Diana Wynne Jones

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Julia Eccleshare

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 136

[Charmed Life offers a light but] satisfying picture of a world where magic prevails. It is a brilliantly funny story which, with its seemingly Edwardian setting, is deceptively straightforward until the frightful Gwendolen's wild misuse of her magical powers reveals all the characters to be part of a formidable hierarchy, stretching from the dreaded Enchanters at the top of the scale to the mere witches and warlocks, who, for everyday purposes, are disguised as housekeepers, butlers or small-time charmers. With such a cast the magic and trickery are nonstop, but all is perfectly controlled, and while laughing at the everyday, small-scale, joke-shop display of supernatural powers, one is gradually drawn towards a more serious moral skirmish.

Julia Eccleshare, "As If by Magic," in New Statesman (© 1977 The Statesman & Nation Publishing Co. Ltd.), Vol. 93, No. 2409, May 20, 1977, p. 686.∗

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