Amid the sumptuous backdrop of the London season in 1905, headstrong Katherine Sinclair must join the ranks of debutantes vying for suitors. Unfortunately for Katherine, she cannot imagine anything more loathsome—or dangerous. To help ease her entrance into society, Katherine’s family has elicited the assistance of the Earl of Thornewood, a friend and London’s most eligible bachelor, to be her constant companion at the endless fetes and balls. But upon her arrival in London, Katherine realizes there will be more to this season than just white gowns and husband hunting.
Through her late mother’s enchanted diary, Katherine receives warning to keep hidden her otherworldly ability to perform arcana, a magic fueled by the power of the sun. Any misstep could mean ruin—and not just for her family name. The Order of the Eternal Sun is everywhere—hunting for those like her, able to feed on arcana with only a touch of the hand.
But society intrigue can be just as perilous as the Order. The machinations of the fashionable elite are a constant threat, and those who covet Katherine’s arcana, seeking the power of her birthright, could be hiding behind the façade of every suitor—even the darkly handsome Earl of Thornewood.
With so much danger and suspicion, can she give her heart to the one who captivates her, or is he just another after her power?
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Where do I even begin? If Jessica Leake had a library full of books I would go and purchase every one! Arcana is a fabulous story and I was hooked! This book begins with the presentation of our heroine, Katherine. We are immediately introduced to her special abilities and proceed to embark on a whirlwind fantasy adventure. This book is set in England in 1905, so naturally we are taken on an adventure through high society London and debutant balls. Katherine is forced to London where she is spending the season with her Grandmother and makes her debut into society, hoping to make it out alive. She is accompanied by the devastatingly handsome Lord Thornewood, the sons of her father’s friend, to help her ease into the ranks and create a place for herself. He is a man with a reputation in London’s society circles, yet he is one of the few people that Katherine is able to be more open and free with. As the season progresses, advences are made towards Katherine that are at first welcomed and then greatly distrusted. There are people who seek to use her power and destroy her life. Secrecy is of the upmost importance, yet this sweet woman will not stand by as people are hurt. She saves a boys life and suspicions arise, cause her to be the focus of the Order. She must fight to keep her secret and when she has no other option but to save another life, she is outed for all the world to see. She attempts to find her solid footing yet life continues to throw so much chaos at her.
I have never read a historical romance before but now I am thinking I need to rethink this notion. This book was set in a world that was full of life. I loved the blending of the fantasy and supernatural element with London in 1905. The backdrop of the bustling city was vibrant, full of life and excitement. Jessica’s writing and descriptions of the world Katherine resides in allows the reader to see the world in technicolor. It is so descriptive yet never overwhelming in it’s description. I loved the “season” of ladies coming out and each girl introduced has a personality that was full of life and character. The sweet girls, like Penelope, were kind and generous. The catty girls, like Eliza, live to climb the social ladder. The secondary characters added a depth to the story that made it well rounded and great!
Katherine was an incredible heroine. She was independent, loving, kind, thoughtful, and cautious. She has lived with her special abilities her whole life and she is constantly battling the push and pull of her arcana and her duty to the human world. She is torn between the life she knows and the one she desires to know. Her sense of humor and banter with Lord Thornewood was so refreshing. She was witty and clever. Her relationship with her siblings is one that was deep and loving. She loved her Father and he loved her. Their immediate family was a tight knot group, a home full of life and love. Lord Thornewood is the handsome devil that is intrigued by Katherine’s independence and spunk. He finds something deep within her that changes his views on many things in life and he needs to know more. The romance between the two is so sweet. It is deep and loving! Their chemistry and connection is on fire, and their stolen moments and kisses are passionate. I loved their relationship.
The fantasy theme is one that I am usually hesitant about since it can change a good story into something cheesy and far fetched. That is not the case here. Arcana is able to couple the fantasy with romance and history in such a way that it creates greater depth. As the reader you cannot help but be drawn into the world of the London high society and irresistible magic. This story left me smiling. Jessica Leake has raised the bar for historical fantasy fiction and I am excited to see what she has in store for us next. Arcana is an incredibly written and fascinating debut that has put Jessica on the list of authors you need to know!
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– One ebook of Arcana (INT – Mobi or Epub)
Before I was a writer, I worked as a psychotherapist. I spent several years working at a psychiatric hospital in Birmingham, AL, but after my husband graduated as a pharmacist, we moved back to Greenville. I claim Greenville as my hometown now since I spent most of my childhood here, and I’m a proud alumna of St. Joseph’s Catholic School and Winthrop University.