Magic In His Kiss
by Anabelle Bryant
Vauxhall Voices - Book 2
Publisher: Oliver Heber Books
Release Date: June 13, 2023
Reviewed by PJ
Vauxhall Gardens may be London’s ideal attraction with its diverse population, unusual entertainment and illicit pleasure walks, but for Sofia Gallo, it’s also a safe haven.
Leaving Italy with her brothers, she escaped the threat of scandal and the longer she performs as a tumbler, the more Vauxhall feels like home. Especially when she meets Noah Wright, a handsome bachelor seeking work as a magician. Yet predicting the future is far from a magician’s illusion and when Sofia’s past collides with her present, she discovers forbidden love is more dangerous than she ever dared to imagine.
I'm really enjoying the "backstage" look at the lives and loves of Vauxhall performers presented in this series, as well as the pleasures and perils to be found there. Bryant has assembled an intriguing cast of characters that keep things lively along an often rocky road to romance.
Sofia Gallo is an Italian acrobat who was hustled off to London by her overprotective brothers in the wake of a scandal after being duped by a man she loved, and she thought loved her. It's been five years and she's ready to take another chance on romance but only with an honest man. She's had it with men who lie to her. She's also ready to leave the siblings' act and pursue her real passion: fashion. But that's something only she knows. Sofia is so easy to cheer for. I loved her enthusiasm for fashion and her determination to fulfill her dream but also her love for and loyalty to her brothers. It created relatable emotional conflict within her character that was fun to watch play out. I also enjoyed watching her take charge of the romantic side of her life. This was a woman who had been deceived by her innocence and was now at an age where she knew what she wanted and had the self-confidence to go after it. And what she wanted was Noah.
Noah is a man with secrets. Pretending to be a somewhat adequate magician looking for work at Vauxhall, he's actually the heir to an earldom bent on revenge for his sister's death. He's handsome, charming, noble, and hiding his real identity from the woman he's slowly falling for. I enjoyed watching Noah's evolution over the course of this story. I'm not big on secrets but I did understand his reasons and appreciated the fact that he came clean with Sofia when he did. And I loved him for the choices he made when it became clear he would have to either step out of her life or fight for their love.
Magic In His Kiss is an enjoyable cross-class romance with steamy chemistry, surprise twists, and a bit of suspense. The characters are intriguing, their situations relatable, and their happily ever after satisfyingly hard won. While this is the second book of a series, and some characters appear in both books, this one stands well on its own. Readers could definitely begin with Magic In His Kiss and not miss a beat. However, I also recommend book one, Love on the Line (read my review here).