Lord Thornby has been trapped on his father’s isolated Yorkshire estate for a year. There are no bars or chains; he simply can’t leave. His sanity is starting to fray. When industrial magician John Blake arrives to investigate a case of witchcraft, he finds the peculiar, arrogant Thornby as alarming as he is attractive. John soon finds himself caught up in a dark fairytale, where all the rules of magic—and love—are changed.
To set Thornby free, both men must face life-changing truths—and John must accept that the brave, witty man who’s winning his heart may also be about to break it. Can they escape a web of magic that’s as perilous as love?
Warning: Do not start this book after midnight unless you have the next day off from work. Salt Magic, Skin Magic was a seriously engaging read from start to finish and if I could’ve, I probably would’ve devoured the entire thing in one sitting.
I don’t often have the best of luck with this subgenre, so Welch’s writing was a breath of fresh air and the unfolding of Soren and John’s story an absolute delight. The book was well paced with an intriguing plot and plenty of surprises. The author was quick to set a decidedly gothic atmosphere to the tale, using the crumbling estate and the lonely moors of northern England to full effect. The mystery surrounding Soren’s state of captivity, not to mention the other puzzling occurrences around Raskelf Hall, was well drawn out and kept me intrigued. Even towards the end when I thought I had it all figured out, the author had one last reveal up their sleeve that made everything click into place very cleverly indeed.
I loved the magical worldbuilding, from the various disciplines of study right up to its practical applications in the “modern” world. I really appreciated the way John and his abilities played a significant role in the story and I really loved the special connection he had with the instruments of his “trade.”
Indeed, there were a lot of loving details throughout the book not least of which was evident in the carefully nurtured relationship between Soren and John. I really enjoyed watching trust overcome suspicion and paranoia, but even I could not have guessed that their gentle camaraderie would give way to smoking hot encounters in which their difference in class was tested and toyed with to very… ahem satisfying results. I also really liked both men as individuals and appreciated the way Soren’s character transformed from the self-indulgent man about town to the person he becomes in the end.
To be honest, the cover art was for me the only questionable thing about this book, and I was happy I looked past it. If you’re into paranormal, this book will be right up your alley. And if paranormal isn’t your usual thing, Salt Magic, Skin Magic might be just the thing to tempt you to the dark side.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.