Serena’s Review: “Mysteries of Thorn Manor”

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Book: “Mysteries of Thorn Manor” by Margaret Rogerson

Publishing Info:Margaret K. McElderry Books, January 2023

Where Did I Get this Book: Edelweiss+

Where Can You Get this Book: Amazon | IndieBound | WorldCat

Book Description: Elisabeth Scrivener is finally settling into her new life with sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn. Now that their demon companion Silas has returned, so has scrutiny from nosy reporters hungry for gossip about the city’s most powerful sorcerer and the librarian who stole his heart. But something strange is afoot at Thorn Manor: the estate’s wards, which are meant to keep their home safe, are acting up and forcibly trapping the Manor’s occupants inside. Surely it must be a coincidence that this happened just as Nathaniel and Elisabeth started getting closer to one another…

With no access to the outside world, Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas – along with their new maid Mercy – will have to work together to discover the source of the magic behind the malfunctioning wards before they’re due to host the city’s Midwinter Ball. Not an easy task when the house is filled with unexpected secrets, and all Elisabeth can think about is kissing Nathaniel in peace. But when it becomes clear that the house, influenced by the magic of Nathaniel’s ancestors, requires a price for its obedience, Elisabeth and Nathaniel will have to lean on their connection like never before to set things right.

Previously Reviewed: “Sorcery of Thorns”

Review: I don’t think I can express exactly how excited I was when I saw this title pop up on Edelweiss+. A sequel to “Sorcery of Thorns” that would give all the juicy details about Elisabeth and Nathaniel’s developing relationship? Yes, please! The only dampener being that it was a novella instead of a full-length sequel. But hey, I’ll take what I can get.

Its been a few months since the fantastical events that changed her life, and Elisabeth is still slowly becoming comfortable with her new circumstances. So much that is unknown surrounds her, be that the full history of her love, Nathaniel, the mysteries of the demon Silas whose motives are his own, or even the secrets that are hidden within the walls of the manor itself. And when the house itself turns against them, all three will have to work together to put things to right before the face their greatest test yet: a Midwinter Ball.

Margaret Rogerson essentially described this book as “an author writing fanfiction for their own work.” And I have only one thing to say to that: why don’t more authors do this?? There’s a reasons fans turn to fanfiction in the first place. Often, it is a place to find quieter, more character-centric works that dive into the smaller moments that wouldn’t make it onto the page in a full novel. (Obviously, this is not always the case, but I think the generalization stands for much of it). I know for my own part, I often turn to fanfiction when I want, essentially, a cozy read with familiar, beloved characters who I want to spend more time with. So it’s almost a “smack the forehead” level of obvious that authors themselves could write books like this and then have them gobbled up by their fans. I guess the question would be whether or not publishers would print these types of books. Well, I hope this book is a massive success and proves that this is viable route for novellas like this in the future.

I loved everything about this book. It did feel like fanfiction in the best of all ways. Just one lovely character moment after another. Not only do we get a lot more development for Nathaniel and Elisabeth (two characters whose romance only barely began by the end of the first novel itself), but we also get many more moments between Silas and these two characters as well. In some ways, Silas’s moments were even more compelling than the romance. Yes, the relationship between Nathaniel and Elisabeth and funny, sweet, and adorable, but the complicated connections that Silas has to them both held a lot more nuance. It was the sort of thing where the relationships that had a hint of pain and torment were just a bit more compelling than the straight-forwardly sweet one. This is in no way a slight against the central romance, just that I think Silas’s history and nature added a level of complexity to his relationship with Nathaniel and Elisabeth that I found extremely riveting.

I also really liked the fantasy elements we had here. Again, because this is a novella with a decidedly cozy tone, there was nothing overtly threatening or dark. Instead, the action came through moments of magical absurdity, such as a house fighting against its occupants using a grandmother’s clothes as weapons. Throughout the book, it was exciting to follow Elisabeth as she uncovered more and more about the house and the previous occupants who left their mark upon it. I also really enjoyed the final third of the book, neatly wrapping up all the loose ends and throwing in one last excellent twist.

I loved this book. It was the kind of story that I’ll likely read again and again next to a fire on a cold, winter’s night. I know I’ve used the word “cozy” a few times, but that really sums it up well. I do think it’s necessary to read “Sorcery of Thorns” before this one, however, as there is a lot of backstory there that is needed to understand the dynamics we get on the page here. But for fans of that book, this is definitely a must!

Rating 8: A perfect slice of life from characters I was dying to hear more from! Sweet, funny, and surprisingly heart-felt, this is a must read for fans of “Sorcery of Thorns.”

Reader’s Advisory:

“Mysteries of Thorn Manor” can be found on this Goodreads list: Novels of “Thorns”.

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