Review copy was received from NetGalley, Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The League of Gentlewomen Witches by India Holton
Narrator: Elizabeth Knowelden
Series: Dangerous Damsels #2
Published by Berkley, Penguin Audio on March 15, 2022
Genres: Fantasy Romance
Length: 10 hours, 31 minutes
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
Miss Charlotte Pettifer belongs to a secret league of women skilled in the subtle arts. That is to say—although it must never be said—witchcraft. The League of Gentlewomen Witches strives to improve the world in small ways. Using magic, they tidy, correct, and manipulate according to their notions of what is proper, entirely unlike those reprobates in the Wisteria Society.
When the long lost amulet of Black Beryl is discovered, it is up to Charlotte, as the future leader of the League, to make sure the powerful talisman does not fall into the wrong hands. Therefore, it is most unfortunate when she crosses paths with Alex O'Riley, a pirate who is no Mr. Darcy. With all the world scrambling after the amulet, Alex and Charlotte join forces to steal it together. If only they could keep their pickpocketing hands to themselves! If Alex's not careful, he might just steal something else—such as Charlotte's heart.
The covers in this Dangerous Damsels series are just gorgeous. The covers, plus magic of strong women in a historical setting drew me to read them. Without being too spoilery, the first story The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels is about pirates. The women are generally more successful and talented, but there are men pirates. Pirates are feared by the public, so they are left alone. The books are romances.
In The League of Gentlewomen Witches, we move on to witches. Pirates and witches don’t think well of one another. In fact, they have a long standing feud. Pirates fly houses or other buildings and use weapons for fights. Witches also have weapons and chant Latin spells to affect things in a telekinesis sort of way. But they both tend to do more aggrandizing than actual fighting. They also both incredible thieves and pickpockets. Witches deny they are, because witches captured by the police are burned. So witches tend to have a circumspect exterior.
Charlotte is the prophesied leader to be of the witches. She has done everything properly and fallen in line with the current leader of the witches, her aunt Judith’s ways. But then her ancestor’s amulet is found and displayed at the British Museum. All witches and pirates work to steal it for its power, especially Charlotte. The pirates from the last book and their friend, Alex included. Her mother is happily married and not so bothered by the politics. She tried to convince Charlotte they should invite Alex to a dinner.
“Our guests would be most entertained by his looks — I mean, his books — I mean he seemed an educated man, judging by his — er — broad shoulders. He must have carried many encyclopedias over the years to make him so muscled. You yourself like reading and thinking. Surely you would enjoy having a conversation with him?”
When the amulet is stolen, and everyone gives chase, Charlotte jumps aboard Alex’s cottage as it flies off in pursuit of the pirate house of the thief. Alex O’Riley is an Irish pirate, wealthy and handsome. His childhood experience has told him all witches are evil and really he can’t trust women in general, so he should never marry. Alex and Charlotte go on a merry hunt and adventure to retrieve the amulet.
I found the things the characters said to each other often ridiculous and humorous. Overall, the plot was a little boring, because initially we just had the prim activities of Charlotte from her point of view. It was much more fun once the pirates and their shenanigans joined the main story. The bickering of Alex and Charlotte, along with their dedicated attraction was fun while the actual growth they experienced as they came to care for each other was heartwarming. The dialogue did have some extremely clever passages with references to Austen characters and other literature.
The narrator for the series is one familiar to me, and also narrated the first book. I thought the voices for the male and female characters were appropriate, however I found it difficult at times to differentiate between the different females and males. I slowed my listening down a bit to be able to absorb all the details, to 1.25x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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