The Secret of Magic (Paperback)

By Deborah Johnson

Berkley Books, 9780425272787, 416pp.

Publication Date: January 6, 2015

List Price: 16.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

"If you liked The Help, you'll love this one "

In a novel that "brings authentic history to light,"* a young female attorney from New York City attempts the impossible in 1946: attaining justice for a black man in the Deep South.

Regina Robichard works for Thurgood Marshall, who receives an unusual letter asking the NAACP to investigate the murder of a returning black war hero. It is signed by M. P. Calhoun, the most reclusive author in the country.

As a child, Regina was captivated by Calhoun's The Secret of Magic, a novel in which white and black children played together in a magical forest. The book was a sensation, featured on the cover of Time magazine, and banned more than any other book in the South. And then M.P. Calhoun disappeared.

With Thurgood's permission, Regina heads down to Mississippi to find Calhoun and investigate the case. But as she navigates the muddy waters of racism, relationships, and her own tragic past, she finds that nothing in the South is as it seems.

Named one of four titles on the shortlist for this year's Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, awarded by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation


*Augusta Trobaugh.

About the Author

Deborah Johnson is the author of The Secret of Magic and The Air Between Us, which received the Mississippi Library Association Award for Fiction.

Conversation Starters from

  1. Why did Thurgood Marshall first hire Regina as a lawyer at the Legal Defense Fund? What does this say about his attitude toward equal rights in general and toward women in particular?generic viagra price canada
  2. What were Joe Howard Wilson’s feelings toward the Calhoun family? What were his feelings toward his father, Willie Willie?generic viagra price canada
  3. At one point, Mary Pickett mentions rumors of a romance between Willie Willie and Peach. Why did they remain friends but never marry after Luther was “disappeared”?generic viagra price canada
  4. Regina pays a lot of attention to her clothes. Why does the author include this?What did you make of Mary Pickett’s changing her sweater once she sees Regina wearing the same one?generic viagra price canada
  5. Do you think Mary Pickett truly didn’t notice that the teacup she gave Regina was chipped? Was it an honest mistake, or was she making a point?generic viagra price canada
  6. Regina comes to feel that in many ways the South in 1946 is more integrated than the North. In what ways does she feel this? Do you agree with her?generic viagra price canada
  7. Is Tom Raspberry an Uncle Tom, or is he a man who has realistically made his way forward in a world where the cards are stacked against him?generic viagra price canada
  8. Why did Wynne Blodgett kill Joe Howard Wilson, and why did he think he could get away with it? Could this kind of thing still happen today?generic viagra price canada
  9. Who “owned” the stories in M. P. Calhoun’s book The Secret of Magic? Was it Mary Pickett herself, or Willie Willie? Did Mary Pickett feel morally correct in publishing The Secret of Magic, or was she always at least a little ambivalent about what she had done? Why was she finally able to restart her writing career?generic viagra price canada
  10. How is Mary Pickett Calhoun the stereotypical ideal of a southern white woman? How is she different from that? Can you draw comparisons to other figures in literature, such as Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird and Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind?generic viagra price canada
  11. Who was the most courageous character in the book for you, and why? How do you measure courage?generic viagra price canada