Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.
I'm just trying to light up the world as much as I can one SciFi/paranormal/fantasy/space opera/time travel book at a time.
This magical period piece was incredibly charming! It was charming and one heck of a fun, bumpy rollercoaster ride. The pacing was all over the place at times. I originally thought this book was going to be on the slow side (which was true in spots) with loads of women fighting misogynistic societal views regarding what type of person they were expected to be, who they were allowed to associate with and whether or not they should be permitted to perform Magic (especially after marriage in this case). All in all those topics were there but so too were my Victorian(ish) era cravings like social coming out seasons, Debutant Balls, lessons on proper etiquette and the age old dilema of whether to fulfill family obligations vs doing what your heart desires most. There were many charming facets and honestly, I couldn't put the book down. I read it in one night--> day. I started at bedtime, then bedtime turned to dawn which later saw me romping through the house (ereader in hand) trying my best to look busy while also trying not to look like I was helplessly Crazy Glued to this book avoiding my chores.
On the technical side: the writing was very well done. The world building was grand except for the Magic. The Magic system didn't get as much page time and explanation as I would have liked. I feel a bit cheated in that respect. Then there were the characters. The character's depths ran from shallow, vapid puffs of useless space to fantastically deep, rich, evocative personas. There were great characters like the spirit Nadi (who was AWESOME!!) and our MC Beatrice who was equal measures relateable, bold and vexing. She did things that made me scream at my poor ereader, begging her to see what was SO plainly laid out before her... ahem, Ianthe. Ahhhhh Ianthe! Ianthe couldn't be more delicious if he was dipped in chocolate and rolled around in whipped cream with a huge, ripe cherry on top! Their glaring Insta-love (gallant as it was) somehow managed to sweep me into its romantic fervor. Though, in my humble opinion, this ardent amore would have worked MUCH better as a slow, seductive burn. But, c'est la vie! Another beloved character was Ianthe's sister Ysbeta. Ysbeta was an incredibly dynamic character that won me over early on and I wholeheartedly rooted for her and her quest for her happily ever after.
And then there was that ending. There are too many spoiler pitfalls to navigate with regards to the ending so I will only say this... that ending was satisfying!
This wonderfully written period piece was much better than I expected it to be... and that's saying a lot because I was over the moon about getting my hands on it to begin with. Bottom line is that I enjoyed this book so much I'd gladly buy it for a friend, myself or even my tween daughter! I highly recommend you do the same
*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***