AUTHOR: Allison Saft

GENRE: Fantasy, Regency

AGE: Young Adult


Niamh Ó Conchobhair has never let herself long for more. The magic in her blood that lets her stitch emotions and memories into fabric is the same magic that will eventually kill her. Determined to spend the little time she has left guaranteeing a better life for her family, Niamh jumps at the chance to design the wardrobe for a royal wedding in the neighboring kingdom of Avaland.

But Avaland is far from the fairytale that she imagined. While young nobles attend candlelit balls and elegant garden parties, unrest brews amid the working class. The groom himself, Kit Carmine, is prickly, abrasive, and begrudgingly being dragged to the altar as a political pawn. But when Niamh and Kit grow closer, an unlikely friendship blossoms into something more—until an anonymous columnist starts buzzing about their chemistry, promising to leave them alone only if Niamh helps to uncover the royal family’s secrets. The rot at the heart of Avaland runs deep, but exposing it could risk a future she never let herself dream of, and a love she never thought possible.

“although she was secretly convinced her reticule did indeed contain a portal to a stranger realm, filled only with broken pencils and stray pocket change”

Thank you to Wednesday books for an advanced copy of this book!

I’ve pretty much loved all of Saft’s works, and this one is just as excellent as the others. While Down Comes the Night remains my favorite, this one is probably my second. It is absolutely a five star read. One of the things I loved about this book is that it paid homage to Bridgerton as well as real life history, but it also included magic and queer characters. One thing I think that Saft did very well was the world building — she used what we know of in reality to build her own world atop it. That made for less confusing world building in a standalone, and you could more easily slip into the story without being confused.

It was so well done and I loved the characters in this book. It left me with warm fuzzy feelings all over.

Niamh has quickly become one of my favorite characters of all time, she’s spunky, she’s adorable and I just love her. I love her to bits. Her development as a character was delightful and her friendships with the people around her were wonderful. I adored her friendship with Sinclair, and I also loved Sinclair’s relationship with Kit as well. We also have Rosa and Mirriam, both also characters I adored.

Honestly, there were very few characters that I did not like in this book. Maybe Jack. That’s about it.

This is definitely a grumpy x sunshine romance and UGH. Honestly cute doesn’t even cut it. I loved how sweet and tender this book was at times, but also how strong it was at others, and it is so hard to explain why I loved it so much other than it left me feeling happy and fulfilled.

While much of it is cute and adorable, there are parts that touch on darker themes such as war colonialization, and decimation of countries, but Saft manages to balance both those things very well. I didn’t find it heavy handed or lacking nuance, I felt that it was woven into the story in an appropriate manner.

Her writing is also just a delight. It leaves me breathless, I love it so much. I could keep going on about how much I adored this book, but really, you just need to read it for yourself. I can see this becoming an absolute comfort read for me.

“Your life is yours. It is never too late to change.”