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(The Harwood Spellbook 0.5)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  252 ratings  ·  62 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 4.14  · 
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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
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.
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.
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
Anne - Books of My Heart
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 the

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.
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 8, 2019, ebooks
Very enjoyable to see Amy and Jonathan's courtship and a young Cassandra. Just what I needed while waiting for Thornbound to come out.
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.
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This story was wonderful, magical and loved the Boudicca-inspired theme!
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.
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
Jan 20, 2020 rated it liked it
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 -
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!
Intisar Khanani
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sweet romantic prequel to the Harwood Spellbook series, featuring a different main character (though we get to see a thirteen year old Cassandra, which was just delightful). You pretty much know from page one how this needs to end, but there's still some fun tension, a twist or two, and some deeper emotional growth. A lovely little read.
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lovely alternate historical fantasy novella. My only wish is that it was longer, which is usually my complaint when I enjoy the world. Happily, there are more stories!
Such a fun prequel to Snowspelled! It was lovely to see more of Amy and Jonathan, who are adorable, and I'm looking forward to reading more about this family.
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very sweet and uplifting little romance in a matriarchal society where women are the politicians and men study magic in order to become worthy political consorts.
Laura Lam
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, regency, 2018
A delightful read!
Miss Clark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I love this universe so much, I want to be a part of it. Stephanie Burgis is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.

Amy and Jonathan fired up my interest immediately in Snowspelled, so I was delighted to find that they had a novella all of their own. This story, full of politics and pining, set in a gender-bent society, is precious.
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this short novel for its charming conclusion and determined heroine (plural if we're counting Cassandra).
A 4.5-star Alt-Regency-England fantasy-romance. I enjoyed this Book 0.5 prequel novella at least as much as the twice-as-long "Book 1" novella, Snowspelled, despite the existence and presence of potentially dangerous fey playing such a negligible role this time.

I love this partly gender-swapped world. A passing historical mention tells us that the Boudiccate (Angland's lady political leaders) strengthened their country by forging treaties with other empires around the world, rather than with
Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2018
These are trying times that we're currently in. Besides all the current shite that's going on in America and in Australia and everywhere else that seem to be morally bankrupt I have some personal things going on in my life, and at the end of the day sometimes all we have are books. Stephanie Burgis is beyond kind and offered free copies of this prequel novella in order to spread some comfort where she can - and it worked. I leapt at the chance as Snowspelled was one of my instant favourite reads ...more
Kathy Martin
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amy Standish is a well-to-do orphan who has been passed around her family like some unwanted parcel. She's never been neglected but no one has ever loved her either. Now she has a change to further her political ambitions as the secretary to Miranda Harwood who is one of the most respected members of the Boudiccate.

Her path is clear. Learn everything she can from her mentor, make the contacts she needs to further her political career, and find a magician to marry. But Miranda's son Jonathan is a
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I requested this from the author, but when I started reading I thought, "Hmmm this seems very familiar." Only to finally connect the dots that I had already read this story in Stephanie Burgis' wonderful anthology The Underwater Ballroom Society . Awkward... But hey, I'm so happy she released this short story on its own, and check out the GORGEOUS cover art!

Here is my (short) review for this particular story, taken from my overall review of the collection that I published back in April:

Elizabeth A
Mar 29, 2019 rated it liked it
The romance & magical elements of this story were very charming, & it was nice to see Amy & Jonathan at an earlier point in their relationship, but the gender flipped world seemed more tenuous here than in the 1st story. For instance, this story really harps on how women aren't allowed to practice magic, but as the dominant sex, shouldn't they be? Maybe they would be seen condescendingly as more "in touch with their emotions" (just like men doing traditionally female jobs in our ...more
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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 Thornbound).

To get early sneak peeks at new

Other books in the series

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