Moontangled (The Harwood Spellbook #2.5) by Stephanie Burgis

MoontangledMoontangled is a delightful spin off story that primarily focuses on a couple of characters introduced during Thornbound, the second of the Harwood Spellbook series.

We first met Juliana Banks and Caroline Fennell during the fae shenanigans that took place in Thornbound which threatened to upturn all of Cassandra Harwood’s hard work and plans to open a magical school for young women.  The two of them made for interesting reading and so I was really happy that the author took the decision to create a story that revolved purely around the two and their secret engagement.

I’m not going to elaborate greatly on the plot as this is a fairly short story that centres around the romance between the two and highlights how easy it is to misread motives and jump to wrong conclusions all in an attempt to do the right thing.

The setting for this world is an alternative England – known as Angland where magic and fae exist and conventions have been turned on their head a little.  Here, women rule the world of politics and men rule the world of magic – although these long held roles are starting to become more fluid with women finding they can also wield magic – what next?  I suppose men will be wanting to become politicians!  In the previous instalment our central character, Cassandra (herself a rather brilliant wielder of magic until an unfortunate episode left her unable to practice) has shaken up the stiff-upper-lipped nobility with her decision to run a magical school for women – it’s not an entirely popular decision with the upper crust of society being set vehemently against such change but as the young women who can wield magic start to increase in numbers it becomes impossible to ignore the demand for such a school.  Cassandra had her work cut out trying to convince the right people to give her school the stamp of approval and it was during this process that our two characters met and also when we felt the influence of the fae that inhabit the nearby wood.

I don’t typically read romance (or short stories) but this is a series that I will make an exception for because the stories all involve magical and fantastical elements combined with a period feel and a lightheartedness that makes them a joy to read.  Plus, I love stories that involve the fae, they’re my catnip and I simply can’t resist.

Burgis has a lovely writing style and manages to infuse her stories with the sort of well developed characters and strong relationships that I love and even though this is a fairly short story the author manages to help both characters achieve that development in themselves that is really positive to read about.

In terms of criticisms – the only thing I have is a feeling of this being over too quickly and wanting more.

A sweet and charming regency style series that has flavours of The Importance of Being Ernest (in terms of problems with misunderstandings) and Pride and Prejudice (lots of young ladies, excitement over the next ball and folderol about dresses) – but with fantasy and the fae thrown in for good measure.

I would suggest reading the previous books before reading this – because they’re very worthy reads – but, I think you could probably read this as a standalone if you wanted to get a flavour for the place and the writing (although I am of course saying that whilst having the benefit of having read the previous instalments – so I’m not entirely sure I’m the best judge – just read the other books is my advice :D)

I received a copy courtesy of the author.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4 out of 5 stars



Can’t Wait Wednesday : Moontangled (The Harwood Spellbook #2.5) by Stephanie Burgis

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : Moontangled (The Harwood Spellbook #2.5) by Stephanie Burgis.  I’ve loved Snowspelled and Thornbound so can’t wait to return to the world that this author has created:

MoontangledTake one ambitious politician and one determined magician with wildly different aims for their next meeting.

Add a secret betrothal, a family scandal, and a heaping of dangerous fey magic in an enchanted wood…and watch the sparks fly!

For just one moonlit, memorable night, Thornfell College of Magic has flung open its doors, inviting guests from around the nation to an outdoor ball intended to introduce the first-ever class of women magicians to society…but one magician and one invited guest have far more pressing goals of their own for the night.

Quietly brilliant Juliana Banks is determined to win back the affections of her secret fiancée, rising politician Caroline Fennell, who has become inexplicably distant. If Juliana needs to use magic to get her stubborn fiancée to pay her attention…well, then, as the top student in her class, she is more than ready to take on that challenge!

Unbeknownst to Juliana, though, Caroline plans to nobly sacrifice their betrothal for Juliana’s own sake – and no one has ever accused iron-willed Caroline Fennell of being easy to deter from any goal.

Their path to mutual happiness may seem tangled beyond repair…but when they enter the fey-ruled woods that border Thornfell College, these two determined women will find all of their plans upended in a night of unexpected and magical possibilities.

Expected publication : February 2020