It’s difficult to find a husband in Regency England when you’re a young lady with only half a soul.
Ever since she was cursed by a faerie, Theodora Ettings has had no sense of fear or embarrassment—an unfortunate condition that leaves her prone to accidental scandal. Dora hopes to be a quiet, sensible wallflower during the London Season—but when Elias Wilder, the strange, handsome, and utterly ill-mannered Lord Sorcier, discovers her condition, she is instead drawn into peculiar and dangerous faerie affairs.
If her reputation can survive both her curse and her sudden connection with the least-liked man in all high society, then she and her family may yet reclaim their normal place in the world. But the longer Dora spends with Elias, the more she begins to suspect that one may indeed fall in love even with only half a soul.
Effie has most inconveniently fallen in love with the dashing Mr. Benedict Ashbrooke. There’s only one problem: Effie is a housemaid, and a housemaid cannot marry a gentleman. It seems that Effie is out of luck until she stumbles into the faerie realm of Lord Blackthorn, who is only too eager to help her win Mr. Ashbrooke’s heart. All he asks in return is that Effie sew ten thousand stitches onto his favorite jacket.
Effie has heard rumors about what happens to those who accept magical bargains. But life as a maid at Hartfield is so awful that she is willing to risk even her immortal soul for a chance at something better. Now she has one hundred days—and ten thousand stitches—to make Mr. Ashbrooke fall in love and propose…if Lord Blackthorn doesn’t wreck things by accident, that is. For Effie’s greatest obstacle might well be Lord Blackthorn’s overwhelmingly good intentions.
Proper Regency ladies are not supposed to become magicians–but Miss Abigail Wilder is far from proper.
The marriageable young ladies of London are dying mysteriously, and Abigail Wilder intends to discover why. Abigail’s father, the Lord Sorcier of England, believes that a dark lord of faerie is involved. But while Abigail is willing to match her magic against Lord Longshadow, neither her father nor high society believes that she is capable of doing so.
Thankfully, Abigail is not the only one investigating the terrible events. Mercy, a street rat and self-taught magician, insists on joining Abigail in unraveling the mystery. Mercy is unpredictable, and her magic is strange and foreboding–but the greatest danger she poses may well be to Abigail’s heart.
A queer romantic faerie tale of defiant hope and love against all odds, set in Olivia Atwater’s enchanting version of Regency England.
My thoughts: these are delightful fairy tale influenced Regency era love stories. George III, who was technically still king in this period, was one of many who believed in fairies, so it makes sense that they pop up at balls and try to blend in to society.
Half a Soul reminded me a little of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, especially with magicians on the battlefields of Wellington’s campaign against Napoleon. There’s also elements of Bridgerton – with the endless rounds of parties and ‘at homes’ of the Season and the marriage schemes of the ton.
Ten Thousand Stitches had definite Cinderella and The Wild Swans – with poor Effie cleaning the house and spending her nights sewing. Although of course she’s brilliant and escapes to the land of faerie.
Longshadow is a bit different, bringing the daughter of England’s Lord Sorcier to the fore and giving us a queer love story too. Something you definitely wouldn’t find in a Regency era story elsewhere.
All three are tremendous fun to read and feature clever young women who don’t fit in with society’s expectations for them. Thankfully with faerie just next door they can escape and find their own happily ever afters.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.