Review: Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch

Lord Thornby has been trapped on his father’s isolated Yorkshire estate for a year. There are no bars or chains; he simply can’t leave. His sanity is starting to fray. When industrial magician John Blake arrives to investigate a case of witchcraft, he finds the peculiar, arrogant Thornby as alarming as he is attractive. John soon finds himself caught up in a dark fairytale, where all the rules of magic—and love—are changed.

To set Thornby free, both men must face life-changing truths—and John must accept that the brave, witty man who’s winning his heart may also be about to break it. Can they escape a web of magic that’s as perilous as love?

4.5 Duly Impressed Hearts

I must say, this brought the best of historical romance and seamlessly mixed it with a new twist on magic as well as a known fantastical legend.

This starts off with Lord Thornby who is trapped. His father has made it his sole purpose to marry him off for personal greed and until Thornby agrees, he can’t leave the family estate. Literally. Surely that’s not possible right? Is Thornby slowly losing his mind from being confined for so long?

When mysterious guest Mr. Blake arrives, the hope he brings at possibly setting Thornby free is a thought too good to be true! However, his claims that magic is real is preposterous! Or is it?

I admit this started off a bit slow, but soon the tension builds, slowly ratcheting up the psychological suspense for our two protagonists. When things don’t easily fall into place and Blake can’t quite explain how and why Thornby is unable to move beyond the estate’s boundaries, the desperation is hard felt as time starts to run out.

What this exceeds at is the slow progression of the relationship between Thornby and Blake. Each are a lot suspicious of the other but as more and more is revealed, they realize that to have an ally, and an amorous one at that, is definitely a relief, a comfort, and a boon.

I quite enjoyed the subtle nuances of this story and the insecurities and vulnerabilities of these two men who were so used to being on their own, isolated due to their own disparate stations in life and by of course, their sexuality. What they discover in the other was something wonderful and refreshing which was often counterbalanced by the heavy atmospheric feel as the mystery and questions pile up. This all leads to an explosive reveal that had me at the edge of my seat and reading well into the night.

If you want something smart and different and full of weighty emotions, then this is it! Throw in a good dose of paranormal fantasy with nicely done dashes of sexy dirty, and one gets quite the welcome wonderful tale!

My only complaint is that Lee Welch hasn’t written more and that’s a completely unabashed plea to do so in this fascinating historical AU!

Thank you to the author/publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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