Disclaimer: The author and I attended the same graduate school program and participate in group promotional tours for our books. However, I purchased my hardcopy version of this novel for full price.
For a person who doesn’t claim to be a “romance book” reader, I seem to keep lucking out with some amazing speculative fiction romances. In this case, I enjoyed a lovely historical fantasy romance (or is that a historical romance fantasy?) that takes place in an alternate version of Victorian England. Magic is both real and expected in this world, and our heroine has returned to her English roots to find training for her supernatural gifts.
Etta’s journey as she takes her rightful place among her people was engrossing and dramatic. I can’t wait to read more in this series as the world McKinnon created gets bigger and bigger, since so many tantalizing details are dropped about other areas in this first novel.
What I wasn’t expecting to enjoy so much was the romance. Stodgy period dramas aren’t exactly my thing, but Etta and Mal’s story is infused with enough passion and excitement to carry along even the most non-romance reader. I even read and enjoyed the sexually explicit bits! I tend to skip over them in most (non-erotica) novels, because so often the sex is just there as provocative window dressing. In this novel, the sex acts as a delightful representation of the evolution of the relationship itself.
As the first book in a series, obviously not every question is answered to the reader’s satisfaction. However, this book is not a cliff-hanger. It ends on a satisfying note at the end of the first major arc. But plenty of threads are left dangling, and I’m looking forward to the next installment of the series.
Currently reading: Under the Empyrean Sky (Heartland Trilogy #1) by Chuck Wendig (20%)