I received this book for free from agency review pitch in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
A romantic, suspenseful, genre-bending debut set in Edwardian London.
Amid the sumptuous backdrop of the London season in 1905, headstrong Katherine Sinclair must join the ranks of debutantes vying for suitors. Unfortunately for Katherine, she cannot imagine anything more loathsome—or dangerous. To help ease her entrance into society, Katherine’s family has elicited the assistance of the Earl of Thornewood, a friend and London’s most eligible bachelor, to be her constant companion at the endless fetes and balls. But upon her arrival in London, Katherine realizes there will be more to this season than just white gowns and husband hunting.
Through her late mother’s enchanted diary, Katherine receives warning to keep hidden her otherworldly ability to perform arcana, a magic fueled by the power of the sun. Any misstep could mean ruin—and not just for her family name. The Order of the Eternal Sun is everywhere—hunting for those like her, able to feed on arcana with only a touch of the hand.
But society intrigue can be just as perilous as the Order. The machinations of the fashionable elite are a constant threat, and those who covet Katherine’s arcana, seeking the power of her birthright, could be hiding behind the façade of every suitor—even the darkly handsome Earl of Thornewood.
With so much danger and suspicion, can she give her heart to the one who captivates her, or is he just another after her power?
Katherine lives with her father and siblings in the English countryside, riding her horse and traipsing the fields. Even though she doesn’t act like a lady should be, that doesn’t stop her father from turning her into a proper lady. He sends her off to her Grandmother’s home in London for the debut season. Little does anyone know, Katherine is hiding a secret of her own, and when two wealthy suitors catch her eye, she has to decide which one is the best for her.
I really liked this one. If only I had more time to read historical books because I quite like the era. This is everything I imagined London in the 1900s to be. English wealth being snobbish and superior to those of a lower station than theirs. The gossip, the scandals, the back-stabbings that would aspire between girls. It’s funny how things change and how seldom they don’t. Katherine encounters very many colourful characters and some act as villains and some are just plain old friends who are just kind and wonderful. I had loads of fun guessing who would be bad and who would be good. What also surprised me was the magician element that was sprinkled throughout most of the book. In my opinion, I would have loved nothing more than for it to be all fantasy and magic, but it wasn’t. Though I wasn’t disappointed because Katherine is the type of character you rally with. She’s very feisty and has a very modern way of thinking and I loved how she would surprise people with her wit and actions. Like riding a horse with both her legs on either side! It would cause a scandal back in those days and cause shame to a woman’s reputation.
I found it wholly fascinating how the author compared the certain roles cast by society between women and men. Where women had to learn things like playing the piano or husband hunting just so they can marry while men get to go to school and learn everything there is to know about the world. It just empowered me even more that we live in a world where woman have equal say in this world even if some try to silence us. Other than high society life, I felt the history would have been better combined if there was a threat from that world. Kind of like a fugitive chase story-line. It would have made it less boring and more exciting because all I was waiting for was for Katherine to tell a certain someone who she is.
As for the characters, one of the biggest villains I pretty much despised is her own grandmother. She has such hidden motives and it wasn’t hard to calculate what she really wanted. I also liked Katherine’s family and best friend. As for Thornewood, he reminded me so much of Mark Darcy that I wasn’t surprised that Jessica Leake said that she loves Darcy. Thornewood is an inspiration of Darcy and it’s apparent in his actions. I thought their romance was too cute.
If you like historical fiction with a bit of magic and romance, this one’s for you!