Keeper of Enchanted Rooms by Charlie N. Holmberg
11/1/2022 – 47North
Amazon First Reads
Review by Angela
This book sat on my Kindle for ages after I snagged it as one of my Amazon First Reads last year. But I kept seeing positive reviews and I’ve been on a bit of a quirky magical romance kick lately, so I decided to finally open it and see what all the fuss was about.
Keeper of Enchanted Rooms takes place in the mid-1800s, mainly in Rhode Island, but there are scenes set in England. This is an alternate-world novel, where magical families and houses are accepted and certain groups have been created to preserve those lineages and hopefully grow the magical abilities that are slowly dying out.
When Merritt Fernsby inherits an old house and the island it sits on from his grandmother he doesn’t know what to think, mainly since he hasn’t spoken to his family in years after being disinherited and shunned. An author who is currently working on his second book, he is thrilled to realize that this might solve his current housing predicament. But when he gets to the house he realizes something is very wrong… shifting rooms, melting ceilings, and his new residence doesn’t seem to want him to leave.
This is where Hulda Larkin comes in. As a member of BIKER (The Boston Institute of Enchanted Rooms), Hulda’s job is to settle enchanted homes down and set up the owners with the tools to live comfortably alongside their magical properties. Her first order of business when she arrives at Whimbrel House is to figure out where the magic is coming from and how it came to inhabit the dwelling in the first place. That and to help Merritt learn to accept his enchanted home.
This is such a charming, delightful read. There is a listing at the very beginning of the story that sorts out the different kinds of magic in this world, but I skipped it and went right to the prologue, learning as I went and as Hulda’s investigation proceeded. As each character is introduced and began to acclimate into this found family of sorts, I began to deeply care for each of them. Merritt and Hulda are fantastic together, him so messy and disorganized, her so strictly controlled and structured. Then comes the newly hired maid, Beth, with her own abilities and foresight, and Baptiste, who grunts and lumbers, but cooks the most delicious meals. I won’t even get into my favorite character, Owein, who stole the show and is sure to steal your heart as well.
There is a bad guy, who is really, really terrible. The main plot arc takes some meandering twists and turns, slowly revealing the horror of the identity of the villain and his nefarious ambitions, but ultimately comes to an exciting climax and conclusion. There is a soft, sweet romance, but don’t expect steam. I was just happy that these two finally figured out a way to admit their feelings for each other by the end. The ending left me happy, but also a little bereft thinking I would have to say goodbye to everyone at Whimbrel House. This is why I was excited to see there would be a second book in this series releasing this year. Heir of Uncertain Magic releases on April 11, 2023.
Final grade- A
This sounds interesting, and exactly what I am in the mood for.
I really enjoyed it! Let me know what you think.
This sounds like fun, Angela. I’m trying to figure out though how BIKER comes from The Boston Institute of Enchanted Rooms.
I missed a part- Boston Institute for the Keeping of Enchanted Rooms.