The Non-Refundable Type of Gifts (A Gift of Magic – A Book Review)

A Gift of Magic
Author: Lois Duncan
Published: 1999

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt Half bolt

Rated T for three kids inheriting shit from grandma they shouldn’t have.


Nancy can do things no one else can…

When grandma was dying she told Elizabeth that she had three gifts for her grandchildren. Now, after a divorce, Elizabeth and her children come back to her hometown to her grandmother’s house. While she’s struggling to find a sense of normalcy, her three kids are fully coming into the three gifts promised to them. One of them, specifically given to Nancy, is special and will turn her life upside down. It’s the gift of magic.


Lois Duncan always delivers. A master and classic writer of not only suspense that doesn’t put me to sleep but also supernatural and/or slasher-y. She really keeps my attention and her writing is engaging. This one is no different.

Norse Mythology

There is a lot going on! Maybe too much. From dealing with the effects of Nancy dealing with her family splitting up, there’s also the pressures of childhood and the unique, scary, and supernatural themes that become obsessive. The book was good but there was too much happening to keep track of it all compared to the other Duncan books I’ve read. The focus was…well, there wasn’t much focus on anything. Each individual struggle seemed so separate, though it’s understood that the theme is the discovery of independence. But, trying to keep track of each character didn’t go well for me.

The setting was meant to be. Being in a beach town even though it seemed gray was beautiful. It just gave me some throwback time. Very nice and nostalgic and longing and perfect for the story itself, like (and I know this is cheesy) the place was made for it.



A bit all over, but a good story nonetheless. Duncan really went into the complication and construction of family and not just in the touchy-feely part but in the ways family works (if that makes sense). I also always appreciate that she makes her books quick reads. On the shelf you go!



“…You must learn if you accept it. A gift is nothing unless it’s used…” (grandma to Nancy, p. 135)


More to come soon…                                                                                                



P.S. Song today? Tomorrow Never Knows by Our Lady Peace.


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