Friday, 14 September 2012

The Art of Magic

The Art Of Magicby Ann Harth (Solstice Publishing)
RRP PB $9.99, eBook $3.99 (
Smashwords $3.99
All Romance eBooks $3.99
Bookstrand $3.99
Barnes and Noble $3.99
Reviewed by Vicki Stanton

The Art of Magic is an intriguing story of a boy struggling to come to terms with the death of his father from illness. However, while there is a backdrop of grief and longing, the story is never overwhelmed by this. Rather, elements of history, timeslip, and friendship shine through.

Andrew lives in Momentary Point, a coastal town with  heritage that goes back to the earliest times of white settlement in Australia. He is a lonely boy. Following his father's death, Mum works many hours at her supermarket job to make ends meet.  He has withdrawn from his best friend Jack due to a perceived disloyalty; given up his painting; and is constantly threatened by the local bullies.

Andrew finds friendship and guidance assisting a local artist 'Mad' Max in his market stall. Max was once a local teacher who disappeared for thirteen years and has never revealed why. At the stall, he sells paintings, all of the same house though at different times of the year. There is a thread throughout of people asking why he only paints this house and Ann Harth does a good job of building the intrigue around this key aspect of the story.

All the characters are well drawn. Even absent Dad is a fully developed character and Dad's love of history woven through the story is integral to the resolution. Ann Harth pulls in all the threads beautifully for a very satisfying ending.  Andrew is able to help Max find his way back through time and this helps Andrew comes to term with the loss of his father. He is also able to reconnect with his friend Jack and to neutralise the bullies.

Ann Harth is the author of numerous fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults. She is a writing tutor, ghostwriter and manuscript assessor. For more information about Ann, her services and books go to 

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