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Damsel Under Stress    by Shanna Swendson order for
Damsel Under Stress
by Shanna Swendson
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2007 (2007)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Damsel Under Stress, a sequel to Shanna Swendson's Once Upon Stilettos and Enchanted, Inc., is another light and frothy read, full of magical misadventures, evolving romance, and rather inept - but potentially dangerous to all mankind - villains.

The series stars Katie Chandler, an 'ordinary small-town girl from Texas', whose immunity to magic has secured her position as personal assistant to Merlin, head of Magic, Spells, and Illusion Inc., the 'big guns in the magical world'. In the previous episode, Katie was finally kissed by her Prince Charming, super powerful - and super handsome, rich and even incredibly nice - wizard Owen Palmer. They begin to date this time around, but each encounter is fraught with disasters of different kinds - are they really meant to be together?

Every once in a while the villains pop out of the woodwork - and it appears that attention deficit rogue wizard Idris has the hots for evil Ari (who escapes custody to wreak more havoc as the story begins). To complicate Katie's life further, she discovers she has a fairy godmother (in fact, the fairy godmother who sorted out Cinderella's life), but the rather old-fashioned Ethelinda seems to hinder more than help the evolution of Katie and Owen's romance. And Katie tries to help Philip (who did a stint as a frog) regain his lucrative family business.

There are magical crises and attacks, Katie meets Owen's aloof adoptive parents, they both meet a dragon, and their magical involvement is outed to Katie's suspicious room-mates. All in all, Damsel Under Stress is great fun, an amusing romp of a romantic read that ends with a surprising, suspenseful twist.

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