Series: The Harwood Spellbook #2.5
Published by: Five Fathoms Press
Published: February 2020
Format reviewed: ePub
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five
Lists: Favourites and Recommended
Related Reviews: Spellswept – The Harwood Spellbook #0.5 | Snowspelled (The Harwood Spellbook #1) | Thornbound (The Harwood Spellbook #2)
In this novella we return to Thornfell and the magically-gifted Juliana Banks who, after months of letters that are lacking their usual zest, finally gets to see her secret fiancée, the politician Caroline Fennell.
As a reminder, in this world men are thought to be emotionally unsuitable for politics and are generally thought more suited to magic. Thus, it’s generally women in politics who often seek mage husbands who can assist with helpful magic for various things like running the house and general errands.
In a previous novel we saw the opening of Thornfell, the first school for women to study magic at, as, although unusual, there are some extraordinarily gifted women and of these, Juliana is one of them. Think of this in a style of highly-advanced science, and we see their style of magic. Juliana is one of the best students in the school, but she still has three years until graduation and until she’ll be fully recognised as a magician, and thus, she and her fiancée can finally announce their truth to the world.
In the previous book we saw Juliana and Caroline off to the side a little; Caroline’s mentor was the villain of the piece and so in this novella we see her having to make her own way politically, which has meant she’s possibly not going to be advancing as much as previously planned. As is often the case with written words, which is all they’ve had these last months (and which Juliana has noticed have become a little strained), their communication and understanding of each other has dropped a little. Once upon a time, they had their future set out so carefully; Juliana studying hard so she can be the suitable mage for her politically-driven partner, and Caroline going to climb the political ranks in the Boudiccate.
However, thanks to Caroline’s mentor, things aren’t looking so good for her political career. Once surrounded by adoring hangers-on, she arrives to the school’s formal event somewhat alone. Juliana sees this as a chance to sneak off together easier and make up for lost time, however, Caroline has a revised vision of her future and thus has to release Juliana from what she’d once promised, but now can possibly no longer deliver.
Throw in some fey tricks to the muddle of things half said and even less understood, and we have a quick novella that captures sweet yet passionate romance, a full respect for each other’s varied strengths and intelligence, and a series of friendships that are lovely to witness.
I can’t wait to read more in this world. Every bit of it is a joy.