“Two years ago, Louise Le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.
Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union – holy matrimony.The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.” Taken from the book cover.
Set in the historic French inspired city of Cesarine, it is the perfect backdrop for a story about witches and magic. I was intrigued from the onset, the whole premise of a witch and witch hunter forced into marriage, a relationship potentially doomed from the start, completely peaked my interest. The pacing is good and there is plenty going on, I never lost interest at any point. The story is told from Reid and Lou’s point of view and that works really well.
The magic system is unique. For a witch to use her magic she has to give something of herself back. The costs can be high and painful, and in one instance, Lou incurred broken and bent fingers using her power to break a lock.
The story took on quite a few surprising twists and turns which I was not expecting.
Lou has now become one of my new favourite female characters. Her character was brilliant, she is so vivacious and full of life. She curses, can be crass and vulgar and is completely improper at times, but she is wonderful! She does, however, have an underlying vulnerability which creeps to the surface as the novel progresses. Lou is exactly the female lead I love reading about.
“Now move, or I swear to God, I will strip naked right here and dance the bourree! I thrust my hands on my hips and looked at him expectantly. He didn’t even glance at the people around us. Instead, he kept his eyes trained on mine, a slow smirk spreading across his face. Do it.”
Reid is a 7ft red-headed grump of a man with a big heart, he’s an absolute darling. I loved him from the start, this big beefy man has an innocence that has him blushing at the slightest innuendo, but he is also fiercely protective and a well trained warrior. It was lovely to see his character arc develop as the novel went on.
“Why the f..k is everyone in this kingdom trying to murder my wife”. … “Reid”, she said slowly, incredulously, “did you just curse?”.
The dynamics between these two characters is superb, the chemistry between them literally sizzles and on several occasions I actually laughed out loud with their banter.
”I tugged my arm away. There’s no need to cripple me”. “I told you to behave”. “Oh please, I winked. It’s not like I stripped and sang ‘Big Titty Liddy”.
There is also a wonderful cast of sideline of characters too: Coco – Lou’s best friend whom she has known since childhood, Ansel – a trainee Chasseur, Madame Labelle, Prince Beau, all with their own personalities and a part to play in the story.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book; it’s not a complex read, but the romance, the setting, the plot and all the characters are spot on. What I love most is the romance, it’s a prominent part of the story, it drives the novel forward and I was compelled to devour every scintillating part of this relationship. It is so good, the slow build, the sexual tension and the banter. This is definitely a book you will love if you like a good romance in the forefront of a fantasy novel. Overall, a superb debut novel, it’s witty, engaging and is an absolute joy to read. The cover definitely needs a mention as well, it is absolutely stunning
The author’s writing is wonderful, I loved her style and humour. I will be first in the queue for the sequel; Blood and Honey.