debut author Donna June Cooper.
We head to Woodruff Mountain as the setting and are introduced to Nick McKenzie/Crowe an undercover DEA agent who never fails to solve a case and this time he is on the trail of a drug that’s sweeping through the streets of Atlanta known as ‘smoky mountain magic’. He knows he will find answers at Woodruff, he has a feeling in his bones, but he also feels it will be the death of him. So, posing as a writer he sets off to find those answers. However, sparks fly and a connection is made when he gets there and meets the owner, red headed Botanist & doctor - Grace Woodruff – but she is the suspect in his case and he must remain impartial. Grace is on a hiatus following a couple of life changing events and has not only put her dreams on hold but has also had to halt the production of Woodruff produce because something is not right on this mountain, not only are the tests on their produce coming back tainted but she has been having dreams, warning her of the poison spreading through the mountain and one of the last things her Grandfather said to her was that very warning, but she just can’t figure out what’s wrong. As suspicion on Grace lifts, they will both come together to solve the mystery of what’s killing the land & just who is behind the production of Smoky Mountain Magic but they’re both keeping secrets from each other that will take a leap of faith to believe.
I was very impressed with this book and it really got my curiosity going. Grace was a good character and I liked everything about her, I liked who she was and what she did, I liked her outlook on life and I especially liked her gift. Same with Nick, I appreciated what he was about, a good moral person whose fight against the drug world wasn’t only about his job. He was an admirable person, driven to make things right and I liked that he had a little something, something going on too. I really liked the romance between them, they both seemed to be in an unhappy place that soon changed & I thought that they brought the best out in each other & complimented each-others character giving you a couple that you could really route for to achieve a happy ever after. I also loved Jamie’s character, I love when young kids are shown to be the best they can be, have ambition and are encouraged appropriately, Grace was an excellent mentor/babysitter for Jamie and I loved her nurturing approach and teaching attitude that spurred Jamie on even more.
Now, I absolutely loved the setting, everything about it. I love how they lived, the environmental issues, the botany, the medicinal research, all of it was so interesting and I was really impressed with the authors descriptions & details about the botany & processes involved in testing the mountains produce, it sounds like she knew a lot about it or has done a great amount of research making it more realistic. I like how the threat was a real world issue and is shown to not only affect people but also showed how it affected the environment too & I thought it was great, the way the magic was telling her that the mountain was being poisoned. I loved everything about the mountain & it’s power, very magical in a mother nature way, in fact it’s like Grace was the mother nature for Woodruff mountain and it had rewarded her with magical gifts in which to protect it and people who she thought deserving. I also loved Graces ancestry, how it all ties to the mountain and goes even beyond Native Americans, it’s always fascinated me how the land & people can be so in tune and to be able to live in harmony, which lets face, we are not doing so maybe it’s time we tried & I really want to know more about Nicks connection to the mountain, what is hiding in his ancestry too? There is a lot about the mountain still not known, it has a mind of its own and seems to use the people in tune with it as its vessels.
I would say that the first 50% of the book was about building the relationships, getting to know the mountain & sneaky peaks at the magic & threat involved but that soon changes into a more dangerous feel as the secrets of the people & the mountain begin to unravel leading to a rather action packed showdown. I don’t think it was hard to gather who the culprits were but it wasn’t all cut and dried as we a thrown a few surprises and I know most of it had my heart pounding right up until the very end. So, this book has mystery, intrigue, action, magic, a nice dose of romance & definitely left me with food for thought, a happy feeling in my heart and an urge to go and find this mountain and remain there for the rest of my days.