Half a Soul
- Author: Olivia Atwater
- Genre: Fantasy/Historical Romance
- Publication Date: April 5, 2022
- Publisher: Orbit
- Series: Regency Faerie Tales #1
Thank you to Orbit for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
CONTENT WARNING: blood, ableism, verbal abuse
It’s difficult to find a husband in Regency England when you’re a young lady with only half a soul.
Ever since she was cursed by a faerie, Theodora Ettings has had no sense of fear or embarrassment—an unfortunate condition that leaves her prone to accidental scandal. Dora hopes to be a quiet, sensible wallflower during the London Season—but when Elias Wilder, the handsome, peculiar, and utterly ill-mannered Lord Sorcier, discovers her condition, she is instead drawn into dangerous faerie affairs.
If her reputation can survive both her curse and her sudden connection with the least-liked man in all high society, then she and her family may yet reclaim their normal place in the world. But the longer Dora spends with Elias, the more she begins to suspect that one may indeed fall in love even with only half a soul.
I absolutely loved everything about this book. It was exactly what I needed after reading a literal dumpster fire of a book (visit here to see what I’m talking about), and it was the perfect light, fluffy, engrossing, and quick read. Although I’m not overly partial to Regency romance, the addition of fantasy elements made it much more appealing to me.
Dora was cursed by a faerie as a child, and consequently only has half a soul, leaving her lacking in strong emotions and propriety. She speaks her mind, and while this is the norm in our day and age, it was absolutely scandalous back then. But when she gets a lead on someone who might be able to help her with her “condition,” she’s sucked into some intrigue, as well as a potential romance.
I really enjoyed Dora’s character. She’s sweet, sensible, and kind, all characteristics that I admire. She gets into some funny situations, but more often, she has genuinely meaningful interactions with the people around her, both positively and negatively. I loved seeing the bond between Dora and her cousin, Vanessa, as well as how she interacts with men of high society in London. There are some negative interactions, mainly coming from her aunt, who has absolutely no empathy towards Dora and her perplexing issue. In addition, there is a character who experienced an amputation, and there’s some ableism that comes up over the course of the story. During her stay in London, she’s also exposed to some of the unfair treatment towards the poor, and she becomes quite the champion, which I was thrilled to see.
Elias and Albert are the two main male characters, and I thoroughly fell in love with both of them. They’re genuinely good people, and work hard to change the things around them that they don’t like. But I think what won me over the most, is the way that they just accept Dora for who she is, and don’t see anything wrong with her, unlike most of the people around her.
The romance is a clean one, and it’s so sweet when it develops. It’s a great example of a sunshine/grumpy pairing, I was thrilled when these two characters finally understood the depth of their feelings for each other, and while it was quite a journey to get them there, it was beautiful to see how each of them brought out the best in each other, while fully accepting them for who they are. Despite Elias Wilder’s ornery disposition, Dora manages to win him over by being herself:
“‘I have been contrary since I was young,’ she said. ‘The moment that it became clear to me how much the Lord Sorcier wanted me to hate him, I think I must have become determined to do the opposite.’”
This is such a cute story, and I’m so glad to have gotten a copy of it, since I hadn’t heard about it beforehand. But this is definitely a series that I’m planning on continuing to read as soon as I can. It’s sweet without being too much, and a bit whimsical while still staying somewhat grounded. I wholeheartedly recommend this one.
People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.
Gasp Factor: 5
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Categories: Book Review