The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk was shortlisted for Canada Reads 2021. I probably would not have picked up if it weren’t for that. It grabbed me from the beginning because the main character Beatrice needs to find a book. So the story begins with a book and a bookstore. My love for Beatrice was instant.
Beatrice is not looking for just any book but she is looking for a grimoire or (book of spells). She sees it in the store window and when she goes to get it, there is another woman there who snags the book from her. This book is incredibly important to Beatrice because her greatest desire is to become a magus. She is a sorcerer who practices magic in secret and in order to become a magus she needs to learn the spells. Beatrice calls upon a spirit to help her, but it will cost her. It is decided that the two people who want the book will need to share it and read it together. That is how Beatrice gets involved with Brother and sister, Ianthe and Ysbeta Lavan.
The fact that Beatrice wants to be a magus is a problem for a couple of reasons:
1. She is a woman and the expectation is that she will be married and have children which is her duty.
2. Her family is losing all of their money and she is their only hope of saving their name and gaining back some wealth but in order to do so she must enter the bargaining season for marriage.
Throughout the book, Beatrice struggles with having to make this choice.
Although, I said that the book grabbed me from the beginning, my interest was not consistent. I got a little bored of being told the same thing over and over again. I felt like I was being told on every other page that she couldn’t practice magic because she was a woman. I get it was an issue, but I think being told once or twice and then having it shown in various ways would have made it a bit stronger. And it really is not a genre I’m drawn to so maybe that was the reason as well. I did like the characters. I thought they were ok, but I wasn’t enamoured with any of them and nothing in the plot or story was surprising for me.
Bookworm Rating: 🐛🐛🐛