When Kelly Florentia’s first novel, The Magic Touch, was first published in 2016, I really liked the look of it and so wanted to read and review. But life conspired yet again, and I didn’t get round to trying Kelly’s writing until the following year, when I read (and loved) No Way Back – you’ll find my review here. So when Kelly told me that The Magic Touch had been revised and updated, and was being relaunched on 7th February (available as an e-book and in paperback)… well, I just couldn’t resist. Many thanks to Kelly and publishers Accent Press for my advance reading e-copy.
Would you read your partner’s texts? What if you thought he was having an affair?
Once bitten, twice shy, Emma King is in no rush to join Harry’s bustling, big, fat Greek Cypriot family and become Mrs Georgiades. So it comes as no big surprise when, after plenty of Dutch courage, his proposal of marriage at a family gathering is met with rejection.
Emma doesn’t think they need a piece of paper to prove how much they love each other. They’re solid – unbreakable. After all, Harry’s a loving and loyal partner whom she trusts implicitly. But when she accidentally stumbles across a flirtatious text message on Harry’s mobile phone from a female colleague alarm bells start going off in her head.
Overcome with suspicion and an impending fear of losing the love of her life, Emma goes on a mission to get to the bottom of his secret affair with the help of her best friend Ola, her ninety-three-year-old neighbour Alistair, and Harry’s sister-in-law’s app, The Magic Touch. Because no one is going to snatch Harry from her – no one!
This was such a very enjoyable read – knowing it was the author’s first novel, I was rather expecting a relatively straightforward romantic comedy, and was delighted to find that there was a great deal more to it than that. Emma has a few issues in her background, making it difficult to place her full trust in the lovely Harry – and when she finds a text on his phone that seems to confirm her worst fears, everything in her life starts to collapse around her. Some of the decisions she makes are distinctly suspect, and you can see the inevitable car crash approaching – and then the story takes a bit of a twist, and then another, and things go in a quite different direction.
There’s a considerable warmth to this book – the couple who love each other but have slightly lost their way, Harry’s extended and chaotic Greek Cypriot family (I particularly liked the mother!), the supportive friendships of both Ola and 93-year-old neighbour Alistair (what a wonderful character). And I really liked the book’s contemporary edge with Emma’s all too familiar obsession with her phone screen, Facebook and Twitter. The psychic app is an inspired idea – it leads to some of the book’s most laugh-out-loud moments when things take a rather surreal and unexpected turn, but it was a direction I thoroughly enjoyed. And as for the ending… just perfect!
The writing is excellent, the characters so well-developed, and the author has a really perfect touch with dialogue. At times, the book is extremely funny, but then there are those perfectly judged moments of poignancy that have you laughing one moment, teary the next. At times too, the tension is very cleverly wound up – real threat, real danger – giving it the distinct chill of a thriller. I’ll admit that this book wasn’t really what I expected, but only because it was so much better – it’s fun, with a real lightness in the story’s telling and a lovely touch of magic, but I equally liked its depths and the real substance behind its characters. Highly recommended by me.
About the author
Kelly has always enjoyed writing and was a bit of a poet when she was younger. Before penning her debut The Magic Touch, relaunched and updated in 2019, she wrote short stories for women’s magazines. To Tell a Tale or Two… is a collection of her short tales. In January 2017, her keen interest in health and fitness led to the release of Smooth Operator – a collection of twenty of her favourite smoothie recipes.
As well as writing, Kelly enjoys reading, running, drinking coffee, scoffing cakes, watching TV dramas and spending way too much time on social media. She is currently working on her fourth novel.