In this paranormal romance, Victorian England is a magical place. The nobility are titled based on the power of their magics. The more powerful they are the higher their rank. The Royal family is the highest and often employ Werefolk as advisors and bodyguards because they are impervious to magic.
Felicity Seymour is a Duchess-of-Honor. Her parents have died and in order to inherit the duchy outright she must pass her magical test. However she feels very vulnerable. She lives with her aunt and uncle who are very protective of her shelter her almost obsessively. She has always been easily overlooked and she can barely scare up a flame with her magic, much less perform the complex magic necessary to be confirmed as Duschess. She is sure she will lose the title. And since no one ever seems to remember her and she has no suitors she is despairing of her future. It doesn't help that her despicable cousin Ralph's magic seems to be growing each day and he terrorizes her.
At her confirmation she meets Sir Terence Blackwell a Were-lion. He immediately notices Felicity. And not just because she is beautiful but because she wears the taint of relic magic. It seems there is ancient relics wrought by Merlin himself that were left all over England. These magic relics are so powerful that in the hands of unscrupulous people they can be very destructive. As a chief spy for Prince Albert, Terence is determined to track down and destroy all the relics. Hence he starts a courtship of Felicity to discover the relic.
As I began reading this I wasn't very sure what to expect. I actually liked the idea of Magic being the determinate factor in granting titles and land. It is a nice twist on primogeniture. All in all it was a nice little book -- a quick read with a nod to the Cinderella story somewhat. After it was done, though I really felt like it could have been better. It was really quite a surface book, nothing dug very beneath the surface. I also found Felicity a bit of a drip. Very, very early on in the book...I'd say chapter two, the reader could very easily figure out what is going on. I was very disappointed that Felicity didn't seem to be able to put two and two together. She was too credulous. She had no self preservation meter. You'd think she'd question things more. Instead she was content to have a bit of a ...well a big... pity party. I wanted her to have a bit more agency. Instead, she was very content for Terrence to save her. That bugged me some. I understand that this is the first in a series. I probably won't be checking out the remaining books right away, but may do so sometime in the future.