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The Midnight Bargain

by C. L. Polk

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3872956,185 (3.86)41
From the beloved World Fantasy Award-winning author of Witchmark comes a sweeping, romantic new fantasy set in a world reminiscent of Regency England, where women's magic is taken from them when they marry. A sorceress must balance her desire to become the first great female magician against her duty to her family. Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress who practices magic in secret, terrified of the day she will be locked into a marital collar that will cut off her powers to protect her unborn children. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus and pursuing magic as her calling as men do, but her family has staked everything to equip her for Bargaining Season, when young men and women of means descend upon the city to negotiate the best marriages. The Clayborns are in severe debt, and only she can save them, by securing an advantageous match before their creditors come calling.  In a stroke of luck, Beatrice finds a grimoire that contains the key to becoming a Magus, but before she can purchase it, a rival sorceress swindles the book right out of her hands. Beatrice summons a spirit to help her get it back, but her new ally exacts a price: Beatrice's first kiss . . . with her adversary's brother, the handsome, compassionate, and fabulously wealthy Ianthe Lavan.  The more Beatrice is entangled with the Lavan siblings, the harder her decision becomes: If she casts the spell to become a Magus, she will devastate her family and lose the only man to ever see her for who she is; but if she marries--even for love--she will sacrifice her magic, her identity, and her dreams. But how can she choose just one, knowing she will forever regret the path not taken?… (more)
  1. 00
    The True Queen by Zen Cho (amberwitch)
    amberwitch: Historical fantasy, women magicians being oppressed.
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» See also 41 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.
  fernandie | Sep 15, 2022 |
Nice little historisk fantasy. Nothing outstanding, but an average-to-good worldbuilding, sympathetic characters and a very modern romance. The heroine had a good clear voice and presence right from the start, and fortunately the ‘enemies to lovers’ trope alluded to in the blurb was quickly subverted, and a much more heartwarming story unfolded. ( )
  amberwitch | Jun 18, 2022 |
Another really interesting magical system -- this on focused on possession -- and another alt-regency romance structure that veers off into fantasy. I particularly liked how the racial snobbery was reversed, with the sophisticated Lavan siblings more than a little horrified at the backward ways of the basically-British isle. There was an awful lot of angsty drama, but the world is interesting. I don't quite understand how everything works out ok in the end, given all the dire warnings, but it was clever, and interesting, and I like to see women manage to chart their own courses, so it was a good read for me -- fair warning, I like Regency Romances, so I had less trouble with the insta-love. If that annoys you, you won't care for this book.

Advanced Reader's Copy provided by Edelweiss. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
She went way too easy on her father. And it was a little difficult to read at times because I'm a little touchy about people being forced into marriage. But somehow this all worked out so well. And Ianthe is somehow a man that's worth something, so that was interesting. ( )
1 vote Monj | Jan 7, 2022 |
Theoretically this was a great tale but the execution of it seemed terribly heavy-handed with whole feminist angle constantly being explained. I would have liked the story to simply reflect what the author wanted to impart but I felt like I was constantly being told it instead. Annoying. ( )
  fionaanne | Nov 11, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
C. L. Polkprimary authorall editionscalculated
Alciano, MicaelaCover designer & interior elementssecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Quirk, MoiraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Alexis, Kim, and Sarah
you know what you did
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The carriage drew closer to Booksellers' Row, and Beatrice Clayborn drew in a hopeful breath before she cast her spell.
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From the beloved World Fantasy Award-winning author of Witchmark comes a sweeping, romantic new fantasy set in a world reminiscent of Regency England, where women's magic is taken from them when they marry. A sorceress must balance her desire to become the first great female magician against her duty to her family. Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress who practices magic in secret, terrified of the day she will be locked into a marital collar that will cut off her powers to protect her unborn children. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus and pursuing magic as her calling as men do, but her family has staked everything to equip her for Bargaining Season, when young men and women of means descend upon the city to negotiate the best marriages. The Clayborns are in severe debt, and only she can save them, by securing an advantageous match before their creditors come calling.  In a stroke of luck, Beatrice finds a grimoire that contains the key to becoming a Magus, but before she can purchase it, a rival sorceress swindles the book right out of her hands. Beatrice summons a spirit to help her get it back, but her new ally exacts a price: Beatrice's first kiss . . . with her adversary's brother, the handsome, compassionate, and fabulously wealthy Ianthe Lavan.  The more Beatrice is entangled with the Lavan siblings, the harder her decision becomes: If she casts the spell to become a Magus, she will devastate her family and lose the only man to ever see her for who she is; but if she marries--even for love--she will sacrifice her magic, her identity, and her dreams. But how can she choose just one, knowing she will forever regret the path not taken?

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