I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Pross' is a widowed bookseller and when someone approaches her with a research project, she can't help but take it on. When she realizes she needs help, she goes to the Research Society. There she gets directed to someone named Ibis.
Due to racism and classism, Ibis is stuffed into a corner in the offices of the Research Society but when Pross gets sent up to him, it will set-off a chain of discoveries that will shake the very fabric of their lives, in more ways than one.
“Are you saying there’s something wrong at the Society? Badly wrong?” He’d said that, but she needed to hear him admit it flat out.
Ibis looked up to meet her eyes , and then he nodded. “I am. I do think there is. I just don’t know what. That’s why we’re here.”
The Magician's Hoard is book three in the Mysterious Charm series and I wish that I had started with book one. The setting is 1920's England, with some forays into Paris, and while the history of the world seems to be based in reality, there is mention of “the war”, magic is part of everyday life. When kids go to school, they are sent off and put into different factions, Fox, Owl, Seal, and etc.; close to Harry Potter-ish. No one really knows how and why people are put into the categories they are but this directs their courses of study. People also travel by portals, which makes going from London to Paris a simple, not time consuming trip. There really wasn't an explanation or relaying of the structure of this world, probably provided in book one, so starting in book three with no help, I was lost in the framing of the world and therefore, very lost in the meanings of things and how magic existed.
Singularly, Pross and Ibis were interesting characters. Pross a widowed bookseller with a daughter in school. We get some scenes with Pross and her daughter, more towards the middle and end that helped fill out her character and some talk about her previous marriage. Ibis is half Egyptian, with a sister in school and other family members living in Egypt. He has a flatmate, we see them interact together, but otherwise his background feels a bit murky. While there was some sketching out of these two, I wanted some color pencils used, I had trouble feeling them and their emotions for the first half of the book. The second half they start to warm up and I felt we got to know them more but it was a little difficult to make it there. Their attraction starts off mild, shy, and then moves into the bedroom. There was an ending bedroom scene that felt a tad out of place, in regards to how the story was flowing previously, with a sexy toy joining in on the fun. They were cute together but their relationship felt more studious than steamy.
The reason for Pross joining up with Ibris, the search for a Roman hoard, was hard for me to keep track of; the aforementioned magic and how it existed in this world, the secondary characters who pop up and aren't really fleshed out, and the time jumps. There would be a scene with something learned by Pross or Ibris and then a week or some sort of time jump would occur. This gave the story a stop and go feel and hurt the flow for me. I honestly felt lost in the plot about the hoard, from how it was important, to what it was, and who the villain/s going against Pross and Ibris' search for it.
The writing was wonderfully technically sound but the overall story structure felt off, but again, I didn't read the previous two books in the series, so I could have missed out on key information that would have helped out here. It took until the second half for me to feel like I finally felt the emotions from characters and feel like I had solid grip on them but I'm not sure I ever accomplished even that with the Roman hoard plot. The 1920's era doesn't usually show up in new romance releases, so if looking for that time period and a bit different vibe with some magic in your stories, back track to book one before taking this one on.
He felt her hand slip into his, and the delighted whisper in his ear, “Keeping you.”