Review: Half a Soul by Olivia Atwater

52654173._sy475_This book has been heavily, heavily recommended to me even by people who I didn’t really expect a rec for a regency fantasy romance from (yes you, Esme).

Suffice to say that as soon as I had a few free hours, I was on it!

It’s difficult to find a husband in Regency England when you’re a young lady with only half a soul.

Ever since a faerie cursed her, Theodora Ettings has had no sense of fear, embarrassment, or even happiness—a condition which makes her sadly prone to accidental scandal. Dora’s only goal for the London Season this year is to stay quiet and avoid upsetting her cousin’s chances at a husband… but when the Lord Sorcier of England learns of her condition, she finds herself drawn ever more deeply into the tumultuous concerns of magicians and faeries.

Lord Elias Wilder is handsome, strange, and utterly uncouth—but gossip says that he regularly performs three impossible things before breakfast, and he is willing to help Dora restore her missing half. If Dora’s reputation can survive both her ongoing curse and her sudden connection with the least-liked man in all of high society, then she may yet reclaim her normal place in the world… but the longer Dora spends with Elias Wilder, the more she begins to suspect that one may indeed fall in love, even with only half a soul.


This is the story of Theodora Ettings, who was cursed by a faerie as a child, and has since only had half a soul. What that means is that Dora is often oblivious of her own strangeness. She doesn’t feel emotions quite as strongly as average people, and tends to be quite to-the-point and blunt, which has caused her some scandal in the past.

Dora is a ward of her Aunt, since her parents have died, and her best friend is her cousin, Vanessa, who she describes as something like a warm lantern or beacon to her. As Vanessa has come of an age to start looking for suitors, she decides that they may try to spend the season in London. While they’re there, Vanessa has heard that the Lord Sorcier (the King’s magician, more or less) has been known to do three impossible things before breakfast, so, if there’s anyone who may be able to repair a soul, it must be him.

And many adorable regency shenanigans were had.

I listened to this book in one day, and I really enjoyed absolutely every little bit of it. Dora is a great character, because what she lacks in the average emotional range, she has an abundant amount of wry snarky bluntness that made me chuckle more than once. So much so that she can even make Elias Wilder, the grumpiest and most ungentlemanly magician the world has ever known, lower his wards around her. The relationship between them was slow burning and often innocently adorable. It made this a lovely warm and fuzzy book to listen to on an otherwise gloomy day. It got me in the feels a few times (thanks, Elias 😭) but in the best way, in the end, I assure you!

I listened to the audiobook and I have to say that the narrator, Rafe Beckley, did a great job. Dora’s aunt and her friend (‘The Hens’) were both presented as appropriately hennish, Dora was very much had the blunt and right-to-the-point personality that I imagined, and Elias, who was described as sounding as though he’s from The North, did indeed sound as such. A great story, well narrated.

All told, I had a wonderful time with the whole thing, and I recommend it to anyone that likes a fantasy romance, a regency romance, or a fantasy of manners. This one combines pretty much all three of those things into one delightful package. I had 5/5 stars of a good time with this one! I can’t wait to read the next story in the series!

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