Sylvia Izzo Hunter, A Season of Spells
A few years after the events of Lady of Magick, Lucia MacNeill, heiress to the throne of Alba, is finally traveling to Britain to meet her betrothed, Prince Roland. Sophie (along with Gray) travels with her, officially to be her guide to the British court and unofficially to encourage the relationship between her and Roland. But Sophie is soon distracted, first by her plans to restore Oxford’s defunct women’s college and then by the escape of the prisoners—including her stepfather—who plotted to assassinate the British king in The Midnight Queen. I was apprehensive about this final installment of the trilogy, having loved book one and been disappointed in book two. This book falls somewhere in the middle. As with the rest of the series, the plot is glacially slow, and I was frustrated not to see significant growth or change in most of the characters. However, I did enjoy the development of Lucia and Roland’s relationship, though I wish it had been more of a focus. Overall, I’m glad I finally read this series, but it may not be a keeper for me beyond book one.
Angie Hockman, Dream On
This contemporary romance has an unusual premise: Cass has vivid, detailed dreams about her perfect boyfriend, Devin, while she’s in a coma. But when she wakes up, she learns that he doesn’t exist — or at least, that’s what she thinks until she meets him in person a year later. The real Devin doesn’t recognize her, but she knows things about him she couldn’t possibly know unless they’ve met before. To solve the mystery, they spend some time together and eventually begin dating. But Cass is also having surprising feelings for Devin’s brother, Perry, as well as navigating her fledgling law career. This was a decent but not exceptional read. I liked the premise and was satisfied with the explanation of why Cass dreamed of Devin (though I have no idea whether it’s medically plausible). I also liked that the love triangle is resolved with neither Perry nor Devin being a bad guy. But the writing style was a bit too overblown for me, and I never really bought into the romance. Still, it’s a cute, fast read if the setup interests you.
Hannah March, A Distinction of Blood
Robert Fairfax has just taken a job with wealthy tradesman Samuel Appleton, theoretically to tutor his two young sons but actually to dig into the life of his daughter, Charlotte, who has recently married the aristocratic but rakish Lord Mortlock. Mortlock’s terrible reputation has society speculating that his young wife may be seeking pleasure elsewhere. Fairfax’s job becomes harder when Mortlock is murdered in his own home, while Charlotte is hosting friends in the next room. The killer must be a servant or one of Charlotte’s guests, and as Fairfax investigates them all, he uncovers many motives and secrets. I’m continuing to like this series a lot (this is book #3), both for Fairfax’s complex character and for the setting of 1760s England. This book discusses the evils of slavery and the slave trade, but without preachiness or anachronism. I also thought the mystery plot was relatively strong in this one. Still really liking this series and would recommend it to fans of historical mysteries!