GOOD HOUSE MAGIC” also by Carol Tennant is the fourth in this series that I originally reviewed for the CCE; it occurs to me that this book would be a beautiful companion reference book to “Good Kitchen Magic” to give to a new bride – or any young person you know who might be starting out in their first apartment and not know a great deal about how to do a lot of things (and not have mom at their elbow to show them!). Ok, so it’s NOT a cookbook–but how many easy to read and follow books tell you how to take care of your house or apartment?

Similar in style and format to the other Retro MQ books in this series, “GOOD HOUSE MAGIC” is filled with photographs and illustrations from another era—but there the similarity ends, for the ideas and suggestions offered in this, as well as the other MQ publications, are very up-to-date and cover such a wide range of topics.

The author starts with chapters that  suggest ways to set up your house or apartment, what things you will need, how to make your home attractive and comfortable—including a comprehensive list of cooking utensils, pans, casseroles, electric gadgets and baking equipment you’ll need to get started.

Within the pages of “GOOD HOUSE MAGIC”, you will learn some of the following:

  • How to care for antiques
  • How to  clean
  • How to  take care of  chimneys and fireplaces (how many how-to books tell you that?)
  • How to take care of your rare books
  • Caring for antique silver and metalwork
  • How to  care for paintings, drawings, and photos
  • How to  deal with allergies
  • Maintaining  care for your household plants—and getting the most from your cut flowers
  • How to      do laundry and take special care of your “delicates”

And…quite a lot more. You know, my sons grew up in a household where their father was self employed with a washer-and-dryer business for many years—so you’d think that they of all people would know something about doing laundry. Right? Wrong.  I was at one of my son’s not long ago, housesitting, and decided to take the load of towels out of the washer and put them into their dryer. I absolutely could not believe how overloaded their washer was.  A lot of the information in “GOOD HOUSE MAGIC” is really basic, and things most of us take for granted (like separating lights and whites from colored fabrics) – but you’d be surprised how many people just don’t know these basic concepts. There is such a wealth of information in “GOOD HOUSE MAGIC” –   you just might discover a lot of things you didn’t know either!

Ms. Marshall has published several books including one called “FUNKY STYLE” which was also published by MQ Publications.  She lives in London with her partner and two children.

“GOOD HOUSE MAGIC” published 2003 by MQ Publications originally sold for $16.95 in the USA. The ISBN # is 1-84072-451-X.  I found it listed on for $2.38 (new) or starting at one cent, pre-owned. has copies priced at $3.43 new, or starting at 99c for a pre-owned copy.

Originally reviewed for the Cookbook Collectors Exchange in 2004, GOOD  HOUSE MAGIC has staying power.

Reviewed by Sandra Lee Smith


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