Lucy Derrick is a young woman of good breeding and poor finances. After the death of her beloved father, she becomes the unwanted boarder of her tyrannical uncle, fending off marriage to a local mill owner. But just as she is resigned to a life of misery, a handsome stranger—the poet and notorious rake Lord Byron—arrives at her house, stricken by what seems to be a curse, and with a cryptic message for Lucy.
With England on the cusp of revolution, Lucy inexplicably finds herself awakened to a world where magic and mortals collide, and the forces of ancient nature and modern progress are at war for the soul of England . . . and the world. The key to victory may be connected to a cryptic volume whose powers of enchantment are unbounded. Now, challenged by ruthless enemies with ancient powers at their command, Lucy must harness newfound mystical skills to preserve humanity’s future. And enthralled by two exceptional men with designs on her heart, she must master her own desires to claim the destiny she deserves.
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Set in 1812 Nottinghamshire, this delightfully original tale from Liss (The Devil's Company) combines the classic elements of a Regency romance with ancient magic and the machine-breaking of the Luddite rebellion. Now living with her miserly uncle, orphaned and impoverished 20-year-old Lucy Derrick already with one failed elopement to her name feels her only escape is via marriage to the unpleasant mill-owner Mr. Olson. That is, until the day the notorious Lord Byron appears on her doorstep, apparently under a curse, and warns her to avoid the marriage and "gather the leaves." Tutored by the mysterious Mary Crawford and courted desultorily by the rakish Byron, Lucy begins to unlock her own magical talents. In the process, she discovers the secrets of her own past, as well as an ancient evil that threatens England itself. Liss neatly tweaks the conventions of the genre, effectively combining the personages and political issues of the day with alchemical science and the ghostly mysteries of the barrow-mounds for a historical adventure with appeal well beyond fans of the Regency era.
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If looking for a mystery different than the norm, this is a nice break. Retro style of writing with a unique story. Highly recommend