Win a copy of Courtship and Curses! Details at the end of this post.

Aunt Isabel was, as usual, exasperated. “Molly, I don’t know why I brought you shopping with us. While that color will do for a creeping plant on a blasted heath somewhere, it will not do for poor Sophie.” She motioned away the bolt of yellowish-green satin proffered by the dressmaker’s assistant.

“Ha!” Aunt Molly tilted her head and squinted at the rejected fabric. “I thought it reminded me of something. It’s just the color of toadflax leaves, y’know. But toadflax doesn’t grow on heaths. It’s a meadow and hedge-side plant.”

“I was not knowing that toads had the flax,” Madame Carswell observed. “Do they make linen from it too? English toads must be terribly clever.” She turned her head slightly and winked at the fourth member of the party seated in Mrs. James’s exclusive Bruton Street shop.

The young woman her aunt had called “poor Sophie” caught her wink and smiled down at her lap. Now Aunt Isabel would say something about not having time to examine what grew in the hedgerows, and then probably go on to say something about Aunt Molly’s botanical obsession destroying her fashion sense.

Excerpt copyright © 2012 Marissa Doyle

About the book:

Sophie’s entrance into London society isn’t what she thought it would be. Mama isn’t there to guide her. Papa is buried in his work fighting Napoleon. And worst of all, the illness that left her with a limp, unable to dance at the Season’s balls, also took away her magic. When the dashing Lord Woodbridge starts showing an interest in her, Sophie wants to believe it’s genuine, but she can’t be sure he’s feeling anything more than pity.

Sophie’s problems escalate when someone uses magic to attack Papa at her first ball of the Season, and it soon becomes clear that all the members of the War Office are being targeted. Can Sophie regain her own powers, disentangle her love life, and save her father—and England?

What people are saying:

“[A] cheery Regency fantasy….Doyle’s gift, on display in earlier historical fantasies (Bewitching Season, 2008, etc.), lies in creating vivid female characters and the bonds between them.”–Kirkus Reviews

Released: August 7, 2012

About the author:

Marissa Doyle originally intended to be an archaeologist but somehow got distracted. But she’s put her passion for history into writing young adult fiction: her award-winning books Bewitching Season, Betraying Season, and Courtship and Curses (all from Henry Holt Books for Young Readers/Macmillan) blend history with magic and romance. She lives in Massachusetts with her family and a pair of bossy pet rabbits. Visit her on the web at and at her teen history blog,


Marissa has been kind enough to contribute a signed copy of Courtship and Curses for a giveaway!

Just comment on this post to enter.

For extra entries:

-Be a follower on Twitter [+1 entry].

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Please list your extra entries in the comments.

The contest is open in the US and Canada, and ends on September 5th at midnight EST.

Good luck and happy reading!