When industrial magician John Blake arrives to investigate a case of witchcraft, he finds the peculiar, arrogant Thornby as alarming as he is attractive. John soon finds himself caught up in a dark fairytale, where all the rules of magic—and love—are changed.
To set Thornby free, both men must face life-changing truths—and John must accept that the brave, witty man who’s winning his heart may also be about to break it. Can they escape a web of magic that’s as perilous as love?
From the very first chapter of this book I was caught up in its intense atmosphere of desperation and mystery. Poor Soren, trapped on his father’s estate by powers unseen and with no way out of his predicament!
Listening to this story wreaked havoc on my nerves, there’s a constant sense of urgency and tension. It reminded me of a Gothic novel of yore, though luckily faster-paced than let’s say the good old Mysteries of Udolpho. The Victorian setting with the broken down manor and romantic moors lends itself perfectly for this type of story. Technical advancements are on the rise, but at the same time it’s far enough into the past to make legends and superstitious tales, even magic, seem plausible.
The writing was beautiful, fluent, gripping and evocative. I loved the attention to historical details, that touch of realism to contrast so wonderfully with the very original magical setting of the story. I adored the references to the Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace especially! How awful indeed for Soren to have missed out on that experience.
John and Soren seemed an unlikely match at first, because of the differences in their characters, their station in life and the trust issues they needed to overcome. But they are really great together!
They have amazing chemistry. However, it was the yearning and the tender, vulnerable moments they shared that truly made them stand out to me. What struck me too is that Soren, in large part, is drawn to John because of how kind the other man is.
Narration: This is a suspense-filled story with an eerie atmosphere, which Joel Leslie managed to capture (and enhance) perfectly in his performance. He also did a great job with the accent of the characters, as per usual. I loved how he read John and Soren, making John sound just a bit rougher around the edges than Soren, whereas Soren sounds quite posh, the perfect young English lord.