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Midnight Magic    by Rebecca York, Susan Kearney & Jeanie London order for
Midnight Magic
by Rebecca York
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2006 (2006)
*   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

The Second Chance Gallery is a small cinder block building that stands by itself and has among its collection of art objects a mysterious painting named Midnight Magic. Legend says a sorcerer painted it, and that once it was complete, he stepped into the painting and was never seen or heard from again. Mr. Garrison is tasked to choose those few who are worthy of using the painting as a gateway to change their present, past and maybe even their future.

In Rebecca York's Second Chances, antique dealer Sara Drimmon is still heartbroken over the loss of her fiancée. If she'd been a few minutes earlier in arriving at the construction site, Matt might have survived the explosion and fire. Now Sara takes a chance and steps back in time to the day she first met Matt. Can she save him this time? Or will his killers get away with murder all over again?

Susan Kearney's Ulterior Motives follows the trials and tribulations of singer Merline Sullivan after she loses her voice. With the press hounding her, she ducks into the Second Chance Gallery. New owner Sara keeps the press at bay, and once she learns of Merline's plight, offers her a chance to change her life. She's transported 300 years into the future where advanced medical technology restores her voice - a rare gift that others want to use for their own agendas.

And finally step back in time, in Jeanie London's Temptation, to 1713 Maryland and the life of Nina de Lacy who, with a single touch from another, can see that person's death. She and her guardian, Gray Talbot, fled to the Colonies to avoid charges of witchcraft. When Gray arranges for Nina to sit for portrait painter, Master Verbrugges, the artist discloses the secret of Midnight Magic. Now Nina must make a difficult choice between two men immune to her curse - which one will she choose? Her stoic and steadfast friend Gray Talbot? Or the mysterious Damian Hart?

Though the authors have chosen an interesting concept to tie together this anthology, Midnight Magic doesn't break any new ground. York's story and characters are predictable while Kearney's borders on silly as her character croons to furry critters as a stimulus to produce an aphrodisiac. London's nicely written tale fares better though, offering fine characterizations, a poignant story and an ending with a distinct twist.

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