Review: My Contrary Mary (Mary #1)

Title: My Contrary Mary (Mary #1)
Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Audiobook
Release Date: June 22, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Welcome to Renaissance France, a place of poison and plots, of beauties and beasts, of mice and . . . queens?

Mary is the queen of Scotland and the jewel of the French court. Except when she’s a mouse. Yes, reader, Mary is an Eðian (shapeshifter) in a kingdom where Verities rule. It’s a secret that could cost her a head—or a tail.⠀

Luckily, Mary has a confidant in her betrothed, Francis. But after the king meets a suspicious end, things at the gilded court take a treacherous turn. Thrust onto the throne, Mary and Francis are forced to navigate a viper’s nest of conspiracies, traps, and treason. And if Mary’s secret is revealed, heads are bound to roll.

Review:

Mary Queen of Scots has a secret. She’s secretly an Eðian (a shapeshifter), who can turn into a mouse. Her best friend, and betrothed, Francis knows her secret and is keeping it for her. However, when Francis’s father, the King of France, dies suddenly, Francis is put on the throne. Francis and Mary have to navigate this political world, while also facing supernatural threats.

This book is the first in a trilogy which continues from The Lady Janies books. One thing that I love about these books about historical figures is that they alter history to have the outcome everyone wants. There are some things in Mary’s real life story that I would have liked to be different, and they were written that way in this story.

I love the hilarious narrators with clever references. There were numerous references to the TV show Reign, which was about Mary Queen of Scots. I learned a lot of that history from the show. There were many references to the show that weren’t necessarily historically accurate, such as characters who didn’t really exist, but I loved how that show was tied into the story. There were also jokes about modern day things which were hilarious. One character who could see the future would have visions of movies or inventions from our time. The characters in the story didn’t understand, but it was a hilarious break from history in this story.

I listened to the audiobook edition of this book and I loved it! The jokes were so fun to listen to. I highly recommend this austiobook.

My Contrary Mary is a great historical retelling!

Thank you HarperCollins Audio for providing a copy of this book.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

Reign: The Prophecy by Lily Blake

Have you read My Contrary Mary? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: The Siren of Sussex

Title: The Siren of Sussex
Author: Mimi Matthews
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 11, 2022
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Victorian high society’s most daring equestrienne finds love and an unexpected ally in her fight for independence in the strong arms of London’s most sought after and devastatingly handsome half-Indian tailor.

Evelyn Maltravers understands exactly how little she’s worth on the marriage mart. As an incurable bluestocking from a family tumbling swiftly toward ruin, she knows she’ll never make a match in a ballroom. Her only hope is to distinguish herself by making the biggest splash in the one sphere she excels: on horseback. In haute couture. But to truly capture London’s attention she’ll need a habit-maker who’s not afraid to take risks with his designs—and with his heart.

Half-Indian tailor Ahmad Malik has always had a talent for making women beautiful, inching his way toward recognition by designing riding habits for Rotten Row’s infamous Pretty Horsebreakers—but no one compares to Evelyn. Her unbridled spirit enchants him, awakening a depth of feeling he never thought possible.

But pushing boundaries comes at a cost and not everyone is pleased to welcome Evelyn and Ahmad into fashionable society. With obstacles spanning between them, the indomitable pair must decide which hurdles they can jump and what matters most: making their mark or following their hearts?

Review:

Evelyn Maltravers goes to London to stay with her uncle for her first season, but she doesn’t have high expectations for marriage after her sister’s scandal. Her goal is to make a name for herself as a horseback rider. She goes to the half-Indian tailor Ahmad Malik, who is known for designing the riding habits for the Pretty Horsebreakers of Rotten Row, to make her habit. Ahmad is an up-and-coming tailor, but he isn’t willing to cross boundaries with his wealthy clients to get ahead. However, when he meets Evelyn everything changes. There are many societal expectations that stand in their way, but Evelyn and Ahmad need to find a way to be together.

This story wasn’t a typical Victorian romance. I haven’t seen many Victorian romances that address racism the way this one did. Ahmad was half-Indian and working class. Many people made racist comments to him, and expected different things from him due to his race. Even Evelyn made inappropriate comments to him, though she didn’t realize it at the time. Though Ahmad had to deal with all of this racism, he had more opportunities than most people in his situation would have had in reality.

This was a slow romance, but I enjoyed it. There were some entertaining subplots, such as Ahmad’s business and Evelyn’s uncle’s fascination with spiritualism. These subplots added to the story and set up some possible themes for future books in the series.

The Siren of Sussex is a great Victorian romance!

Thank you Berkley for providing a copy of this book.

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

The Lady and the Highwayman by Sarah M. Eden

About the author:

USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews in Library JournalPublishers WeeklyBooklist, and Kirkus, and her articles have been featured on theVictorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes a retired Andalusian dressage horse, and two Siamese cats. Learn more online atmimimatthews.com.

Have you read The Siren of Sussex? What did you think of it?

Review: An Offer From a Gentleman

Title: An Offer From a Gentleman
Author: Julia Quinn
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Avon
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: July 1, 2001
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Sophie Beckett never dreamed she’d be able to sneak into Lady Bridgerton’s famed masquerade ball—or that “Prince Charming” would be waiting there for her! Though the daughter of an earl, Sophie has been relegated to the role of servant by her disdainful stepmother. But now, spinning in the strong arms of the debonair and devastatingly handsome Benedict Bridgerton, she feels like royalty. Alas, she knows all enchantments must end when the clock strikes midnight.

Who was that extraordinary woman? Ever since that magical night, a radiant vision in silver has blinded Benedict to the attractions of any other—except, perhaps, this alluring and oddly familiar beauty dressed in housemaid’s garb whom he feels compelled to rescue from a most disagreeable situation. He has sworn to find and wed his mystery miss, but this breathtaking maid makes him weak with wanting her. Yet, if he offers her his heart, will Benedict sacrifice his only chance for a fairy tale love?

Review:

Sophie is the illegitimate daughter of an Earl, who is left in the care of her stepmother when he dies suddenly. She disguises herself and goes to a masquerade ball at the Bridgerton home, where she meets Benedict Bridgerton, the second son. When Benedict sees the mysterious girl at the ball, he instantly falls in love with her. However, she leaves before he can find out who she is. Now, two years later, Sophie is working as a maid. She and Benedict meet again when he saves her from being attacked by a group of men. Benedict insists on helping Sophie find another job, though he doesn’t know that she’s the woman he fell for years ago. He needs to marry soon, and he likes Sophie, but his heart still belongs to the mysterious woman from the ball and Sophie is a much lower social status. They have to figure out if their love is strong enough to get past these differences.

This Bridgerton novel didn’t disappoint! The first couple of chapters were a Cinderella story. Sophie was left with her stepmother and stepsisters after her biological father died, though he never claimed her as his own so she didn’t benefit from being his daughter. She had the chance meeting with her Prince Charming at a masquerade ball, but then she had to flee before her stepmother returned home. I love it when fairytales are part of a story. This fairy tale part was only in the first couple of chapters but it was an entertaining entrance to the story.

The only thing I didn’t find believable was how much Benedict and Sophie loved each other at first sight. They didn’t know anything about each other and they couldn’t even see what they really looked like since they were wearing masks. This felt like a forced relationship at the beginning because they were head over heels in love without actually knowing the other person. By the end, I was rooting for them, but their love felt forced in the beginning.

An Offer From a Gentleman is a great Bridgerton romance!

Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

Other books in the series:

Have you read An Offer From a Gentleman? What did you think of it?

Review: God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen

Title: God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen (Her Royal Spyness #15)
Author: Rhys Bowen
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Berkley Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 12, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Georgie is back and hanging the stockings with care when a murder interrupts her Christmas cheer in this all-new installment in the New York Times bestselling Royal Spyness series from Rhys Bowen.

Georgie is excited for her first Christmas as a married woman in her lovely new home. She suggests to her dashing husband, Darcy, that they have a little house party, but when Darcy receives a letter from his aunt Ermintrude, there is an abrupt change in plans. She has moved to a house on the edge of the Sandringham estate, near the royal family, and wants to invite Darcy and his new bride for Christmas. Aunt Ermintrude hints that the queen would like Georgie nearby. Georgie had not known that Aunt Ermintrude was a former lady-in-waiting and close confidante of her royal highness. The letter is therefore almost a royal request, so Georgie, Darcy, and their Christmas guests: Mummy, Grandad, Fig, and Binky all head to Sandringham.

Georgie soon learns that the notorious Mrs. Simpson, mistress to the Prince of Wales, will also be in attendance. It is now crystal clear to Georgie that the Queen expects her to do a bit of spying. There is tension in the air from the get-go, and when Georgie pays a visit to the queen, she learns that there is more to her request than just some simple eavesdropping. There have been a couple of strange accidents at the estate recently. Two gentlemen of the royal household have died in mysterious circumstances and another has been shot by mistake during a hunt. Georgie begins to suspect that a member of the royal family is the real target but her investigation will put her new husband and love of her life, Darcy, in the crosshairs of a killer.

Review:

Georgie is preparing for her first Christmas with her husband, Darcy, when he receives a letter from his aunt inviting them to visit for Christmas at her home on the Sandringham estate. They bring Georgie’s mother and brother with them. When they arrive, they find the Prince of Wales and Mrs. Simpson are there too, as she is not permitted to be with the Royal Family for the holiday. Georgie soon discovers that there have been mysterious fatal accidents on the estate over the last year, which makes her keep an eye out for danger. Then, a couple of near misses make her suspect that a member of the Royal Family is being targeted. She must investigate these accidents before it’s too late.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a cozy mystery, and this one was the perfect book to jump back into the genre. I loved the setting of England in the 1930s. The Royal Family played an important role in the story because the King was a distant cousin of Georgie. I love any story with the Royal Family in it!

Though this book is number 15 in the series, I could follow it. The characters and their relationships as well as past events were described thoroughly in the first few chapters so I knew who they were right away. It is easy to read this book even if you haven’t read the previous ones.

The mystery part of this cozy mystery didn’t start until about the final third of the story. There was a lot of foreshadowing before it happened, so I was prepared for something dramatic to happen. I enjoyed the historical elements of the story that weren’t about the mystery.

God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen is a great historical holiday story!

Thank you Berkley Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Last Mrs. Summers (Her Royal Spyness #14) by Rhys Bowen

Love and Death Among the Cheetahs (Her Royal Spyness #13) by Rhys Bowen

Have you read God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen? What did you think of it?

Review: The Austen Girls

Title: The Austen Girls
Author: Lucy Worsley
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: April 2, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Would she ever find a real-life husband? Would she even find a partner to dance with at tonight’s ball? She just didn’t know.

Anna Austen has always been told she must marry rich. Her future depends upon it. While her dear cousin Fanny has a little more choice, she too is under pressure to find a suitor.

But how can either girl know what she wants? Is finding love even an option? The only person who seems to have answers is their Aunt Jane. She has never married. In fact, she’s perfectly happy, so surely being single can’t be such a bad thing? 

The time will come for each of the Austen girls to become the heroines of their own stories. Will they follow in Jane’s footsteps?

In this witty, sparkling novel of choices, popular historian LUCY WORSLEY brings alive the delightful life of Jane Austen as you’ve never seen it before.

Review:

1809: Fanny and Anna Austen are two teenage cousins who have just debuted to society. Their goal is to find the perfect husband, though that looks different for each girl. Fanny is from a wealthier family, and her mother insists she marry someone of a higher status. Anna’s family is not as well off, so she must aim lower for a husband. Meanwhile, a man that Fanny has just met is falsely accused of a crime, and her Aunt Jane has to help her figure out how to set him free. Both girls have to grow into young women and find their futures in Regency England.

This is another fun historical story from Lucy Worsley. I love Jane Austen, so this was an entertaining look into her family life. Jane was the fun aunt who helped Fanny and Anna with their daily problems. However, when they wanted advice on romance, Fanny’s mother didn’t want them going to Aunt Jane. Jane Austen may have written some of the most famous romantic stories but she was never married. She was very observant to human nature, though, so she was able to (secretly) write romances that are still being read and adapted two hundred years later.

Some of the subject matter may be surprising for young readers. Fanny and Anna were about sixteen years old, but they were expected to find husbands and get married immediately. Many of the suitors the girls had were grown men and sometimes middle aged. Today, it wouldn’t be appropriate for a teenage girl to be getting engaged to a man twice her age, but it was common and sometimes expected in the 1800s. The story also took a serious turn at the end, which I wasn’t expecting. However, it authentically represented the issues that young girls faced during the time.

The Austen Girls is a beautiful Jane Austen themed story!

My Name is Victoria by Lucy Worsley

Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz

Have you read The Austen Girls? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: The Crystal Palace Chronicles: Star of Nimrod

Title: The Crystal Palace Chronicles: Star of Nimrod
Author: Graham Whitlock
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Grass Roots Productions
Source: Literally PR
Format: Paperback
Release Date: October 14, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Join teenager Joe on a rollercoaster adventure travelling back in time to the heyday of Victorian Crystal Palace.

Joe’s world is turned upside down when he discovers a shattered compass among the brambles where the Crystal Palace once stood and travels through time back to 1888.

With help from the teenage H. G. Wells and Samuel Coleridge Taylor, daredevil Iris Blondin, Arthur Conan Doyle the creator of Sherlock Holmes and the Queen of the Gypsies, Joe must foil dangerous diamond thieves to uncover dark secrets about the ‘People’s Palace’. Standing on boundaries between worlds, its mysterious secrets are tied to the fate of his family.

Will Joe be trapped in the past with his new friends, find a way to return to his family or can he somehow have both?

Review:

Joe Cook lives with his father and sister near the Crystal Palace Park in London. When Joe finds a broken compass one day, he is transported back to the real Crystal Palace in 1888. Joe stumbles upon a plan to steal the diamond brooch, The Star of Nimrod. Along with historical figures such as H.G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Samuel Coleridge Taylor, Joe must prevent the theft so that he can return to his own time.

This was such a fun time traveling mystery. I love it when historical stories have real figures from history. The future historical figures in this story were not yet famous, so they had no idea what they would be known for centuries later. H.G. Wells and Samuel Coleridge Taylor were children, and Arthur Conan Doyle was a doctor who had just written the first Sherlock Holmes story. I always find it a fun way to learn about history when real historical figures are woven into a fictional story.

There were a few moments in the story that weren’t finished, but may be cleared up in a later novel. There was one scene where Joe supposedly travelled back to a different future from the one he left behind. There was also the Alone Child, who made some brief appearances but I wasn’t really sure who that was supposed to be or his role in the story. Maybe these parts will be cleared up in the next story, but I was left wondering what those parts meant.

The Crystal Chronicles: Star of Nimrod was a fun middle grade historical fiction mystery.

Thank you Literally PR for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Body Under the Piano by Marthe Jocelyn

The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony Gray by E. Latimer

About the author:

Graham Whitlock is a writer, walker, local instigator, dad and born-and-bred Norwood boy who is hopelessly in love with London. He helped found and run award-winning charity DreamArts which transforms young lives fusing arts and therapy. Graham edited the Dev and Olli children’s books by Shweta Aggarwal and his professional writing credits include a stage adaptation of the Shane Meadows film 24/7 and the UK’s first immersive musical based on the classic Ealing Studio comedy Passport to Pimlico. 

Have you read The Crystal Palace Chronicles: Star of Nimrod? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: The Keeper of Night (The Keeper of Night #1)

Title: The Keeper of Night (The Keeper of Night #1)
Author: Kylie Lee Baker
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 12, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Death is her destiny.

Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough has been collecting souls in the London streets for centuries. Expected to obey the harsh hierarchy of the Reapers who despise her, Ren conceals her emotions and avoids her tormentors as best she can.

When her failure to control her Shinigami abilities drives Ren out of London, she flees to Japan to seek the acceptance she’s never gotten from her fellow Reapers. Accompanied by her younger brother, the only being on earth to care for her, Ren enters the Japanese underworld to serve the Goddess of Death… only to learn that here, too, she must prove herself worthy. Determined to earn respect, Ren accepts an impossible task—find and eliminate three dangerous Yokai demons—and learns how far she’ll go to claim her place at Death’s side.

Review:

1800s: Ren Scarborough is half British Reaper and half Japanese Shinigami. Reapers and Shinigami collect souls when a person is ready to die. Since Ren is half Japanese living in London, her British Reaper family and community doesn’t recognize her as one of their own. After two centuries of living like this, Ren decides to travel to Japan to find her true identity as a Shinigami. Her half-brother, and only true friend, Neven, travels around the world with her. When they arrive and meet the Japanese goddess of death, Ren is given a seemingly impossible mission, to hunt dangerous Yokai demons, that will finally give her the acceptance she has always craved.

This was an intense and wild story. Ren and Neven encountered many demons and creatures from Japanese folklore. Ren had learned about some of the demons in her studies of her culture, but some of them were not the same as the tales. Both the British and Japanese soul collectors had their own methods of doing their job, so Ren had to get used to a whole new system. Though Ren felt like an outsider at home in England, Neven became an outsider in Japan, since he didn’t speak the language and didn’t look like the residents. It was an interesting look at if it’s harder to be born as an outsider and never know any differently or if it is easier to choose to live in a culture as a visible outsider.

The ending of this story was intense and fast paced. It left me wondering if the next book will be about Ren, based on where the story left off. I’m really curious to see what the next book in this duology will be about.

The Keeper of Night is a great book with Japanese folklore.

Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

About the author:

Kylie Lee Baker grew up in Boston and has since lived in Atlanta, Salamanca, and Seoul. Her writing is informed by her heritage (Japanese, Chinese, and Irish), as well as her experiences living abroad as both a student and teacher. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing and Spanish from Emory University and is currently pursuing a Master of Library and Information Science degree at Simmons University. In her free time, she watches horror movies, plays the cello, and bakes too many cookies. The Keeper of Night is her debut novel.

Have you read The Keeper of Night? What did you think of it?

Review: Enola Holmes: The Case of the Missing Marquess

Title: Enola Holmes: The Case of the Missing Marquess
Author: Nancy Springer, Serena Blasco
Genre: Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Mystery, Historical Fiction
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: November 27, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Enola Holmes is on the case! A graphic novel adaptation of Nancy Springer’s bestselling mystery series about Sherlock Holmes’ resourceful younger sister!

Raised by her mother on the family’s country manor, Enola wakes on her 14th birthday to discover that her mother has disappeared, leaving only a collection of flowers and a coded message book. With Sherlock and Mycroft determined to ship her off to a boarding school, Enola escapes, displaying a cleverness that even impresses the elder Holmes. But nothing prepares her for what lies ahead. Her journey quickly leads her into the dark and sordid neighborhoods of London where she finds herself involved in the kidnapping of a young marquess. Will Enola evade her two brothers and succeed in her new independent life, even as she continues to follow her mother’s trail?

This delightfully drawn graphic novel adaptation also includes a portfolio of pages from Enola’s secret notebook.

Review:

Enola Holmes, younger sister of Sherlock Holmes, wakes up on her 14th birthday to find that her mother is missing. Her mother left without leaving a note, so Enola asks her brothers Sherlock and Mycroft to help search for her mother. However, her brothers want to send Enola off to boarding school because they think their mother has run away for good. Enola must escape the life her brothers have planned for her so that she can continue searching for her mother, and maybe solve a mystery or two along the way.

I love reading adaptations and retellings of Sherlock Holmes stories. This one was original because it was about Sherlock’s younger sister. However, it did not portray Sherlock in a positive light. Him and his brother Mycroft wanted to send Enola off to become a proper lady, when all she wanted was to find her mother.

Enola was a fun character. She was determined to find her mother, and was willing to do anything to complete her goal. She was also creative and great at problem solving. At the end of this graphic novel, there were some pages from Enola’s notebook, with her notes on the case and details about how she solved problems. This was some fun insight into her character.

The Case of the Missing Marquess was a fun mystery graphic novel!

What to read next:

The Case of the Left-Handed Lady by Nancy Springer, Serena Blasco

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Other books in the series:

  • The Case of the Left-Handed Lady
  • The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets

Have you read The Case of the Missing Marquess? What did you think of it?

Review: Broken Wish (The Mirror #1)

Title: Broken Wish (The Mirror #1)
Author: Julie C. Dao
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 6, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Elva has a secret. She has visions and strange powers that she will do anything to hide. She knows the warnings about what happens to witches in their small village of Hanau. She’s heard the terrible things people say about the Witch of the North Woods, and the malicious hunts that follow.

But when Elva accidentally witnesses a devastating vision of the future, she decides she has to do everything she can to prevent it. Tapping into her powers for the first time, Elva discovers a magical mirror and its owner-none other than the Witch of the North Woods herself. As Elva learns more about her burgeoning magic, and the lines between hero and villain start to blur, she must find a way to right past wrongs before it’s too late.

The Mirror: Broken Wish marks the first book in an innovative four-book fairy-tale series written by Julie C. Dao, Dhonielle Clayton, Jennifer Cervantes, and L. L. McKinney, following one family over several generations, and the curse that plagues it.

Review:

1848, Germany: When Agnes and Oskar moved to their new town, they befriended Mathilda, the witch next door. Once Agnes gets help from Mathilda to have a child, she stops speaking to her, breaking the promise that Agnes made to be friends with her. This sets off a chain reaction that creates a curse that will affect her family for years to come. Sixteen years later, Elva, Agnes’s daughter, can see visions when she looks at her reflection. Her family keeps this a secret because they don’t want her to be labeled a witch. However, once Elva sees a vision of her home being destroyed, she realizes that she could get some helpful information from these visions. Elva befriends the Witch of the North Woods to learn how to improve her magical skill, but she’s in danger of ruining her future by taking control of her visions.

I love fairytale retellings. This story had similar plots to a few different fairytales, such as Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, and Snow White. Even the Grimm brothers were mentioned, traveling around Germany to find fairytales for their book.

This book is the first in a series that will follow a family through generations. I love this concept because it will be fascinating to see how this family’s curse, stemming from Agnes breaking a promise to Mathilda, will affect the family over time. The next book, Shattered Midnight, will be released in a couple of weeks.

Broken Wish is a great fairytale!

What to read next:

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

Shattered Midnight by Dhonielle Clayton

Have you read Broken Wish? What did you think of it?

Review: The Merchant and the Rogue (The Dread Penny Society #3)

Title: The Merchant and the Rogue (The Dread Penny Society #3)
Author: Sarah M. Eden
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: August 17, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

London, 1865

Vera Sorokina loves reading the Penny Dreadfuls and immersing herself in tales of adventure, mystery, and romance. Her own days are filled with the often mundane work of running the book and print shop she owns with her father. The shop offers her freedom and an income, and while she is grateful for the stability it brings to her life, she often feels lonely.

Brogan Donnelly was born and raised in Ireland, but has lived in London for several years, where he’s built a career as a penny dreadful writer. He has dedicated himself to the plight of the poor with the help of his sister. But with no one to share his life with, he fears London will never truly feel like home.

Brogan and Vera’s paths cross, and the attraction is both immediate and ill-advised. Vera knows from past experience that writers are never to be trusted, and Brogan has reason to suspect not everything at Vera’s print shop is aboveboard. When a growing criminal enterprise begins targeting their area of London, Brogan and Vera must work together to protect the community they’ve both grown to love. But that means they’ll need to learn to trust each other with dangerous secrets that have followed both of them from their home countries.

Review:

London, 1865: Vera Sorokina runs a print shop with her father. Though her father doesn’t like writers, she sells and reads the Penny Dreadful stories. Brogan Donnelly is a member of the secret Dread Penny Society, a group of writers who write Penny Dreadful stories and help those who need saving. Brogan had been questioning his membership in the group because he felt guilty about lying to his sister about it. The Dreadmaster gives Brogan permission to leave the group, so that he is no longer lying to his sister, and go investigate what is really going on at Vera’s print shop. Brogan works there under a pseudonym and must help Vera to figure out who is threatening her community.

This is another fun story in the Dread Penny series. Vera and Brogan were both immigrants with mysterious backgrounds. They both kept secrets, and they didn’t necessarily know everything that had happened in their pasts that led them both to London. Though they were from different cultures, Russian and Irish, their circumstances as immigrants to London drew them together.

One of my favourite parts of these books is that there are penny dreadful stories included throughout the novel. There are always two stories, one written by Mr. King, one of the best penny dreadful authors, and another by one of the protagonists. These stories relate to the main romance plot, but they’re also very entertaining in themselves. I really enjoy reading these stories within the novel.

The Merchant and the Rogue is a great Victorian novel. I hope there will be more in the series!

Thank you Shadow Mountain for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore

Other books in the series:

Have you read The Merchant and the Rogue? What did you think of it?