A man and a woman spar with a sword and a broom on a dark blue background, while ivy crawls up the sides of the cover.

About the Book

Title: The League of Gentlewomen Witches (Dangerous Damsels #2)
Published: 2022

First Impressions: Grows On You
What’s Your Type? Rivals to lovers, Magical adventures, Swashbuckling comedy, Who kidnapped who?, Idiots in love
Meet Cute: The Couple That Steals Together…
The Lean: Idiots In Love
We Need to Talk: Elizabeth Bennet Approves
Was It Good For You? Ooh Yeah

First Impressions: Grows On You

Cuz there’s ivy…get it? Ahem. It’s cute! It’s not a complete carbon copy of all the cartoony couples covers, so it grabs my eye. I like all the little bits hidden in the ivy that relate to the story.

What’s Your Type?

  • Rivals to lovers
  • Magical adventures
  • Swashbuckling comedy
  • Who kidnapped who?
  • Idiots in love

Dating Profile

Charlotte has grown up under the shadow of a prophecy that she is to be the next leader of the witches—if they existed, that is—and how convenient that her aunt just so happens to be the current leader. She’s dutiful and clever and never stands out…that is, until the day she steals a man’s briefcase and alters the course of her life.

Alex O’Riley is a self-proclaimed rogue, an Irish pirate with a wicked smile and a penchant for pretty ladies. Like all pirates, he dislikes witches on principle—fussy things who waste their magic by being subtle—but he’s got his own more personal reasons for his prejudice. If someone told him he’d be amused when a beautiful witch stole his briefcase, well, he would’ve laughed in their face.

Meet Cute: The Couple That Steals Together…

The amulet of Beryl Black (the woman who first learned the words of the magic spell that makes houses fly and all magic possible) is said to amplify the magic of anyone who wears it, so naturally Charlotte knows it should be around her neck, even if she uses it to escape her aunt’s demanding machinations. Of course, every pirate and witch worth their salt ALSO wants to get their hands on this treasure, especially a certain dashing pirate who infuriates and ignites parts of Charlotte she didn’t know existed…

The Lean: Idiots In Love

Alex and Charlotte have plenty of banter-y rivalry despite their very quick attraction to each other. I’m not usually a fan of my book couples getting together very quickly since I like the slow burn, but it really worked for me here. There was enough denials and issues for them to work through that it didn’t feel too easy.

Dirty Talk

I’d categorize Holton’s smattering of love scenes as a “soft R”. There’s a lot of imagery without a lot of explicitness, but it’s clear what’s going on.

Electricity began building again within her body. Every muscle clenched in anticipation. She could not breathe, just as he had planned—could not think— she moaned indecorously as the pirate filled her so deep, every proper word dissolved and tumbled right out of her. She clung to him even as he wrecked her; she inhaled his hot, ragged breath as her only hope for survival. It felt as devastating and exhilarating as being tossed from a roof high above the ground.

And this just made me laugh:

Alex watched as Charlotte lay on the bed. There followed an endless minute in which her chemise twisted around her hips and she had to raise them to rearrange it, and then do the same with her hair, and then shuffle over to avoid what must have been a loose spring in the mattress. Alex waited with an exasperation that bordered on intense, pulsing arousal. The woman was going to annoy him into an orgasm before he even placed a hand on her.

Ms. Perky’s Prize for Purplest Prose

Teacher types on laptop while talking to student
Typing a romance novel on a computer screen

My favorite part of this series is Holton’s witty writing style. She’s in a Naomi Novik, Sarah Rees Brennan level of sardonic humor that just drips through every phrase and scene so heavily that the narration is practically its own character. It’s cheeky and situational and it’s definitely not going to be for everyone, but if you’re looking for something new in your historical romance, this is a refreshing escape. I rarely highlight books, but I find myself stopping and giggling constantly as I bookmark whole passages. This exchange between some of the pirates, I mean:

“En garde!” Mrs. Etterly shouted.

“Prepare to die!” Mrs. Rotunder shouted in reply.

“Never!”

“Um, dearest,” Mr. Rotunder said, tugging on his wife so he might whisper to her. She listened, then straightened again, her expression poised between fury and dignity.

“Prepared to be wounded!” she shouted in amendment. “But not so badly that you cannot sing at my soiree next week! The prince will be there, and you know how he admires your voice!”

“Never!” Mrs. Etterly repeated. “By which I mean never in this context! I of course look forward to the soiree!” And she leaped forward, sword raised.

One more:

“Fetch them for Miss Pettifer. Shirt. Coat, if there is one. Trousers.”

“I have my own coat,” Charlotte said. “I removed it when I entered your premises.”

Alex stared at her unfocusedly.

“Come along, miss,” Bixby said, gently placing his hand at her elbow. “Best not to mention removing clothes to the captain just now. Let us see what is available to outfit you more appropriately for shenanigans.”

We Need To Talk: Elizabeth Bennet Approves

The witches in this book are (slightly) less bloodthirsty than the pirates from the last, but they’re two sides of the same magical coin, and thus their rivalries are hilariously ridiculous. Charlotte is a fun main character, though Alex fell prey to a similar fate as Ned in that they are decent love interests but they don’t necessarily feel like real people, even when we see things from their POV. I did enjoy that the world-building was well-established from the first book and Holton didn’t spend too much time over-explaining herself. You can totally GET it if you haven’t read the first book, but I think you’ll get more OUT of it if you know the alternate history better. I don’t know if it was this fact, Holton’s writing improving with practice, or that the story itself worked for me, but I’d say this was my favorite of the two so far. I sped through it faster than Charlotte’s flying bike.

Was It Good For You? Ooh Yeah

What’s sexier than a book about a dashing pirate and a boss-witch that can make you laugh and swoon a little? Take me for a ride on your broomstick, baby.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Berkley Books. I received neither money nor peanut butter cups in exchange for this review. The League of Gentlewomen Witches is available now.

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Stephanie (she/her) is an avid reader who moonlights at a college and calls Orlando home. Stephanie loves watching television, reading DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.