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'The Riftwar Saga'
by Raymond E Feist (1982)


In the popular 'Riftwar Saga', an apprentice magician who has enough appeal to win the heart of a princess gets all caught up in the eternally eternal struggle between Order and Chaos. There is nothing too complicated here from Feist, but simplicity is often a good thing. The first volume, 'Magician', has also been published as a two-part paperback.





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'Avalon'
by Marion Zimmer Bradley (1983)


The Arthurian legend told through the eyes of the women in the mythical king's life. The manipulative Morgaine, Arthur's half-sister and a high priestess of the old religion, is pitted against Queen Gwenhwyfar, who is torn between duty and her love for Lancelot. Wonderful retelling with a truly feminine outlook. Filmed as an eye-catching TV miniseries.





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Winter's Tale
by Mark Helprin (1983)


Romantic fantasy set in an imagined New York City of the 20th century. While robbing a mansion master thief Peter Lake meets and falls in love with a fatally ill woman. With the help of his magical horse he is driven to "stop time and bring back the dead". The novel's title is taken from Shakespearean play in which the major character disappears for an inordinately lengthy period of time.





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'The Outlander Series'
by Diana Gabaldon (1992)


The first book in this series is a steamy romance with a fantastical time-travelling twist. While on her second honeymoon Claire Randall touches a magic stone and is sent back in time to 16th century Scotland. She gets dangerously entangled with a hunky 16th century Scottish highlander, which poses no end of ethical dilemmas. Pacey bestseller with a legion of female fans.





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'The Sevenwaters Trilogy'
by Juliet Marillier (1999)


Superb historical fantasy based on an ancient Celtic myth. Although the series' main attraction to most will be its romantic elements, there are fascinating insights into the plight of paganism in the face of the rise of Christianity. The series follows four generations of the Sevenwaters family and their unique connection to the people of the Otherworld.





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'The Wolves of Mercy Falls'
by Maggie Stiefvater (2009)


Author who states she is incapable of holding down a steady job hits the right young adult romantic formula in this popular trilogy. The primary characters are Grace Brisbane and Sam Roth - a werewolf. Sam's biggest problem is that he's a wolf in winter, but in summer has only a few precious months of being human until the cold makes him shift back again. Written from various viewpoints.





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'Daughter of Smoke and Bone'
by Laini Taylor (2011)


In the first volume of a planned trilogy Karou, a young art student living in Prague, has been raised by creatures known as 'chimaera'. Her errands include collecting teeth for her foster father for some unknown purpose. Concurrently, winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky go around scorching handprints on doors around the world. Then comes the romance.





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The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern (2011)


Erin Morgenstern describes all her work as "...fairy tales in one way or another." In 1886, a mysterious travelling circus becomes an international sensation. Open only at night, constructed entirely in black and white, Le Cirque des Rêves delights all who wander its circular paths and warm themselves at its bonfire. At the heart of the story is the tangled relationship between two young magicians.


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