Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Arcana” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(Sylvani #1)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  457 ratings  ·  105 reviews
A romantic, suspenseful, genre-bending debut set in Edwardian London.

Amid the sumptuous backdrop of the London season in 1905, headstrong Katherine Sinclair must join the ranks of debutantes vying for suitors. Unfortunately for Katherine, she cannot imagine anything more loathsome—or dangerous. To help ease her entrance into society, Katherine’s family has elicited the ass
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 11th 2014 by Talos (first published November 4th 2014)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Arcana, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Arcana

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  457 ratings  ·  105 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Arcana
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Arcana is a historical romance with a big flare of paranormal on the side.

A young debutant, Katherine Sinclair, is about to make her debut. Her father arranges for her coming out with her grandmother and the assistance of the Earl of Thornewood. Quickly, Katherine realize that her coming out is much more dangerous than she ever imagined. As a woman with the gift of Arcana, Katherine must weed out friend from foe...but foe is lying closer to home than she can ever imagine.

Suspicions and danger ab
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As much as she loathed the pomp and circumstance, Katherine Sinclair was about to make her debut into London society. When London’s most eligible bachelor, the Earl of Thornewood is conscripted to be her companion, Katherine had no idea he would be both charming and frustrating in equal measures.

Katherine has a secret, one that would mark her as a pariah. She has a gift, a gift that could cost her her life, a gift that will make her question everyone she meets, including the seemingly genuine Ea
Wow. That's about all I could think while I was reading this book. I hate to admit that I probably wouldn't have found this book on my own, but I was lucky enough to have someone from Skyhorse publishing reach out and offer to send me some books in exchange for some reviews/ picture on my IG account. I obliged and she sent me this and one other and all I can say is I am so thankful. 

The world-building and the progression of the storyline in this book are both absolutely perfect. As soon as I got
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

This was such an interesting mix of historical romance and a little bit of fantasy. The heroine, Katherine, lives in England at a time when people owning cars is a relatively rare thing, so this takes place in whatever time period that is - Edwardian? I have no idea about these things LOL. This is primarily a story of a young woman's London debut, complete with courtship and balls, so this would be a straight up historical romance. That is, if it wasn't for the fact that Katherine also
Karina Sumner-Smith
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Delightful! Leake’s debut is a charming, romantic tale that sparkles with otherworldly magic.
Talk Supe
Nov 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
ARCANA was a very pleasant surprise. As the cover art did nothing for me (cover snob moment!) I instead focused on the Edwardian Era setting (Downton Abbey) instead which Jessica Leaks depicted so well! The aristocracy and their elitist rules, the balls, debut, coming out party, the hunt for a husband, the romantic tension! Gah its so good it almost felt like I read historical romance instead of fantasy set in an era long gone.

ARCANA's myth is fae-like and though it plays an important role in t
Brandy Wilkes
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
WOW!!! What a great debut novel. The world that Jessica creates is so very fascinating. Not only did she create one world, but two! Both fascinating in their own right! I want to visit her world and live in it. I want to dance with Lord Thornewood. I want to have my own sprit animal! I cannot wait for further installments in the Arcana series....
Mandie Baxter
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio-book
11/23/14-11/29/14: Read the original drafts and even know what would happen the finished draft kept me so engaged!!!

Love this book so much and can't wait for everyone to experience the magic within!
Julie Reece
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Can't wait for everyone to read this story. In fact, I can't wait to read it again!!! ...more
Arcana is a historical fantasy set in Edwardian London. Katherine Sinclair has always been an unconventional young lady, but when she presses her luck one time too many, her father decides it’s time for her to make her societal debut. At eighteen, Katherine chafes at the restrictions placed on her by virtue of her sex and station. And if these restrictions weren’t enough, Katherine also struggles with the necessity to keep her magical abilities secret. Only her family knows her true abilities, a ...more
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Where do I even begin? If Jessica Leake had a library full of books I would go and purchase every one! Arcana is a fabulous story and I was hooked! This book begins with the presentation of our heroine, Katherine. We are immediately introduced to her special abilities and proceed to embark on a whirlwind fantasy adventure. This book is set in England in 1905, so naturally we are taken on an adventure through high society London and debutant balls. Katherine is forced to London where she is spend ...more
Tressa (Wishful Endings)
I love historical romances, especially when there is a creative or intriguing twist to the story. In Arcana the twist has to do with Katherine's (and the women in her family) ability to use Arcana, or absorb energy and use it to heal or to exert some control over other things. The story becomes further intriguing as Katherine finds that she will face two suitors, one who will become a friend and one who will become a foe.

I loved the beginning of this story! I loved the setting and the way the st
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure what, exactly, worked so well with Arcana but I really, really liked this one.

It wasn't the prose or writing style - if anything, it's written rather plainly. It's not a terribly unique plot - Arcana is just another word for "magic." It's also not the characters - they weren't terribly well developed.

Maybe Arcana just came along at the right time and I was in the right place, because I literally couldn't put it down.

The setting reminded me of Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Bea
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
3 1/2 Stars for an intriguing mashup of fantasy, historical and paranormal romance.

Katherine is the kind of heroine I like. She speaks her mind, bends the rules and is loyal to her family. The first scene we learn her love of her family and are introduced to her power.

The world building felt very organic and the fantasy element really added dimension to this story.

Katherine is having her first season in London --begrudgingly. She is pursued by two handsome, and debonaire lords. Her mother long s
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
It is 1905, and 18-year-old Katherine Sinclair is unlike other young ladies. She has inherited the gift of arcana from her mother, which is power derived from the sun allowing her to manipulate elements to heal people and animals. Katherine has enjoyed freedom in the country with her widowed father, as well as with her brother and sister, but her father insists she and her sister join their grandmother in London to make her debut into London society. Read the rest of the review on my blog: http: ...more
Oct 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss for an honest review. I really loved this book! It was unique and I couldn't put it down. I could picture Wren's debut and just imagine how horrible it would be to live in a time where women have no say in their futures. I hope Jessica will write more about Arcana, maybe stories about Wren's siblings. Thank you for the opportunity to read this book. I loved it! ...more
Eryn Chickey
Oct 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely LOVED this book! The beginning slowed down for at bit, and being that I have a knowledge for how story writing works, I knew it would pick up--and it did to the point where I couldn't put it down! I was sad that it ended knowing there was nothing else to read. I hope this author writes more books with the character's because there are so many routes to go! ...more
Elizabeth May
Aug 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I proudly blurbed this book! :) This is my blurb:

"Leake weaves together a beautifully rendered historical setting, magic and romance in this stunning debut."
Cyndy Deleon
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Absolutely loved this book!
I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

is the debut novel of author Jessica Leake and is set in early 1900s London. Eighteen year old Katherine Sinclair is sent by her father to live with her grandmother in London for her debut and she can think of no worse punishment. You see, her mother was not human but Sylvani, making Katherine half-Sylvani. The Sylvani
Michelle Wrona
This review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more reviews!

Historical romances are really not for me. I've went through so many, coming from Cassandra Clare and Victoria Schwab, and I've only been happy with a few. Jessica Leake has changed that for me, and I am loving this idea of fantasy-romance-historical. Arcana was that book that you will end up dreaming about for decades.

"I won't have you blame yourself," Lord Thornewood says sharply. I shrug and look out the wi
Brittany Rehage
Sep 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Arcana started off a little shaky for me. It wasn't that it was bad, but it didn't hook me right away. I continued reading, though, mostly because I'm a history nut and this book has some history in it. After the rocky start, things really started to pick up, and I found myself unable to put the book down until I had finished.

Katherine Sinclair is different from most people in more than a few ways. As a girl, she's completely uninterested in going to London for her debut. She doesn't really thi
Aug 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review was originally posted on Avid Reviews, where you can now enter to win a copy of Arcana and a 25$ Amazon gift card:

I was pleasantly surprised by how easily this novel captured my attention and ignited my imagination. Arcana is a story that both emotionally involves the reader and contains a thrilling plot. In addition, Katherine is an incredibly sympathetic protagonist, and a refreshingly strong female character. Often novels set in the early 1
Grace Fonseca
Nov 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
A deliciously flavored novel that has you absorbed from the second you start reading it. Katherine Sinclair has a very special gift or power that she inherited from her mother which makes her very unique. Plus she is a young woman who has to be careful.

What I like about this book was that it read a lot like a historical romance at times. Katherine does something with her arcana and uses it to help her brother not get hurt. Of course, someone sees her using it and then her father says that she ne
Sep 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received an e-galley from edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Honestly, I'm not quite sure what to say about 'Arcana'. In truth, the story and the characters (*sighs*, Colin Thornewood, you gorgeous specimen you!) were extremely likeable and compelling, but I felt like sometimes the author was trying maybe a little too hard. Although Wren was a delight as a narrator, there were instances of telling, not showing, that jarred from the rest of the story, stopping the flow of the narrative.
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adored this book. I had been in the mood for a fun, sweet, yet unpredictable romance, and this book hit the spot perfectly.

Katherine, our heroine, reminded me a bit of Lizzy Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, which is certainly a good thing! I loved the dialogue and witty banter, and was smiling as I read much of the time. The chemistry between the hero and heroine was very well rendered and added a great deal to the book. The fantasy elements were just right - not too much and not
Nov 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Solid writing and pacing that could match a stallion make this a must-read fantasy. The London setting reminded me of Downton Abbey and Leake nails the voice. I liked Wren's relationships with her siblings and the magical abilities were nicely explained. Wren (Katherine) herself is feisty, with a sharp wit and equally sharp tongue.

"I've always thought of it as part of Mama, as it is gentle like her but also strong, like the unexpected strength of silk." (p. 18)

"You wear anger beautifully though.
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable, starts a tad slow with the beginning going a bit overboard in descriptions and adjectives while she sets her scene. Fun, predictable and simplistic with all the tropes, nothing new, but a pleasant read for those us us who can forgive the aforementioned. I'll read more by this author. ...more
Dec 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was a very happy surprise, an historical romance with a fantasy twist, and I enjoyed it a lot! Really enjoyed the mix of the to genrer and would love to read other books like this
An Advanced Reader Copy was provided by the publisher for review. Quotes pulled from the ARC may be incorrect and may be subject to change.

Katherine lives with her father and siblings in the English countryside, riding her horse and traipsing the fields. Even though she doesn't act like a lady should be, that doesn't stop her father from turning her into a proper lady. He sends her off to her Grandmother's home in London for the debut season. Little does anyone know, Katherine is hiding a secret
« previous 1 3 4 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • World Whisperer
  • A Duke for Miss Daisy (A Wallflower's Wish, #1)
  • Kissing the Enemy (Scandals and Spies, #1)
  • Half a Soul (Regency Faerie Tales, #1)
  • Dawn's Promise (Silent Wings #1)
  • The Paid Companion
  • Romancing the Rake (Brotherhood of the Black Tartan #2)
  • The Viscount's Tempting Minx (The Dukes of War, #1)
  • Stranded (The Shorten Chronicles, #1)
  • The Equalizer (Equalizer #1)
  • Shadow Knights (Knights of the Realm, #2)
  • Wonderful (Medieval Trilogy, #1)
  • In a Field of Blue
  • The Painter (Silver Linings Mysteries, #4)
  • The Children's Block: Based on a True Story by an Auschwitz Survivor
  • SEAL Justice (Brotherhood Protectors, #13)
  • Hidden Knights (Knights of the Realm, #3)
  • Ten Things I Hate About the Duke (Difficult Dukes, #2)
See similar books…
Once upon a time, Jessica Leake was a psychotherapist, but even though she loved her clients, she couldn't stop writing. She wrote and wrote until she got her first book published, and then she wrote some more. In between all that writing she had four beautiful and hilarious children with her husband (best friend and man she's known since high school; also hilarious), moved back to her adopted hom ...more

Other books in the series

Sylvani (2 books)
  • The Order of the Eternal Sun: A Novel of the Sylvani

News & Interviews

  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
20 likes · 10 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“People of Dyflin, King Sigtrygg is dead. Behold your new queen, Queen Ciara!” 0 likes
More quotes…