tudor queens series
Search our site
Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron Read the opening extract of the brand new Sophie Cameron book before its publication on 22/03/2018

The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson

The Secret of Magic

Crime / Mystery   Thriller / Suspense   Historical Fiction   Literary Fiction   Reading Groups   eBook Favourites   
Download an extract Discuss on Facebook Discuss this book on our Crime/Mystery/Thriller Facebook group Share this book

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

This story is amazing as indeed is its lyrical writing. From the Southern American dialect to Mr Willie Willie’s made up words to wonderful descriptions of the country, forest and close-knit community full of secrets, this terrific tale is based on terrible facts. Just post-World War II the black American soldiers returned home to a land that still considered them less than human. This is the story of the ‘murder’ of one such, beaten to death. A year later a New York law firm, the first to investigate civil and human rights, gets a letter asking for help in acquiring justice and it sends a young female lawyer to Mississippi. With many layers, a story within a story, and a particularly powerful plot, this is a beautiful, thought-provoking gem with great depth. A must read.

If you like Deborah Johnson you might also like to read books by Kathryn Stockett, Vanessa LaFaye and Ellen Feldman.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

Win Books from the Manon Bradshaw Thriller Series!

Persons Unknown, the second book in Susie Steiner's crime thriller series, is now out in paperback and to mark the publication we are giving away paperback copies of both Missing, Presumed and Persons Unknown to THREE lucky winners!

To have a chance of winning one of these fantastic prizes, click the button below. Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once.

The draw closes on 30 April 2018. The winners will be notified by 14 May 2018,

Good luck!

Enter prize draw Draw closes: 30/04/2018


The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson

In 1946 Regina Robichard is a rarity. A young New York civil rights lawyer, working for Thurgood Marshall, Reggie stumbles across a letter asking her boss to investigate the case of a young black soldier whose body has been found floating in the river in Mississippi. It fires her zeal. For Reggie, justice is not the only draw to this case. The letter is signed by the reclusive M. P. Calhoun, author of one of the most banned books in the country, a book Reggie loved as a child, about the friendship between three children, black and white, a magical forest - and a murder. Reggie has just three weeks in the South to investigate. But once down in Mississippi, amid the intoxicating landscape of cotton fields and lush plantations, Reggie not only finds herself further away from New York than she had ever imagined, but walking directly into M. P. Calhoun's book, a place where more than one type of justice exists.


'There are a million metaphors I could use to describe Deborah Johnson's writing in The Secret of Magic-but all of them are inadequate in conveying the ebb and flow of her phrasing or the care in crafting her characters.... If you liked The Help, you'll love this one!' * Entertainment Weekly * [An] addictive tale of intrigue. * the Independent * A powerful portrait of the Deep South in the year before the civil rights movement and of a society in which black and white lead lives that are segregated yet deeply intertwined. * Sunday Times * [Johnson's] an astute observer of the social nuances of segregated America and Mississippi itself. * Daily Mail * Breakout Title: Add Deborah Johnson's addictive The Secret of Magic to your bookshelf. * Stylist * Written with such charm that it is a beguiling read...A wonderful and clever read. Four stars. * The Lady *'

About the Author

Deborah Johnson

Deborah Johnson is the author of The Air Between Us, which received the Mississippi Library Association Award for Fiction. She lives in Columbus, Mississippi, and is working on her next novel.

Author photo © Birney Imes

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

12th February 2015


Deborah Johnson

More books by Deborah Johnson
Author 'Like for Like'

Author's Website


Author's Facebook Latest

Loading facebook updates...


Penguin Books Ltd


352 pages


Crime / Mystery
Thriller / Suspense
Historical Fiction
Literary Fiction
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



I love the honest opinions, recommendations for every genre and every reader, wish lists and Like for Like.

Amrita Dasgupta

I love reading books I wouldn't normally choose before everyone else gets to read them!

Dawn Lynch

Lovereading has given me the opportunity to delve into new and exciting worlds of authors who I would never have tried before.

Glynis Elliott

It's information about new books so, for a book lover like me, what's not to like!

Joan Hill

Lovereading is a world of books. It has everything you need from new to old and much loved classic books. It even give you recommendations!

Kate Thurston

Its jam packed with fantastic titles, informative descriptions & fantastic reviews and has a vast array of great features & competitions.

Linda Rollins

I 'Lovereading' because it lets me see what new books are around with a detailed synopsis and readers' reviews.

Judith Sharp

The books for review are always great reads, brilliantly written, and introduces me to a huge variety of, established and new, authors.

Lesley Hart