It's not prudent to judge a group of people by the misdeeds of a few. In 'A Most Unusual Courtship' by Nancy M. Griffs, Gerald almost misses out on a fabulous opportunity due to his prejudice against those who practice magic. Gerald refuses to serve those who practice magic and sends Leo away. However, he soon discovers that Leo is no ordinary mage. If they are to work together, Gerald has to admit that he's wrong and, after all of his years of distain for mages, it is not going to be easy.
Leo and Gerald are both very strong willed, secure individuals, each with a very special, well developed talent—Leo for magic wielding and Gerald for leather making. Even though both men are the best at what they do, they don't flaunt it or use it in a manipulative way for self gain. Leo is a bit of a scoundrel, but has a good and generous heart and would never take advantage of his gift. In this way, Gerald is similar because even though he makes the finest leather creations in all of London, he refuses to overcharge so that even the least fortunate can afford his creations. I liked the way that they were represented as different, but equal in spirit and strength. It made for an interesting competition between them. Gerald's absolutely charming, good hearted, humorous, and loving grandfather,added a lot of humor and loving to the story. His fondest wish for his grandson was to see that Gerald was well matched before he died. Even at 75, he proves that he is a force to be reckoned with.
The world building in this tale presents an interesting, alternative view of London, roughly in the Renaissance period. Much of the lifestyle, speech, clothing, weapons, and customs are similar to our reality; however, mingled in with the history are hints of imagined things such as mages, wizards, magic spells, and an unusual representation of same sex unions which definitely put a twist on things. I really enjoyed this story and would recommend it to everyone who likes unique stories, in a historical setting, where things aren't always as they seem. Thanks, Nancy, for the delightful story.