It's 1803 and Kat Stephenson's eldest sister Elissa is about to marry the wealthy and sweet Mr Collingwood when the ceremony is disrupted by Mrs Carlyle. Mistakenly believing that Elissa is going to marry her son Frederick, Mrs Carlyle reveals to the congregation that the Stephensons' mother was a witch and bans Frederick from having any contact with the family. Suspicious that the vicious and snobbish Lady Fotherington was behind these events Kat seeks revenge only to fall foul of the Guardians' powerful leader, Lord Ravenscroft, who bans her from undergoing training in her powers and forbids her from returning to the Guardians' hall under threat of permanently removing her magical abilities.
Kat's step-mother immediately relocates the family to Bath and the house of her cousin, the snobbish Mrs Wingate with a plan to marry Angeline off to someone wealthy before her magical contamination reaches the news of society. But Angeline has plans of her own and is soon deliberately flirting with the notorious rake Viscount Scarswood. Soon Kat find that not only does she have to find a way to make Lord Ravenscroft change his mind, but she also has to stop Angeline from ruining both her and her family's reputation. The last thing she needs is for her idle brother Charles to become involved with a plot to harness the magic of Bath's Roman spa, let alone involve her cousin Lucy in open displays of magic ...
Stephanie Burgis's sequel to A MOST IMPROPER MAGICK is a lively affair from start to finish, with events taking place at a break-neck speed. Kat remains a headstrong, passionate heroine. Desperate to begin her magical training, she's frustrated by the constant delays and this drives her already-quick temper. Although her reactions are understandable, my main quibble with the book is that she's slow to learn to rein in her temper, which is what largely drives her personal problems.
Regency Bath is elegantly depicted in all its fine society and my favourite scenes are those where Kat's behaviour isn't quite as genteel as society require and the mystery of what is happening in the spas is well drawn out. I started the book hoping to see Kat begin her training as a Guardian in this book and although this was not to be, I look forward to her growing in her powers in the next one.