I have the absolute pleasure of bringing you a new book review today – not just new to my blog, but it’s publication day so it’s hot off the press too!
Set on the edge of Edinburgh, with references to North Berwick and Orkney, through Everyday Magic Charlie Laidlaw brings the Scottish landscape alive. The story centres on Carole and her family in the present day, peppered with memories from her childhood and time spent at university. Carole is an archaeologist, with a clear vision in her field of work to “keep looking”. A point of view that perhaps had fallen to the wayside in her day to day life. With a little magic brought about by modern technology, Carole is taken on a journey over the course of a week to remind herself of who she was, is, and where her particular strengths lie. Moving between different locations, each detailed beautifully and feeling totally authentic, Carole allows herself to be drawn into this adventure of self-realisation.
The novel is well researched (I for one didn’t know the symbolic nature of a Luckenbooth brooch for example) and the characterisation is excellent, with both conversation and actions consistent throughout. I really enjoyed the over-arching theme of archaeology and the idea that if you don’t keep looking you simply won’t find anything. I appreciated too, the manner with which history is presented. Everything has its place within the story, but in sharing general knowledge Laidlaw gives depth to his characters and enjoyment to his audience.
Charlie Laidlaw’s writing style in Everyday Magic is engaging and light in tone. The book is very easy to read, whilst being one that will rest on your mind for days to come as you think through the main story arc. The descriptive prose draws the whole story out from the pages and leaves you feeling as though you have been having a good natter with a close friend over a drink in a café somewhere.
Whilst I think that this book will be appealing to a wide range of readers, in particular I think it might attract the attention of those who find themselves at a metaphorical crossroads in life. With whispers of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Everyday Magic invites us to reflect on our lives – past and present – and look to our future. It lends itself to the view that anything is possible in the future, however long in years our past may have become. I highly recommend this novel.
More about the author:
Charlie Laidlaw is a PR consultant, teaches creative writing, and lives in East Lothian. He is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and was previously a national newspaper journalist and defence intelligence analyst. He has lived in London and Edinburgh, and is married with two children, to whom this book is dedicated. His other novelsare The Things We Learn When We’re Dead, The Space Between Time, Being Alert! and Love Potions and Other Calamities.
Charlie describes his inspiration for writing Everyday Magic below:
The book was largely written during 2020, a time when we all had to reassess the people and places that are important to us. In looking back to find a new tomorrow, I realised that it was the same inspiration that Charles Dickens had also had. My book is therefore a modern retelling of his classic, A Christmas Carol.
For more information about his novels, do look him up on Goodreads!
You can purchase a copy of Everyday Magic on Amazon or check with your local book shop.
N.B. I was gifted an electronic copy of Everyday Magic in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own. For more information please see my disclosure page.