I was lucky enough to read M. J. Putney's first book Dark Mirror last March and enjoyed it's unique blend of historical fiction with magic that when I was approached about reading the second book in the Dark Magic series I jumped at the chance. I really like historical fiction and cannot seem to find enough of it. I also really liked the characters and the budding romance between Tory and Allarde and was hoping to see it blossom.
The Irregulars return home to 1803 England safely, but their worldview has changed. Not only have their heroic efforts at Dunkirk given them pride and confidence but their dangerous mission has increased their magical powers.
Tory delights in the ever deepening bond she shares with Allarde until she discovers how powerfully he is connected to his ancient family estate—the lands he will not inherit unless he denies his magical powers and chooses a nonmagical mate. If Tory really loves him, she must walk away—but does she have the strength to leave the love of her life?
Cynthia’s heroic efforts at Dunkirk have won her the respect of the Irregulars, but her sharp tongue keeps everyone at a distance. Isolated and very alone at Lackland Abbey over the Christmas holidays, she reluctantly agrees to join Jack Rainford and his family for their celebration even though they’re commoners, far below her own noble rank. The warm welcome of the Rainfords makes her feel happier and more accepted than she has ever been. But she can’t possibly be falling in love with flirtatious Jack! Can she?
Then the Irregulars are drawn into a dangerous attempt to rescue a vitally important French scientist from Nazi-occupied France. Tory and Allarde must work together because countless lives are at stake. Disaster strikes and not only is their mission threatened, but their very lives. Can magic and their loyalty to each other help them survive to return home? (Publisher's summary from Goodreads)
I was not disappointed at all with Dark Passage. The book picks up shortly after book one. Starting off with the irregulars in 1940 France trying to help one of Jack's future relatives. When Tory, Allarde, Jack, and Cynthia return to 1803 via Merlin's Mirror, the school is shutting down for Christmas and Tory's sister invites her to her wedding leaving Cynthia alone. Things between Allarde and Tory start to heat up since Allarde is also home for Christmas, but their relationship is strained when Tory realizes that Allarde's connection to his land is so powerful and his love for her will ruin his chances to inherit.
I really liked that M.J. focused a lot of the book around Cynthia, who is a hard character to like. She is snotty and entitled, but after being left alone over the holidays is invited to share her time with Jack and his family. We find out a lot more about the reason Cynthia is the way she is and Jack is such a great character, who obviously sees past Cynthia's personality and begins to bring out the best in her.
The new mission they take on was quite exciting. Going back to 1940 in order to rescue a scientist from a German strong hold in France, puts everyone in danger. The feelings between Tory and Allarde once again flair when danger and the possibility of loss prove stronger than all of Tory's good intentions. The combination of their magic with Cynthia and Jack's weather magic, plus Jack's cousin's ability to locate people and Elspeth's healing magic worked in sync once again proving that the Irregulars make a powerful team of mages.
Even though Putney takes a lot of liberty with the historical aspects of this book, I really think the magic, time travel, and history sets this book apart. The characters definitely come to life. If you like paranormal mixed with romance, or historical fiction then this one will appeal to you too. I will also be anxious to read the third book to see where M. J. takes the Irregulars next time and whether Tory and Allarde, and Cynthia and Jack can overcome the major roadblocks in their relationships.
Source: Received book from publisher/author for review