Robin Blyth has more than enough bother in his life. He’s struggling to be a good older brother, a responsible employer, and the harried baronet of a seat gutted by his late parents’ excesses. When an administrative mistake sees him named the civil service liaison to a hidden magical society, he discovers what’s been operating beneath the unextraordinary reality he’s always known.
Now Robin must contend with the beauty and danger of magic, an excruciating deadly curse, and the alarming visions of the future that come with it—not to mention Edwin Courcey, his cold and prickly counterpart in the magical bureaucracy, who clearly wishes Robin were anyone and anywhere else.
Robin’s predecessor has disappeared, and the mystery of what happened to him reveals unsettling truths about the very oldest stories they’ve been told about the land they live on and what binds it. Thrown together and facing unexpected dangers, Robin and Edwin discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles—and a secret that more than one person has already died to keep.
Oh, this is an astoundingly lovely book.
I had heard vague things about A Marvellous Light, but going into it, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot. I figured I would probably enjoy it, as it had been sold to me as historical romance, plus a magical mystery/conspiracy. Now I love a good historical romance, and anything with magic is right up my alley, so this book was practically screaming my name.
A Marvellous Light takes place at the tail end of the 1800’s, in an England where magic exists, but is unknown to most. One of our heroes is Robin Blythe, a non-magical baronet who has been thrust into a job that deals with magic. Only problem is — he has no idea magic exists. On Robin’s first day at his new job, Edwin Courcey — a man who DOES have magic — shows up to get a report, expecting Robin’s predecessor. Said predecessor has been missing for several weeks, and no one has any idea where he’s gone. Here is where the mystery begins!
These two are such wonderful foils of one another, that it was an immense pleasure watching their relationship unfold. Edwin grew up with minimal amounts of magic, in a household where being nothing less than the best was unacceptable. He was brutally treated by his cruel older brother, and as such, turned into quite an icy, stoic individual who would much rather surround himself with books rather than people. Robin, on the other hand, grew up in a house where public appearances were so much more important than being your true self. His parents die shortly before the novel begins, leaving him and his sister in dire straits, as they have left all their fortune to charities and ‘projects’ rather than their children. Robin is a bright, confident man, who is rather quick to jump on the metaphorical grenade rather than have someone else get hurt. Robin was my favorite.
I’m not going to spoil anything more, other than to say this was such a fun book to read. The mystery is dealt out in lovely, delicious chunks leaving you wanting just enough to keep reading. The writing itself is absolutely gorgeous and just a tiny bit haunting in the best way.
I cannot recommend A Marvellous Light enough. Please go read it.