Published: November 2, 2021
Genre(s): adult, romance, historical, mystery, magic
Read as: eARC
Robin Blyth has more than enough bother in his life. He’s struggling to be a good older brother, a responsible employer, and the harried baronet of a seat gutted by his late parents’ excesses. When an administrative mistake sees him named the civil service liaison to a hidden magical society, he discovers what’s been operating beneath the unextraordinary reality he’s always known.
Now Robin must contend with the beauty and danger of magic, an excruciating deadly curse, and the alarming visions of the future that come with it–not to mention Edwin Courcey, his cold and prickly counterpart in the magical bureaucracy, who clearly wishes Robin were anyone and anywhere else.
Robin’s predecessor has disappeared, and the mystery of what happened to him reveals unsettling truths about the very oldest stories they’ve been told about the land they live on and what binds it. Thrown together and facing unexpected dangers, Robin and Edwin discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles–and a secret that more than one person has already died to keep.(Goodreads)
Did I know what I was getting into when I picked up this book? No, absolutely not. I am not ashamed to admit that I wanted to read this for the cover and the cover alone.
However, I am very happy to say that it is fabulous!
The atmosphere of this story is a thing of beauty. You constantly feel just slightly on edge waiting to see what happens with the mystery which adds greatly to the overall ambience. I love the mystery and pondering “who is the big bad in the shadows?” aspect. You know there is a villainous villain waiting in the wings, letting things unfold, and with every page you wonder, “Is this it? Are they going to show themselves now?” The anticipation is exciting yet maddening!
While the mystery plot is the main driving force of this book, the romance of this story is fantastic. When I picked the book up, I was actually unaware of the gay relationship in the plot. What an absolute delight to discover! Edwin is so…closed off. He is unwilling to open up to other people and lives a life of relative solitude with his books. Robin, on the other hand, is boisterous and outgoing. There isn’t a conversation he can’t contribute to nor a person he can’t charm. Together, they are simply wonderful. It is one of the best grumpy/sunshine parings I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.
Overall, I loved this book. The mystery drew me in, the magical aspects felt very real and present, and the romance was top tier. I’m so very glad I stumbled across this and can’t wait to read the next book in this series.