Cover Image: A Restless Truth

A Restless Truth

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Member Reviews

I liked this book but it is far from being a favourite… Maybe this is my fault, I read this without reading the first novel in the series, because someone online said it is possible to read this as a stand alone, which is partly true: all the important bits are explained and context is given on everything relevant. But still there is a continuous story arc throughout the series and i would not recommend reading this without reading a marvellous light first.
The story itself felt too slow and character-based for a magical mystery and too crime-solvey for a romance - if you are looking for a book that has magic, great characters and sapphic romance (historical setting on a SHIP) but is not plot-driven this is for you.

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Eh, it was a perfectly fine and enjoyable book. I didn’t care for it quite as much as I did for book one though. I think it may have been what felt like insta love between the two women. We’ve run around for less than a week having but of an adventure tracking down the mcguffin of power and now we’re in love and considering a future together on minimal conversation…
It’s not a bad book. I still want to read book three but it isn’t the most brilliant thing I’ve read this year either. It’s just pretty good.

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I liked this book even more than the first one! Maude is a fascinating character. She freely admits that she frequently makes choices or takes actions simply because her mother wouldn’t approve. Both Maude and her brother Robin recognize that their parents were not good people. They were emotionally distant and deeply concerned with appearances. Maude considers herself a rebel. Meanwhile, Lord Hawthorn refers to her as a “ball of righteousness”. Violet goes to great lengths to put on a show of her devil-may-care attitude and antics, but that is to protect herself, especially since she’s been burned before.

This book ended on a different note than the first one, I feel like there’s more to Maude and Violet’s story and hope they have at least one more book focused on their relationship. Fingers crossed that a certain Lord and a thief get their own book as well!

NOTE: This is the second book in The Last Binding series. You could technically read it on its own, but the main mission of this story and its magic system are explained in the first book, so it’s better to read them in order.

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It was okay. I suspect that Freya Marske is not the author for me. I love the concept of this one and A Marvellous Light but the execution that falls flat. As with the previous book, I buy the main couple as friends but not as a romance. Loved the capers and the mystery but the romance is mediocre. I think out of fairness to the author, this will be the last book I read from her as I don't seem to enjoy them and it's not fair to keep going.

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✨ Review ✨ A Restless Truth by Freya Marske; Narrated by Aysha Kala

The second book in the series following A Marvelous Light, this book does not disappoint! Following Robin's sister Maud on a ship across the ocean, more magic and shenanigans ensue in what's essentially a (really big) locked door mystery. Maud joins up with the team of the dashing Violet Debenham, a magician and illusionist extraordinaire, Lord Hawthorne, a big of a rake who's lost his magic (and who had made a short appearance in book 1), and Rossi, a ship employee, petty jewel thief, and pornographic pamphlet purveyor. This wild team comes together to seek out a stolen piece of the Last Contract.

Wrapped up in this beautiful magical system and with a fabulous blooming romance between Maud and Violet, this book is such a fun read. Mixing romance and magic and mystery and historic ocean liner gloriousness, I loved reading this. The first half to two thirds of this was on par to be a 5-star read for me, but the last third dragged a bit. Aside from this pacing issue, the book was a delight of a read. If you loved the first book, you'll enjoy this one too! I can't wait for the next book in the series!

(the role of Mrs. Navenby and the scene in which the team was acting out pamphlets together were two favorite moments in this book for sure!)

Freya Marske - I stan.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.25)
Genre: f/f romance, historical mystery + magic
Location: ocean liner between the US and England
Pub Date: November 1, 2022

Read this if you like:
⭕️ historical mystery + magic
⭕️ a glamorous ocean liner setting
⭕️ flirty f/f romances
⭕️ a ragtag team of sleuths

Thanks to Tor, Macmillan Audio and #netgalley for an advanced e-copy of this book!

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Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.

#SundayShelfie + Review

I recently reorganized my bookshelves, getting rid of some books I was N E V E R going to read, consolidating my two TBR shelves into one overflowing one, & making a lot more room for books I’ve loved in the rest of the bookcase.

So here she is: a reorganized bookcase with some different books at the front!

& now here’s that aforementioned review ;).

If you’re searching for thick fantasy books with romantic elements you M U S T look at the Last Binding series by Freya Marske. Book 1, This Marvellous Light, was one of my top reads of last year. A Restless Truth is a sensational follow-up & my guesses & expectations about the couple for book 3 are S K Y high.

In this book, Robin’s sister Maud Blythe is accompanying a woman holding part of the Last Contract back to England. Said woman hasn’t revealed what item in her belongings is actually the Last Contract, which is a problem when she’s murdered & someone ransacks their room.

In order to find that item, & yeah, prevent a lot of bad things from happening to Britain’s magic-possessors & probably just the world in general, Maud ropes others into helping her, including the stunning Violet Debenham.

There is intrigue galore in this book & lots of twists & turns. As Maud & Violet work together they indulge in their attraction, even as Violet struggles to really let someone in.

Not only are the world-building & the plot strong, the emotional acumen shown here is really lovely. Marske has a deftness with emotions that left me hoping these leads could go to the relationship distance.

Book 3 will likely focus on a different couple & I have my hopes for it will be. In the meantime, I highly recommend checking out these two interconnected queer fantasies, beginning with A Marvellous Light. They’re very very good!

5⭐️. Out 11/01.

CWs: one of the secondary characters that we’re presumably kinda sorta supposed to be rooting for calls another “Mediterranean gutter rat.” Violence, including murder.

[ID: a white woman wearing a light green sweatshirt & a Fitbit holds up an ebook in front of a crowded white bookcase.]

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This is the 2nd book in the series and I think it's probably good to read in order. I didn't read the first book so I went in blind.

This was a fun magical read with some spice.

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This is a continuing story in the world of The Last Binding, and it follows Robin's sister Maud. It is a sequel, however, and it mentions events that happened in A Marvellous Light, so make sure to read that one first (you won't regret it!).

Maud is on a cruise ship crossing the Atlantic back to the UK from America with her companion, Mrs. Navenby, whom she knows to be one of the holders of a piece of the Contract that has become such an important item. Mrs. Navenby is found dead very shortly into the voyage and so it is up to Maud, as well as her newfound friend Violet Debenham (as well as another familiar face) to try and figure out who killed her, and most importantly, where her piece of the Contract is.

I really enjoyed this one, though not quite as much as A Marvellous Light. That comes down to personal preference and my really, really liking Edwin Courcey as a character. This one is still just as well written and immersive as its predecessor. The relationship between Maud and Violet was interesting, and the plot moved along quite quickly, keeping me quite engaged in this story.

All told, I would absolutely recommend reading this book if you enjoyed A Marvellous Light. I can't wait for more in this world, and I really hope that book three is about the person that I want it to be about.

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a delightful followup to a marvellous light! as promised, a restless truth is like sapphic knives out on a boat. take an agatha christie novel and make it queer and magical. it's such a strong book full of liminal spaces, magic, passion, and dramatic flare. there are wonderfully brilliant moments, softer tender moments, and sensational moments. freya marske does it again! and now, i'm going to reread aml again because i miss them terribly.

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Maud is just trying to help her brother and his partner. She knows that going on a voyage across the ocean will help them. She also knows that she's going to meet some people on the way who will help her. It's too bad that the woman she's traveling with dies so soon into the journey. Maud is launched into a world of magic that she barely realizes exists and definitely doesn't understand. Now she's working with an aristocrat, a thief, and a notorious actress to try and stop a conspiracy that began over a hundred years ago.
I suspect some people may not like the ending but I actually did. It made sense to me.

Four stars
This book comes out November 1, 2022
Follows A Marvelous Light
ARC kindly provided by Macmillan-Tor/Forge and NetGalley
Opinions are my own

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earlier this year, i’d read what i can quite confidently say is my favorite book of the year, a marvellous light. a book that sunk its way deep into my heart and has never let go, not that i’d want that. so to say that i’m absolutely grateful to have received an early copy of its’ sequel is an understatement. and it’s truly held up to the love i have for this series.

originally, i fell in love with this world, not just for the characters, but for the magic system. the most unique and beautiful magic system that i’ve ever had the chance to experience. while others might say this book suffers from middle-book syndrome i’d argue the complete opposite. this book gave me so much more to learn about. i’m obsessively fascinated by the magic; how magicians have manipulated what means they can use as long as there’s intention.

and intention there was. this book felt thoughtful, a slow build of maud’s character. a young and frightened, but boldly defiant woman who just wants to do right by those she loves. someone who can out-smart and argue her way in order to convince others to do what’s right. someone who needs physical proof of the world around her. not to mention that i love how she’s taken so fondly to edwin and his quirks. she looks up to him, as she does with robin, in a way i adore. deep-seated love and well being for them and their relationship. despite initially wishing i could follow the boys more, she became a protagonist i’ll forever appreciate. she has a true fighter spirit in her.

as for her counterpart, violet. the stage-performer with walls of steel. she truly is the perfect complement for maud. her passion for her craft. her ultimate care for maud. her fears deep below it all. she helped maud become a grander person, while herself stripping down to a more bare person. i truly, truly think the two of them helped each other in ways that were perfect for them and their growing partnership. and while no, they’re not 100% perfect for each other, they’re willing to work through it despite their faults. violet, just as maud, grew so much in the span of the book. it was wonderful to experience.

this series has quickly blown me more out of the water, each and every time i think about it. and i cannot wait to see how it all ends. although, i’ll be forever sad when it’s over. (but also, i have ideas on who we’re going to follow in the final novel.)

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A Restless Truth continues from where A Marvellous Light stopped, and I will advise anyone to read that first before starting this.

I adored Maud as a character. I loved her bravery in so many ways, the way she grew over 6 days was actually done quite masterfully and I do not mean just her sexual experience 😊. I liked the way she took on challenges and didn’t let setbacks get her down. I was firmly in her corner by the end of the book.

Violet took a bit to grow on me. I am quite weary of the “glittery hard character” and this was her to a T. By the middle of the book she started softening and showing layers and I appreciated getting to know the real her. Ultimately, I liked her, but I think I struggled with her a lot initially and that fully never went away.

The book truly shines in the mystery! It sort of had 2 climaxes, an obvious one and a not-too obvious one; and both were enjoyable. I also had a lot of fun seeing Lord Hawthorne (and actually liking him, LOL) and meeting Rossi. The book had a lot of fun characters and despite their number, Freya Marske did a good job of differentiating everyone. The magic also continues to be an utter delight.

The romance was good BUT what I really loved was the resolution. It truly felt real to the book especially since this all took place in 6 days!!! I also loooved the Edwin x Robin scenes and I am so looking forward to the concluding book.

A huge Thank you to Macmillan-Tor/Forge and NetGalley for the ARC.

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I really loved A Marvellous Light so I was excited to read this book, but I found it to be a bit of a let down. Even though it follows different characters, it seems to fall into second book syndrome. I liked Maud, but she felt a bit one-note throughout. The only change that she makes (and granted, it is a big change) is a sexual awakening. And I didn't really like Violet. I didn't dislike her either, but I just didn't connect with her at all. So the emotional part of the story (which I recognize could work really well for readers who do connect with these characters) didn't really hit for me.

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OK this was even better than the first book, which I loved. The magic in these books is so cool, and clearly has a ton of thought put into it, which I appreciate, even if I get a little lost sometimes. But the characters are what really shine. Violet is fun as the smooth-talking, sexy devil-may-care type who actually does care very much deep down and Maud’s portrayal loins of blew me away? She has this drive and Marske perfectly balances her uncertainty with her determination, and the way she wears her heart on her sleeve absolutely won me over. I can see why Violet falls for her. And wow no one writes sexy scenes like Marske — in the words of Olivia Cooke: “ah, stunnin.”

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Sapphic romance, magic, and shipboard murder!

A Restless Truth has it all. In this followup to A Marvellous Light, we follow the sister of one of the main characters on board a ship. But shortly into the voyage, the old woman Maude was accompanying dies under mysterious circumstances. Enter Violet- the notorious heiress who ruined herself on the American stage. Sparks will fly and danger abounds as they try to track down the killer and a magical artifact.

This was fun, and definitely steamy at times (much like book 1). Violet and Maude have a fun dynamic- Maude is inexperienced but doesn't lack a backbone. Violet has been hurt and has walls a mile high. And there is lots of magical danger! I didn't love this quite as much as book 1. I felt it dragged on a bit too long for the amount of plot, but also shipboard stories aren't my go to. If you enjoyed A Marvelous Light this is definitely worth the read and if we get more in the series I will certainly read those as well. They are a good time! The audio narrator is good, but I would have liked clearer distinction in voices between Maude and Violet's perspectives. I received an audio review copy via NetGalley, all opinions are my own.

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This is a sequel/companion novel in the Last Binding series, which is a queer historical fantasy that began with A Marvelous Light. I saw another review describe this as a lesbian knives out and wow, that’s one heck of a seller and I can actually agree with that though the cover doesn't reflect. So here we follow Maud Blyth who has always longed for adventure which is why she volunteered to serve as an old lady's companion on an ocean liner because she thought it could help weasel her way into being able to help her older brother to unravel a magical conspiracy that began generations ago. This was as cozy as it gets. If you enjoyed book 1 then you are gong to enjoy this one just as much. It really surprised me.

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Thank you to Tordotcom and Macmillan Audio for providing me with an ARC.

Sapphic murder mystery on a boat with magic what more can I say. This book was great, if you liked the first you’ll love the second. Maud and Violet are my favorites every. I really hope the third book has them back with Robin and Edwin to solve the next piece of the puzzle.

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Maud Blyth is used to most of the interesting things happening to her brother, Robin. So, when she gets a chance to travel to New York for her own adventure, she jumps on the chance. Especially since it means covering up secrets that threaten all of the British Isles.

Instead of an adventure, what she happens upon is a dead body. And a mysterious woman named Violet Debenham, who is a magician and an actress. Thrown together by a murder on the ship, the two must work together in order to solve the mystery. When sparks start to fly between the two of them, it's the last thing Maud ever expected.

Thanks to NetGalley and Tordotcom for an advanced copy of A Restless Truth to review! I I loved A Marvellous Light last year when I read it, so I was excited to jump into this sequel. I am happy to say that I wasn't disappointed! And the cover is just as gorgeous as the first book.

This is being pitched as Knives Out meets The Binding, and I'd definitely agree about the Knives Out aspect. The murder mystery is definitely the driving force behind this plot, with a little magic and romance mixed in. It's a great sort of genre blender, so I think there are a lot of readers who will really enjoy this! I will say, you don't have to read the first book to get what's going on in this one; it just gives you some background knowledge on the world building.

The chemisty between Violet and Maud was absolutely my favorite thing about this book. Their chemistry is great from the get-go. And it continues to build throughout the book. Honestly, I would read a whole entire book about them. Or maybe they go on an adventure with Robin and Edwin! Yeah, let's make that the next book.

In addition to Violet and Maud, there's a cast of quirky side characters you'll fall in love with as well. The group on the ship are fun to read about, making this a magical mystery adventure romance you won't want to miss.

All in all, if you love a great genre blender, especially one with a little magic, you'll definitely enjoy this book!

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Loved it.

Maud Blyth is headed back to England after convincing her brother Robin to let her in on the plan to stop the big bads—whoever they are—from stealing the magic from Great Britain’s magical families. She’s at her moment of triumph—until her traveling companion is murdered, the mysterious pieces of the Contract stolen, and Maud left with few leads and much frustration. Forcibly enlisting the assistance of three fellow passengers, she sets off to uncover the mystery once and for all…

This was so much better than the first book, and I seriously believe it's because of both the humor and the leads. Violet and Maud were much more fully fleshed out and vibrant, and the humor just danced across the page, particularly with Hawthorn as the straight man (heh). Although I do agree with other reviewers that the sapphic romance aspect of the plot is far more intriguing than the Last Contract bit.

There were so many shipboard shenanigans, some of which include: a cranky potty-mouthed parrot, a titillating dinner party, a sea-sick porcupine, a scandalous coitus interruptus, an impromptu pornography play, curses both magical and benign, and hair-scapades. Not to mention some minor jewel theft, light bribery, and heavy commentary on the social-capitalist hierarchy of cruises.

But Maud is a delight. Violet is scandalously hilarious. Lord Hawthorn’s put-upon nature a hoot, and Cesare Ross a pure rapscallion.

I received this ARC from NetGalley

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3.5 stars. I liked this book more than the first one and found it much easier to read. It has a sapphic romance, a murder mystery, a cruise ship setting, a search for a magical object, and an unusual group of allies. I liked the dual POV between Maud and Violet - they’re both complex characters with a lot of past trauma which they deal with in very different ways, but they compliment each other really well. I liked Hawthorne and Alan as well, but aside from that I couldn’t really differentiate between the rest of the characters. I wouldn’t say the mystery aspect was very surprising but I more so enjoyed seeing them come up with different schemes along the way. Overall I’m not really sure this series is for me, but I kind of feel like it would be a shame not to read the last book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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