The Copper Witch by Jessica DallThe Broken Line #1
Published on March 13, 2014 by 5 Prince Publishing
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance
Adela Tilden has always been more ambitious than her station in life might allow. A minor nobleman’s daughter on a failing barony, Adela’s prospects seem dire outside of marrying well-off. When Adela catches the eye of the crown prince, Edward, however, well-off doesn’t seem to be a problem. Thrown into a world of politics and intrigue, Adela might have found all the excitement she ever wanted—if she can manage to leave her past behind.
My, my, my, Miss Adela Tilden certainly knows how to get herself noticed. From the granddaughter of a baroness to the king’s court, this little spitfire works her way to the top and all while under twenty. That’s definitely ambition if I ever saw it. Dall threw Adela into a world of politics and intrigue and set her loose on the poor nobles.
They never stood a chance.
I didn’t take to Adela’s character until later in the story. Her young age and mannerisms gave her an edge of teen annoyance that I didn’t favor, but as the story progressed, I forgot her age as she never really acted as young as she actually was. I can’t imagine being so driven with ambition — and so successful — at such a young age. At the beginning, Adela is a young girl who would do whatever she could to relieve the boredom of her country home, especially entertaining young men around the home and seducing them with her beauty and wit. She’s quite the harlot, if I do say so myself, and while “sleeping her way to the top” might not be entirely accurate, her mind for strategy and knowledge of her effect on men proved to be some of her greatest strengths in getting what she most desired.
I admire her character for being so bold in a world where women didn’t have as many rights as men, and were reliant on marriage for security, both monetary and otherwise. Adela took what she wanted and that was that.
As for the rest of The Copper Witch‘s cast, they really made this story. Adela was distinct in her own right but I bored of her character alone. The other characters and there interactions with Adela, their reactions to her ambitious decisions and apathetic feelings toward those she’d already cast off for high positions, brought life and depth to the book. At the start the reader meets Antony, a painter commissioned to paint a portrait of Miss Tilden. During Adela’s seduction of Antony, we get to see his struggle to maintain a proper distance…and fail. Dall focused a bit on him and I wasn’t sure if the story would get to Adela and the prince, as mentioned in the synopsis, but it picked up quite a bit upon her leaving her country home. Throughout her journey as a rising star in court, Adela is accompanied by her friend and maid Lettice, who acts as an older sister when her mistress needs guidance the most — and refuses it, naturally. Lettie remains loyal despite the string of male followers Adela gains, each ranking higher than the next until she cannot go any higher. Both Antony and Lettie keep their friendship with Adela when many slander her name and the lengths she went to in order to obtain such a high standing. Later on, we meet Prince Edward, who seems to share Adela’s ambition and the two hit it off. I really hoped they would work out as Adela seemed to actually have feelings for him compared to the others before him.
…which brings me to the romance.
If you’re looking for the hot and heavy, toe-curling sex scenes, this isn’t the book for you. Adela and Antony have a fleeting fling before she joins the nobility life and is engaged to Lord Auborn, Thomas, within days of arriving at her aunt’s. While he is smitten with her, as the pattern suggests, Adela quickly moves on to accept the attention of a duke, then the prince-turned-king during her engagement. I wasn’t a big fan of the lady here and hoped Antony wouldn’t be returning to seek her affections once more, although we’re provided with glimpses of his various jobs. But Adela reaches the top with Edward and I hoped this was the last one. They both seemed to compliment each other well and while the romance and love between the two came off the page (in a perfectly tame fashion, mind you). It came down to whether I was rooting for Edward or Antony, and while she and Edward fit well, I’m on Team Antony. I think Adela needed the down-to-earth attitude he seemed to present.
The story itself is fairly simple to summarize, but much deeper once you read. Dall developed her protagonist throughout the course of a year and presented the perfect lead-in to a sequel, although I’m not sure where the story will go next despite Adela’s young age. The Copper Witch did an excellent job of tying off most of the lose ends so it will be interesting to see where book two takes us.
Overall, I was quite pleased with this novel and am glad I accepted the review request. It’s a great read for anyone who enjoys historical romances, or romances in general that are on the tamer side. I couldn’t put it down!