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?
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The heroine of C. L. Polk’s fantasy adventure is surprisingly relatable…even with all her mysterious abilities. Beatrice lives in Chasland, where everyone has magical powers, but when women get married—which is not optional—they’re fitted with a collar that neutralizes them. Beatrice, who happens to be unusually great at magic, aspires to become a full-fledged magician, but worries about being shunned by her whole family. The Midnight Bargain is a marvel of fantasy world-building, full of fascinating details and complex rules that govern the rituals of sorcery and marriage. We just got Beatrice from the moment she appeared on the page. Polk does an amazing job pulling us into the depth of her heroine’s struggle, especially when Beatrice falls in love, making it even harder for her to choose between pursuing her dream and building a loving home. Throughout it all, we had no doubt: If there’s any woman in Chasland who can figure out how to have it all, it’s Beatrice.
Customer ReviewsSee All
C. L. Polk is great at breaking your heart and then healing it
This book reminded me if why I was *so* excited to see Polk start to write her own novels. She’s got real skill at creating characters who are engaging and complex, and then writing them into naturally evolving situations that brak your heart in all the best ways.
But she doesn’t *leave* things in that wretched (albeit realistic) mess. They come together in the end for her own kind of happily-ever-after. I haven’t seen any information about a sequel, but I would *love* to know more about this world, so I hope that there’s more to come, someday. Regardless, I know I’ll be revisiting it by rereading this story, and probably soon.