Author: C.L. Polk
My rating: 4 stars
Release date: Oct. 13, 2020
What would you choose, marriage, love, and your magic locked away, or magic, freedom, and independence? The choice isn’t easy, and Beatrice may not have the time she needs to make her decision.
This is a tale of two women, both of whom are fighting their parents and social expectations to avoid a marriage and the subsequent required loss of their magical powers and freedoms. Beatrice lives in a strict regency era type of society. Women are only useful for marriage and childbearing purposes. Having a mind of one’s own is the worst crime imaginable. Women are forbidden from using their innate magical abilities. Their powers are suppressed after marriage and only released once they can no longer bear children. In such a society, Beatrice has one desperate rebellious hope of breaking free. To do so, she aims to offer her father an advantage that will benefit him more than her potential marriage to a titled rich man would. But her efforts are thwarted by another woman with similar goals.
For fans of regency romances mixed with fantasy, this book hits the spot. While this book is set in a different world than our own, the rules of the regency era are very similar. Young eligible ladies are to capture the attentions of eligible rich men, and enrich their families through marriage. But what happens when a woman wishes to pursue her own dreams and doesn’t want to be enslaved in a marriage? Is there any escape for a woman whose parents arrange her marriage, as if it were just another business transaction for her already rich family? What if a woman would accept marriage to the right loving man, but lives in dread of being collared and having not just her magic, but a good part of her spirited nature and freedom locked away? The men claim their control is in order to keep their potential unborn children safe from possession, but are those the only choices in life? Is love and marriage worth giving up a major part of one’s self for?
This is romance with a mix of women’s rights for freedom, independence, magic, and the right to their own bodies. One reads this and can’t help but hate the men who rule the world and force women into subordinate positions. I wanted to hurt the men who controlled the women and tried to force them to obey. I’m glad Beatrice gave me the opportunity to do so vicariously.
Beatrice went into her first Season thinking that magic would be her escape. She didn’t expect to fall in love, or for her sister to betray her. She didn’t expect to meet another girl with similar goals, or to befriend her.
I really admired Beatrice’s mother and her efforts to help her daughter, notwithstanding the great loss it would cost her and her family. This book was certainly not short on fantastic and complex characters.
One thing that did annoy me – for a book centered on the theme of the rights and freedom of women, I was really annoyed every time a ship was referred to with a male pronoun. Maybe it is demeaning for women, but it felt wrong to me, and not just because it’s the social norm. I like to equate the freedom of a ship, which can sail all over the world, with the right of a woman to that same freedom. Go anywhere, be anyone. We can do whatever we want, and no man shall control us.
I highly recommend this book. It was very well written. The characters are easy to connect to and hard to forget. There’s lots of magic and a fight for women’s rights. This book is for every woman, and will be very enjoyably educational for men as well.
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.