So, this was entirely delightful… Magic and witches, broken hearts and revenge, friendship and kinship, romance and steam… I had a fantastic time listening and
wish the other books in the series were sapphic as well. Alas, they are not, but this fact has no bearing on how much I loved this book, which can be read am looking forward to book 4 in the series, In Charm’s Way, which will also be sapphic. In the meantime, this first book can be read as a standalone.
Ten years after she left Thistle Grove with a broken heart, Emmy Harlow is back for what she believes is the last time. As the Harlow scion, she’s expected to act as arbiter during the Gauntlet of the Grove, a spellcasting tournament between the other three founding families. Emmy’s family is far from being as powerful as the Blackmoores, Avramovs, and Thorns, and Emmy’s always had a hard time feeling less than. Having lived far from home for years now, whatever magic she had has fainted progressively. Coming home is bittersweet: she doesn’t want to be here, she doesn’t want to feel happy here, yet she’d never relinquish her duty to, say, her cousin who would love to be the Harlow heir. And then there’s Linden Thorn, Emmy’s best friend. And Talia Avramov…
First of all, I love Emmy. She’s complex and torn, and over the course of the story, she learns heaps about herself and what she really wants. She’s also sweet and funny and considerate. Talia is hot, smart, powerful yet unexpectedly vulnerable, which only adds to the hotness. Everything between them, from the first meeting, worked for me. They made me laugh and squee (on the inside; I don’t squee aloud) and tear up. Emmy’s renewed friendship with Linden brought a lot of feelings as well. I also liked the world-building and secondary characters a lot. And the narration only adds to all that. If you’ve recently listened to Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner, you may recognize Jeremy Carlisle Parker as Cassie’s voice (as Quinn Riley). Each voice fits and the pace is excellent. Seriously, enchanting is the word for this audiobook.
Payback’s a Witch @ Libro.fm / Kobo / amazon
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