DiscoverMagical Realism

A Midnight Clear


Not for me 😔

This tale was cozy with the special feeling of Christmas in a small town, but had too many conflicts

A Midnight Clear is a charming tale about Christmas in a small town full of magic. Cally deals with fairies, ghosts, true love, dead bodies, and Christmas wishes. I want nothing more during the holidays than to discover a new book that captures that special magic feeling that only comes once a year, and Kim Beall's delivered. The bed and breakfast setting was perfect for this goal, as well as the small town "found family." Cally, the protagonist, is a bestselling author and runs a bed and breakfast. At the start of this installment she is in love with Ben, but his faerie blood and responsibilities make their relationship difficult. She's also expecting her ex-husband for Christmas with her kids, planning a Christmas party with her staff, and helping ghosts, faeries, friends, and family-she can hardly keep up with herself.

Kim Beall is a talented writer. Her setting and characters were clearly described and conceptualized, which is vital in a small town tale, and she created a polished feeling by staying true to the voice and attitude of her narrator. But I found this tale of magical realism to have a bit too much "magic" and too little "realism" for my taste. I also found the synopsis misleading or at least lacking, as it gave me the impression that this would be a mystery. It took some time for me to settle in and understand the tone and goals of the book.

The book had too many elements at the focus, which made the main conflict confusing. Having finished it, I'm still unsure there was a storyline that could be considered the "main" conflict. There were a couple choices that could have worked well but needed higher stakes and more time devoted to them. I thought what was included was appropriately developed and the timeline and flow of the book were perfect, but time spent on ghosts and IM friends would have certainly been better devoted to a more interesting ordeal with the body found in the pond or Ben and Cally's fight to be together.

I probably wouldn't recommend this as a standalone for Christmas or to magic realism fans, but I would recommend the series to fantasy lovers.

Reviewed by

I fell in love with reading when I was eight years old, and after that it was hard to get my nose out of a book. I review a variety of genres, but gravitate most towards historical fiction. Nothing beats the excitement of a new adventure, and I love connecting others with theirs!

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About the author

Kim Beall lives and writes in a small NC town that may remind you of Woodley, USA. She has never yet met a ghost in person, though her cats do frequently manage to walk through closed doors. She sincerely believes every adult still yearns, not so deep inside, to find real magic in everyday life. view profile

Published on November 16, 2020

50000 words

Genre: Magical Realism

Reviewed by