The Midnight Bargain by C. L. Polk

As advertised by the publisher, if you liked the Netflix Series Bridgerton you’ll probably enjoy this book.

Genre: fantasy, romance, overthrow the system

The synopsis

Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress but will loose her powers the day of her wedding, which goes against her dream of becoming a mage. But she has no choice if she wants to save her family from their debts. When she finds a grimoire which could allow her to fulfill her dreams, she knows that all her problems are solved. The only issue is that the grimoire is stolen from her by another sorceress. In order to retrieve it, Beatrice summons a spirit at the price of her first kiss with her enemy’s brother: Ianthe Lavan

The review

This my first read of August and I must admit that I wasn’t there for the supposed Bridgerton side (which I disliked a lot by the way) but for the fantasy aspect. And it’s quite fortunate since the only “true” inspirations from Regency ar the Season and the patriarchal society setting. But fans of the series might be able to relate with these and still enjoy the book.

By the way, these elements were really taken to the extreme but I assume it was for the sake of the story. Indeed, our heroine must marry otherwise her family will be bankrupt and obviously she can’t expect her father to agree to her idea of working with him on his investments. Here, I can talk about the two characters I just truly hated in the book. The suitors were just getting on my nerves while I just wanted to be in the story to slap Beatrice’s father and sister. The father because he’s the typical silly lord of a patriarchal society believing that girls can’t think for themselves and can’t possibly be right about their choices about their future. Concerning the sister, she’s the epitomy of a silly, selfish girl, ready to sell her sister despite knowing her dream of becoming a magician and this just to have her own Season and to live like the heroines in her novels…

For what’s about Beatrice and Ianthe I think their characters lack a bit of depth but I still liked them. I particularly enjoyed the author showing that you can find people that are ready to listen and understand why some things in their favour are just unfair to others thanks to Ianthe understanding more and more Beatrice’s wish. It was also interesting to see how she is torn between her dream and her feelings for Ianthe. The character of Ysbeta is a strong, willing one too, even if the friendship with Beatrice is wrapped-up too fast as is the romance between Beatrice and Ianthe. But I can understand that things must move quickly in a standalone.

And that’s why I don’t get why the first half of the book is so slow. And it’s okay if the plot needs time to be developped but in this case the author could deepen the relationships between the characters or the world-building (which was quite light). However, when the action started I couldn’t leave the story because everything was happening and I wanted to know how Beatrice would free herself. But the end just made me cringe since the father offers everything his daughter wanted from the beginning (just after trying to force her to marry a despicable man) and is forgiven by Beatrice way too easily.

To sum-up: overall a pleasant read that made me enraged with this society in which women are just objects making children and reminded that there’s still a lot of injustice today. It lacks more world-building but has friendly characters and a plot easy to follow.

My rating: 3,5/5

3 thoughts on “The Midnight Bargain by C. L. Polk”

    1. Thank you for your comment! As a fan of Jane Austen and history in general, I was appealed by the marketing selling me the Regency era inspiration but was disappointed by the lack of research/accuracy. Even if it’s a retelling of this period I expected more details… But it’s obvious that the mention of Bridgerton will allow to sell more copies 🙂


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