The Midnight Bargain

The Midnight Bargain

Book - 2020
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The Midnight Bargain is a story "set in a world reminiscent of Regency England, where women's magic is taken from them when they marry. A sorceress must balance her desire to become the first great female magician against her duty to her family."--Publisher's description.
Publisher: New York, New York : Erewhon, ©2020.
ISBN: 9781645660071
Characteristics: 375 pages ;,23 cm.

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clgeorge
May 13, 2021

loved it and I think the theme of 2 strong heroines rejecting society's expectation that women happily sacrifice their dreams and their innate gifts so that men can have it all on the backs of women being held back, controlled, and shoved into narrow roles will resonate strongly with a female reader. Beatrice's story was happily played out to a satisfying conclusion and the door is left open for future books to tell the story of friend Ysbeta or younger sibling Harriet in this intriguing romantic fantasy world of magic users.

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TEENREVIEWBOARD
Apr 21, 2021

I thoroughly enjoyed this fantasy adventure in which a sorceress must choose between the dream she’s wanted since childhood and love.

I must admit I was somewhat frustrated by the love interest’s inability to understand how truly impossible this situation was, but if anything it enhanced the story, because the setting is a patriarchal society that cruelly removes a woman’s magic when she marries. As a man, he was raised with the worldview that such barbaric measures may be necessary, but he was easily swayed to her point of view, which was refreshing.

In addition, the heartwarming friendships and complicated societal pressures made this thoroughly entertaining and interesting to read, and I’m happy I did. Beatrice and Ysbeta both represent the most amazing parts of friendship—having someone by your side no matter what. 4/5 stars
@Robin of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

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AureliaReads
Apr 02, 2021

Found this very tedious and the writing kind of ---- clumsy and trying too hard. The first 50 pages repeat over and over that she wants to be a sorceress and that society is very unfair to block women from doing this, as if the author thinks readers won't grasp the concept the 3rd or 4th -- or 7th time it is explained. The fantasy world of fancy ball gowns and handsome beaux was equally tedious. A book for preteen readers ?

r
rixonkj
Mar 17, 2021

I've seen the author describe this book as "Pokemon, but make it Jane Austen," which is a delightful pitch for a delightful book. It's quite feminist, with two lovely sibling relationships and some painfully true commentary on women's rights. Strong recommend!

A warm fantasy romance quite worthy of the read, set in 19th century worldly settings, but with magic, sumptuous clothing, and righteous womanhood.

Kris--Pt. Roberts

Stéphanie_biblio Mar 10, 2021

This book is like a Jane Austen novel with magic...and feminism. Wonderful read. It is the equivalent of a light and delicate pastry for the mind.

STPL_JessH Mar 02, 2021

A book that begins with an argument over a magical book?! Yes, please! This is a bit like Belgravia with undercurrents of sorcery. It is an alternate reality where photos of young eligible women hang in a portrait gallery at the beginning of "Bargaining Season" which is exactly what you think it is. There is quite a bit of social commentary around women's rights and what it means to give up gifts and talents in order to marry. It's a fast read with lots of detail. So, if you enjoy historical regency fiction, then check it out!

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Activevoice
Feb 24, 2021

I must admit if this book had not been part of the CBC Canada Reads list of five books I would never have read the novel. Having said that it was certainly well written, lots of action, and the fantasy regency world was intricately and well described. Would I read another? No.

JessicaGma Feb 06, 2021

It's quite interesting world-building in a Regency-like setting in another world. women aren't allowed to be sorcerers in this world as it will damage their children, so women are basically chattel. They are forced to wear a collar when married so they kids are unaffected, and Beatrice has an extreme horror of this fate, so she will stop at nothing to assure it. It was good once it got going. I liked Mary Robinette Kowal's take on magic Regency better, but this was an interesting take.

WPL_Jaclyn Dec 12, 2020

Despite a bit of a slow start, I ended up adoring Polk's The Midnight Bargain. This magical tale had a flavour of the Regency era, which as a historical romance reader, I absolutely loved. I was also fascinated by the fantasy world that Polk created. This is a world where women are not allowed to practice magic since it has the potential to harm their unborn children. So, upon marriage, woman are forced to wear a collar that blocks their magic and isn't removed until they are past their child bearing years, and subsequently when they don't have much time left to learn how to use their abilities. There were times when I had to set this down because I was so enraged! Luckily, Beatrice is a wonderful character who refuses to bend to these rules even when pressured by her family and society.

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