You need not be a druid to feel a sense of magic on Midsummer, the shortest night of the year. As far as we can tell, ancient civilizations around the world celebrated summer and winter solstices as some of their highest holidays, and it makes sense that people who lived off the land would be tuned in to the changing seasons. Winter has the longest night, when the landscape seems most bleak and barren. But in summer, the earth is at its most lush and abundant — and for those that believe, the veil that separates the fairy world from our own becomes thinner, and the magical world's sway on us is at its strongest.
Despite the global spread of Christianity and the Church's attempt to co-opt the summer solstice as a holiday connected to St. John the Baptist — whose legendary birthdate was June 24th — I would hazard a guess that even in the most devout eras of history, as villagers lit their bonfires and gathered to revel on the beaches, St. John wasn't truly the first thing on their minds.
No matter what your views, there is something enchanted about summer in general, and Midsummer in particular. And just in time for this year's solstice, I wanted to share a few books that have two of my favorite elements, especially at this time of year: magic and romance.
Bobbi Dumas is a freelance writer based in Madison, Wis. She mostly reviews for Kirkus Media, and she discusses books on her blog ReadWriteLove.net.