This was a very short book, I didn’t realize it was a novella until I had read for a half an hour and realized I was a quarter of the way through already.
Right away you know you’re in a high fantasy book, there’s talk of elves, trolls, fairies, and other fantastical elements. Magic is a boys club in this world, with most men born with the ability to use magic and most women who can not. The MC is one of the very few women who once had the power to wield magic. She’s since lost the ability and the specific reason is left a mystery for a while so I won’t go into it because of spoilers. She’s left feeling bitter and broken without her powers, it was something that defined her, gave her pride and a sense of purpose. She often finds herself in a spot where she would have been able to use magic to fix something and becomes bitter that she can’t cast spells anymore. She also has an old romance come into the picture which takes up a lot of the page time/story.
Lol, this turned out to be a fantasy of manners romance novella! None of those things would have made me pick this up, those are all the opposite of my typical reads. It was cute, but not really riveting for me. I have a hard time with stories that are focused around the relationship of two people, I need something more to the story than that. I’ve learned that I very much so like romance as a side plot, however. Thankfully, the romance itself was likable. The guy was nice and not a douche, there was nothing creepy going on with huge age gaps or power gaps between the characters. There was already a history between them so it wasn’t a hot and smoldering whirlwind romance but something that had a foundation to stand on.
The writing was clean and precise without meandering or becoming purple, but still being descriptive and immersive. I didn’t find any spelling or grammar issues, but there were a few words that were used too many times for something so short. Within a few chapters of meeting Wrexham, I started to get irritated every time I saw the word “ex-fiance” used instead of saying “him” or his name.
The plot was lacking for me, though. There just wasn’t much to it, it was very simplistic and to the point. That’s not to say it was bad, there just wasn’t much to go on. I don’t know if I had higher expectations than is reasonable for a novella, however. I hardly read any novellas or short stories so my ability to compare and manage expectations is a little off.
I looked at the reviews for this and so many people on my friends list gave this one glowing reviews. I saw lots of 5-stars and exclamation points from my romance fantasy friends. So, if you’re one of those people and you haven’t read this, I’d say give it a go.
TLDR: Cute romance novella that would appeal to people who like shorter stories, fantasy of manners, regency period, high fantasy, Austen-esque, and getting back together stories.
- Plot: 9/15
- Characters: 12/15
- World-Building: 11/15
- Writing: 13/15
- Pacing: 13/15
- Originality: 11/15
- Personal Enjoyment: 5/10
Final Score: 74/100 or 4 stars on GR