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(The Harwood Spellbook #0.5)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  413 ratings  ·  105 reviews
In the world of the Harwood Spellbook, 19th-century Angland is ruled by a powerful group of women known as the Boudiccate - but in order to become a member of that elite group, any ambitious young politician must satisfy tradition by taking a gentleman mage for her husband.

Amy Standish is a born politician...but Jonathan Harwood is her greatest temptation. On the night of
75 pages
Published April 30th 2018
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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Richard Derus
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Real Rating: 3.75* of five

Quite an enchanting tale of the reversal of gender roles in a magjickqal England.

I've mentioned before that I take careful note of the identity of a book's blurbers. Praise from someone whose work I don't like is an effective warn-off; in this case, two authors whose work I very much appreciate (K.J. Charles, Aliette de Bodard) blurbed this book. My tasteful friend Roni, however, gets all the credit for making me aware that it existed at all!

This short fantasy novella s
Mar 30, 2018 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
ETA: And Spellswept is available NOW as an individual ebook! (With a paperback edition to follow within a week.) Huzzah! :)

Spellswept is Jonathan's and Amy's story, and it was SO much fun to write! It contains forbidden romance, dangerous magic, and political intrigue in an underwater, you know: What could possibly go wrong? ;)

(It's a prequel to Snowspelled, set several years earlier and from a different perspective, so it should be a perfectly fine entryway to the series for new r

Amy was already a beloved character in Snowspelled but to hear her voice was an added bonus. Her focus in what she wants to achieve is masterly but she doesn’t let this blinker her from other facts, important ones, either. She is able to weight them and make the difficult and courageous decisions (view spoiler).

This short story/novella is pretty much Amy and Jonathan’s ‘story’, while giving us more details on this world and how it functions. It
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
4 stars--I really liked it.

The Harwood Spellbook series of novellas is light fantasy, with lots of romance--enjoyable, quick books that make me smile. This prequel was a fun introduction to the setting and a fast read. Not earth-shattering literature, but sometimes you just want a happy, feel-good story about magic and nobles and love. Recommended for romance readers.
Oooh, I liked the romance in this a lot. I mean, it's a novella, so you don't get a lot, but it's GREAT.

Not 100% sure about the world. It still is a lot of men telling women they can't do things!
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I've been a fan of fantasy romance for some time and it's often difficult to find stories which so perfectly combine the genres while remaining true to each of them. Stephanie Burgis is one of the best authors out there writing fantasy romance so I definitely recommend checking out her work.
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a shorter novella that fills in the background a few years earlier from the wonderful Snowspelled. In that story the main character is Cassandra Harwood, and she's present here as a teenager who is hiding her skill at magic, but the main story is about Amy Standish, the protégé of Miranda Harwood. In this world upper class men are expected to become wizards and upper class women politicians, with the ultimate objective to be part of Angland's ruling council, the Boudiccate. Boudiccate me ...more
Jen (That's What I'm Talking About)
This novella is packaged with Snowspelled, the first book in the series, in the audiobook produced by Tantor Audio (2019).

Spellswept is the prequel to the Harwood Spellbook series. It is shared in the third person POV of Amy. The world is an alternate dimension/timeline fantasy Angland where men have magic abilities and women are shrewd politicians. Amy, an orphan, earned a prestigious position as the assistant to Miranda Harwood, a powerful member of the ruling Boudiccate. Amy adores her mento
katayoun Masoodi
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, ebook
a very delightful short story, telling the amy and jonathan's story, set in the most exciting world of hardwood spellbook series, can't wait for the second hardwood book to come out and now i can see why amy was so delightful the few times we get to see her in snowspelled and hope to see more of her and jonothan in thornbound
The short story is out alone but it's also available in The Underwater Ballroom Society collection.

I liked this look at Amy, and her relationship with Jonathan, but I found the happy ending a little hollow given what I know happens to Amy’s political career anyway. I like the idea of the political power being in the hands of women in this world, but I’m not sure it feels like the power dynamics are truly flipped, or even equal. These are nice, easy to read stories, but I do feel myself wanting more from them.
Anne - Books of My Heart
Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart

Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I was VERY excited to get Snowspelled on Audio because the author had offered me the ebook to review when I was first starting this blog and I just couldn't do it at the time. But I wanted it.  When I started listening, it was a prequel novella and I thought, ok.  But it was better than ok, it was amazing!

It is about a third of
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-fantasy
Cute short story/novella prequel to the Harwood Spellbook. It's definitely very short (well, novella/short story) but gives a great feel for the world and key characters in the Harwood Spellbook series. I love the world Ms Burgis has developed, in which women are the politicians and rulers. Each ruling woman MUST marry a mage; that's just the way it is, and NO woman is a mage. Well, this prequel begins to turn the world upside down. I can't wait to read book #1 in the series to see what happens ...more
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 8, ebooks, 2019
Very enjoyable to see Amy and Jonathan's courtship and a young Cassandra. Just what I needed while waiting for Thornbound to come out. ...more
Amy is an orphan but she managed to earn a job as personal assistant to Miranda Harwood, a respected member of the Angland parliament. As she's a natural politician it is expected that Amy will follow in her mentor's footsteps and join the Boudiccate but to do that first she must marry a respected magician. Tonight at the Harwood's Spring Solstice Ball she is expected to announce her engagement but really her heart is set on the one man she can never have, Miranda's son Jonathan. It would be a r ...more
Oh, entirely adorable. I love Amy and Jonathan SO much and honestly would love to see them progressing as a power couple? SO wholesome and sweet and despite fully knowing who ended up with who (this is a prequel novella) I was still horrified and unsure at the prospect that Amy would end up with the wrong person. Just a delight.
Kathryn Baron
May 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020, magic-regency
A pleasant enough prequel to the series. The world seems interesting, with some role reversal (men are seen as too emotional to be politicians) and a regency romance sensibility.

After I read the sequels I may care more about the characters and this story - right now this is OK, but no more.
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a fun prequel novelette that takes place before Snowspelled and shows us the official start of Amy and Jonathan's relationship. I really enjoyed how the stakes were completely focused on the family for this one. It was also great to see some of Miranda (Cassandra & Jonathan's mother) in this book. There's also magic, and dancing, and romance, but the best part is the family dynamic.

I greatly appreciate the cover making it clear that our main character, Amy, is a woman of color. There was
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This story was wonderful, magical and loved the Boudicca-inspired theme!
Jadey (the Bookish)

This was definitely my favourite out of the series! I really wish more time was given to describing the setting (an underwater ballroom) though because what a magical place! Would have loved to be able to recreate it in my mind with more detail.
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun prequel short story to Snowspelled, telling how Cassandra’s brother Jonathan and sister-in-law Amy decided they were meant for each other.
Joanna Bennett
Rating: 2.5

Since it's very short its hard to really feel anything for the characters or the world the author has created. I do like the writing though.
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing and so sweet! Emma Newman's audio narration is top notch. Full review to come. ...more
Adia Madjaric
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, october-2018
Disclaimer: I received an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I was excited to read this book as soon as I heard it came out, but I was even more excited to read it after I saw that it’s a prequel. I love detailed backstories, and what better way to do it than with a prequel.
This series takes place in such a beautifully written world, and the switched gender roles make it even better. The line, “‘I understand that gentlemen are the more emotional sex, but I have utter fa
Jan 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
This story was SUPER ADORABLE!

I loved this society that is run by women, and the men are the ~helper magicians and they handle magic not politics because they're "too emotional" [snerk!]

Also that Amy is Black and amazing - she's run this awesome event, impressed her mentor who is one of the most influential women in the country.
That she's turning everything on its ear - along with Cassandra - that this 13 year old girl who is gifted with magic inspires her to work for change.

And for Jonathan - w
Sadie Slater
May 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Stephanie Burgis's novella Spellswept is a prequel to Snowspelled, which I read and enjoyed last year. It's set some years before Snowspelled and focuses on Amy Standish, a young woman whose political ambitions in which make it vital for her to make a good match. Set in a single night, during a ball in a fabulous underwater ballroom, this is a delightful romance which features a brilliantly competent, confident heroine, delightfully supportive family relationships and a fantastic mentor/mentee r ...more
Heather Jones
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
A prequel best read after you’d been introduced to the Harwood Spellbook series. The (future) sister-in-law of the central character of Snowspelled is a strong-willed woman who goes after what (and who) she wants and brings about a satisfying conclusion by refusing to abandon the dreams of any of the people she loves. I particularly enjoyed the casual ethnic diversity of the characters. See my review of the entire series so far on my blog. ...more
Miss K
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another delightful story in the Harwood Spellbook series of historical fantasy, this one is actually a prequel to Snowspelled which I read first. But it also works in this order, and it's so much fun to see Amy's background story brought to foreground, and a younger Cassandra and a younger Jonathan, and the setting of the ballroom under a lake was wonderful. Looking forward to reading more! ...more
Uudenkuun Emilia
Jan 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable prequel to the series. I enjoyed Amy's perspective: she's a delightfully strong-willed and caring character. This had a great amount of plot for the short novella length, everything just worked really well. It's honestly amazing how much plot, worldbuilding, and character Burgis fits into this length.

I read this after reading Snowspelled, but had I read Spellswept in the original anthology it appeared in, I would certainly have wanted more in this world - so I'm glad there is m
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Discovered I already owned this prequel novella to the novel Snowspelled that I finished last night - it was first published in the anthology The Underwater Ballroom Society which I bought for the Iona Datt Sharma story - so of course I had to read it straight away. It’s the backstory Amy and Jonathan, brother and sister-in-law of the main character from the novel, and it’s a lovely little story about breaking with society’s rules to do what your heart desires. Just as charming as Snowspelled!
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Definitively a 3.5

This was so adorable, a Regency-inspired fantasy where women are the politicians and emotional men do the magic. The characters are supremely adorable, and the romance was cute. The only downside was the brevity of it, but it did its part in getting me super excited to go through the Harwood Spellbook.
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I grew up in America, but now I live in Wales with my husband, fellow writer Patrick Samphire, our sons, "Mr Darcy" and "Mr X", and our sweet (and extremely vocal) tabby cat, Pebbles. I write fun, funny MG fantasy novels (most recently The Princess who Flew with Dragons) and wildly romantic adult historical fantasy novels and novellas (most recently Moontangled).

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Other books in the series

The Harwood Spellbook (2 books)
  • Snowspelled (The Harwood Spellbook, #1)
  • Thornbound (The Harwood Spellbook, #2)

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