Ahh this was everything I was looking for in a Regency romance (and with added fae/supernatural elements too).
Title: Half a Soul
Series: Regency Faerie Tales #1
Author: Olivia Atwater
Publication Date: 5th April 2022
Rating: 4 stars
Ever since she was cursed by a faerie, Theodora Ettings has had no sense of fear or embarrassment – a condition which makes her prone to accidental scandal. Dora hopes to be a quiet, sensible wallflower during the London Season – but when the strange, handsome and utterly uncouth Lord Sorcier discovers her condition, she is instead drawn into dangerous and peculiar faerie affairs.
If Dora’s reputation can survive both her curse and her sudden connection with the least-liked man in all of high society, then she may yet reclaim her normal place in the world. . . but the longer Dora spends with Elias Wilder, the more she begins to suspect that one may indeed fall in love, even with only half a soul.
This story was so much fun. Dora is a brilliant protagonist, with half her soul and emotions stolen away be a faerie when she was young. She enters society at the insistence of her cousin, her staunchest supporter, only to find herself caught up with the Lord Sorcier and his physician assistant.
Although I had instinctively felt that the Regency era and magic wouldn’t mix (and who has magic and what governs it isn’t really dwelt on here), the stifling requirements of etiquette impose themselves on the use of magic perfectly.
The steady growth of affection and attraction between Dora and Elias is actually perfect – the right quantity of steamy looks and shy touches, but also the underlying question of ‘can I feel what I want to feel’ which was so lovely to read. We see the two characters grow in esteem for each other in a way that felt genuine, romantic and quite passionate, as well as being just a delight to read.
The faerie Lord Hollowvale is also a great character – his obsession with virtue hold up an uncomfortable mirror to contemporary attitudes, despite seeming to be more of a parody.
It’s a short novel, with most of the plot-related decision-making happening in the last section of the story. The conclusion felt a little neatly rushed (and the Epilogue quite abrupt) it was still fast, fun and a little-swoon-worthy.
I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.