Lady Sophie Rosier is about to make her debut during the London Season, but what should be an exciting prospect is sad and scary for her. Her beloved mother has recently passed away, and the illness that claimed her life has also left Sophie with a deformed leg and an unattractive limp. Sophie is painfully aware that the denizens of society will view her differently; she won’t even be able to dance at the Season’s balls and other entertainments. Moreover, Sophie is hiding the fact that she has magical abilities, since witchcraft is feared and frowned upon by society. But when certain members of the War Office begin falling victim to mysterious “accidents,” Sophie is able to perceive that magic is involved. With the help of her best friend Parthenope, as well as a potential suitor, Sophie must discover the culprit and save the Duke of Wellington himself.
This book contains a lot of my favorite things: the Napoleonic era, an underdog heroine, magic, and romance. As such, I found it an enjoyable read, but certain things didn’t quite gel for me. First, I’m a little bit confused about the role of magic in the novel. It seems to be a social taboo — when one character learns of Sophie’s abilities, he is absolutely repulsed by it — but the why is unclear. Plus, Sophie’s own mother taught her to cultivate her abilities, which seems like a bad idea if society shuns practitioners of magic. I also would have liked a little more tension in the romance between Sophie and her paramour. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the more lighthearted moments in the book, especially those involving the mischievous Parthenope! Overall, this was a fun read, and if a sequel appears, I’ll most likely read it as well.