Summary

While not supervising international coverage as executive editor of the American Lawyer, first novelist Barker has been living in another world entirely; her heroine, hapless graduate student Nora Fischer, has passed through a portal to a fantasy world where she enjoys fabulous looks and a fabulous boyfriend. Then the fairy tale turns dark. Juicily promising, like Libba Brays "Gemma Doyle" series for adults.


An imaginative story of a woman caught in an alternate world—where she will need to learn the skills of magic to survive

Nora Fischer’s dissertation is stalled and her boyfriend is about to marry another woman.  During a miserable weekend at a friend’s wedding, Nora wanders off and walks through a portal into a different world where she’s transformed from a drab grad student into a stunning beauty.  Before long, she has a set of glamorous new friends and her romance with gorgeous, masterful Raclin is heating up. It’s almost too good to be true.

Then the elegant veneer shatters. Nora’s new fantasy world turns darker, a fairy tale gone incredibly wrong. Making it here will take skills Nora never learned in graduate school. Her only real ally—and a reluctant one at that—is the magician Aruendiel, a grim, reclusive figure with a biting tongue and a shrouded past. And it will take her becoming Aruendiel’s student—and learning magic herself—to survive. When a passage home finally opens, Nora must weigh her “real life” against the dangerous power of love and magic.

For lovers of Lev Grossman's The Magicians series (The MagiciansandThe Magician King) and Deborah Harkness's All Souls Trilogy (A Discovery of WitchesandShadow of Night).