Thursday, January 25, 2024

BOOK REVIEW: The King and Vi by Shana Galen

I received this book for free from Netgalley. That did not influence this review.

The King and Vi by Shana Galen is a the first book in a new series, Misfortune’s Favorites. It’s a thoroughly engaging Regency Romance – with witches. I was intrigued, if a bit skeptical of a premise involving witches, but the story sucked me in.

King (the Marquess of Kingston) is cursed. As an obnoxious teenage bully, along with two equally obnoxious sons of lords that were his best friends, he had embarked on yet another prank. His pranks were attempts to win some attention from his father, a duke, who ignored him. But this prank, stealing a barrel of whiskey from the impoverished sisters living a short distance from his boarding school, was not only stupid, it was cruel. The women made the whiskey to sell, and it was their only means of support. The boys meanly called them “witches.” It turned out, they were right. The barrel broke. One of the old women caught them. And cursed them, saying that at the age of thirty, they would lose everything they cared about. Although King more or less forgot about the curse, on his thirtieth birthday, it came true. At first, a reader could well be thinking: Good!

Violet Baker (Vi) is a young woman running a public house in the notorious Seven Dials region of London. She is trying her best to raise her two younger brothers, but barely scraping by. One of her biggest concerns is the gang leader who runs the local protection racket. If she doesn’t come up with her payment, he will steal away her brothers and take possession of her. Although she has always come up with enough in the past, this time she fears she won’t. Because a group of aristocrats came into her public house, drank themselves stupid, and started a brawl. The place got wrecked. And she lost a good amount of alcohol. The next morning, when she learns the name of one of the aristocrats, the Marquess of Kingston, she is determined to track him down and make him pay.  But when she arrives at his house, she finds him in the midst of being evicted and hounded by duns.

Vi adds her voice to the chorus of creditors demanding payment. Seeing her as the least threatening, King sneaks off with her. She refuses to let him out of her sight until he pays her a sum that is paltry to him, but means everything to her. The problem is, he can’t get his hands on even that paltry sum. He finds himself homeless, penniless, friendless, and about to be stripped of his title.

King’s redemption evolves at a credible pace. Vi softens toward him as he grows more likeable. Their day-to-day lives are a departure from what is found in most Regency Romances and it makes the obstacles to their coming together a satisfying mixture of external forces and internal hesitation. 

The steam level is moderate. The sex scenes don’t come across as gratuitous. And the romance is heartwarming. Plus, there is banter!

I’ll be pre-ordering book 2!

1 comment:

  1. Witches are very popular in every genre right now!!

    Thanks for sharing your review with the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge!