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The Wizard's Daughter

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  924 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews

With her silver-gilt curls and sea-green eyes, Marianne Ransom was a striking beauty, a spirited orphan surviving the backstreets of Victorian London. But there was something more that set her apart ... She possessed the gift of second sight, a power that initially awakened in her when a twist of fate brought her to the opulent home of a wea
Paperback, 325 pages
Published March 1st 1995 by Berkley (first published 1980)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,496)
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Apr 04, 2011 Emily rated it liked it
I generally like for fictional heroines to be more intelligent and spirited than the naive and insipid Miss Marianne Ransom. Fortunately, the mysterious and ghostly plot of this book was enough to keep me from tossing it across the room. While I wouldn't go so far as to pronounce her Too Stupid To Live, Miss Ransom put herself in quite a lot of daft situations, such as wandering on the stage of a London theater one day after arriving from the country and bursting into song, fantasizing that she ...more
May 16, 2015 Eppie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The book couldn't seem to decide if it was a satirical comedy or gothic thriller, and kind of fell flat on both counts. It takes a long time to get to the gist of the plot, which really fails to live up to its potential.

It starts out as something of a comedy of manners when a well-bred young woman goes off to London and decides to join the theatre. She seems to have some strange power over men that she is aware of but not aware of...never made clear what was going on there but given the title i
Kat Lebo
Aug 11, 2016 Kat Lebo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Wizard's Daughter
by Barbara Michaels

And my late summer Peters/Michaels binge continues! The Wizard's Daughter is a classical gothic. It is set in Victorian times, in England, complete with old Castle like estate replete with secret passages and lots of intrigue. The main character, a naive young woman named Marianne Ransom, has lived a charmed life until her 18th year. Her mother passed away when she was much younger, but her father, Squire Ransom, who was much too busy drinking, gambling an
Sep 23, 2012 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic
Barbara Michaels wrote Gothic Romance/ Mystery novels starting in the late 1960's all the way up until the late 1980's. The genre was at it's peak during the 1970's when Ms. Michaels wrote many tales of mystery, suspense, and the supernatural. However, the genre began to falter in popularity during the 1980's. Barbara Michaels and Victoria Holt, two to the authors that defined the genre the best were the only ones able to write Gothic Romance with any real sucess during that time. In fact , Vict ...more
This book was just okay. Not one of the best I've ever read, but okay.

It has an interesting mystery, with the traditional foils of a remote English [well, actually, in this case it's in Scotland - but the principals are all English!] castle, apparent ghostly hauntings, a mischievous child, several potential villains, several potential heros, and a beautiful young female orphan, around whom many of the mysterious happenings seem to revolve and for whom the hero applicants are vying.

The story is a
Sep 02, 2013 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters is my favorite author, and in her memory, I picked this up from the library book sale.
This book is entertaining, but lacks the haunting feel of her usual Gothic romance. The Wizard's Daughter implies it would have something to do with the supernatural, and Gothic romances typically have a spooky element that this one does not. Having said that, I absolutely adored the main character's joy for life, even in her tragic circumstances. I appreciate her desire to do
Not sure if this book was trying for sarky or straight.

Marianne Ransom is a complete cliché, orphan, innocent abroad who falls into a job that means that she's put in danger, with a wealthy roue looking for her "virtue" she ends up with a Duchess who believes that she has occult powers and that she can help her find her lost love, believed dead.

Shenanigans ensue.

Entertaining but sometimes it felt like too much.
Dec 13, 2014 Jean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another good read by Barbara Michaels, this one a period piece. Set in the Victorian era, this explores the lure of spiritualism and social relations during that time period. Add in a scoop of mystery and the supernatural and you have a fun book.
This was a different type of book for me. I'd call it historical / paranormal / fiction. The main character, Marianne Ranson, is a very naive, young woman who's father dies suddenly, leaving her with nothing. Almost everything from her house was confiscated to pay off these debts, leaving her with pretty much just the clothes on her back and a coat. Her aunt, I believe her deceased mom's sister, takes her in, but only long enough until she finds a boarding house for her. The boarding house is in ...more
Nice and fun. Rather in the style of a good ol' fashioned Gothic.
Jun 19, 2011 Leslie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books-read
Not one of Michaels' best, but an entertaining light read, and a very gentle parody of gothic conventions. Marianne finds herself destitute after her wastrel father's death, but is taken up by an ailing duchess, who believes that she is really the daughter of a famous psychic and has inherited his powers. A crumbling Scottish castle packed with eccentric characters, an evil nobleman bent on divesting our naive heroine of her virtue, and a dashing lawyer to save her from a fate worse than death c ...more
Ellie R.
A fun, light read.
Marian Allen
The usual cast of characters: plucky heroine, various dreamboats who turn out to have feet of clay at best, rude man who turns out to be The Good Guy. I fall into a Barbara Michaels book like climbing into a warm bath. No nasty surprises, all good stuff.

I scored a sackful of Barbara Michaels romance/mysteries at the library book sale, and I'm a very happy person. :)
Lisa Greer
May 16, 2008 Lisa Greer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic-mystery
I know from beginning this one that I definitely have not read it yet. So far, it's quite interesting in painting Victorian era France.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one. With its focus on religion, the occult and the usual romantic encounters and mysteries, it is vintage Michaels. This one is in my top three.
Jan 21, 2008 Genie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good old fashioned Gothic mystery/ghost story with a hint of the romantic. This 19th century period piece is similar to the Amanda Peabody series written by the same author using the Elizabeth Peters pen name. A quick, enjoyable read which is on its way to a member of Bookcrossing in Europe.
Sep 24, 2016 H.S. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It had been a while since I read what I consider a Gothic novel. It was a nice treat, but boy, had trouble with the small print. Going to have to wait on the others until I get new glasses. ;)
Feb 25, 2011 Rai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I've really liked this book for a while. Upon reread, I still really like it... but it's not a very deep book, nor does it have a particular abundance of action. However, for a nice, fluffy read it's pleasant. Also satisfying because it cost me $.50 at a used book store...
Kind of a disappointment. I listened to the audiobook, which was well done, and expected a "gothic" but the resolution was a let-down. When it first came out, I'd probably have loved it. My tastes have obviously changed since then to prefer faster-paced storytelling.
Jun 01, 2016 Nita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Typical Barbara Michaels read. Even not at her best, it is still entertaining and suspenseful even if the protagonist is rather a limp dishtowel at times (many times).
I'm cheating, I haven't actually started reading this yet but I like having currently-reads better than to-reads.

Update: I can't. I don't want to read about an aspiring singer no matter how long or short that lasts.
Feb 20, 2008 Marco rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This one was odd. I only finished it because I hate not finishing a book, but it took me 3 months off-and-on to read it. It drags on at times and is confusing. Not recommended.
Jul 13, 2012 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the writing of Barbara Michael's a lot. And, I enjoyed this book but it didn't have the same level of intrique as some of her other work.
Jun 27, 2012 Marcy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got really caught up in what was going to happen next in this story. You'll be clueless until the very end much like the main character Marianne.
Dec 22, 2009 debra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Pretty good read. Kept me guessing til the end if Marianne's father was dead and if the psychic phenomena was actually happening or not.
Apr 01, 2015 Farshana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nool-lib
It is a very easy kind of book something u can read without any thots, not very engaging even with the mystery of a ghost.
Apr 09, 2009 Kel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this while stuck at the "airport" in Kandahar, Afghanistan. I like many of Barbara Michael's works. This one was ok.
Donna I.
I liked it, but it was very light and predictable. The heroin is likable, but too naive and perfect
Sep 08, 2008 Kelly marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, it reminds me of her early historical romance. Very funny, and a great read.
Mar 03, 2010 Christina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, romance
Part mystery and part romance novel. Overall, I enjoyed it and didn't expect the twist at the end.
Aug 13, 2008 Nicole rated it it was ok
Fraught with cliches in the beginning, then began to get interesting, then it was over in a flash.
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Barbara Michaels was a pen name of Barbara Mertz. She also wrote as Elizabeth Peters, as well as under her own name.

She was born in Canton, Illinois and has written over fifty books including some in Egyptology. Dr. Mertz also holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Egyptology.
More about Barbara Michaels...

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