Midwinter Firelight, a sequel to the inestimable Snowed In, takes place 2 months after the events of that story that introduced us to Constable Kit Thompson, empath and Bow Street Preternatural Division, and his now lover, the Honorable Harry Alden, younger brother to the Earl of Fairleigh.
This is a case where the bar was set so high narratively speaking by the origin story, that anything that followed would have a difficult time getting close to the magic that first one captured.
And Midwinter Firelight doesn’t. It doesn’t have the setting. It doesn’t have the sense of isolation or otherness that allowed Noone’s prose to soar into episodes of poetry alongside scenes of beautiful imagery.
No, here in a London setting, Kit and Harry are firmly attached to more a emotionally busy and physically demanding time of it. They are still so new in their relationship but London is full of challenges and promises., as well as hidden obstacles.
Whereas Fairleigh was magical and sparse of people, London is the exact opposite. It’s the copious amounts of mundane , the demands of society, and more mysteries. It’s a more interesting and realistic grounding of this couple in their everyday realities and the rigidity with which society regards them.
Noone weaves both mens insecurities, which is interesting given that they are empaths, into the internal conversations each is conducting about their future. It shows the some of the limitations of that empathy bestows.
The mystery itself is the weakest part of the story. I found myself thinking about the participants for just a moment, then they were forgotten.
No, it could have been any problem to solve. The focus and power belongs on Kit and Harry. They are made of magic, both in the city and out in the countryside, as long as they are together.
I’m recommending Midwinter Firelight by K.L. Noone. It’s a lovely follow up to the sublime Snowed In.
Midwinter Firelightby K.L. Noone
Kit Thompson, empath and Bow Street Preternatural Division constable, is looking forward to Midwinter. His lover Harry, Viscount Sommersby, is visiting, and Kit has plans to show Harry his London … and plans for Harry in his bedroom.
But Kit’s Chief Magistrate needs him. And the case is important. Personal. Taking up Kit’s time.
Even worse, Harry wants to help. And Kit could use Harry’s magical talents. But that means endangering Harry … something Kit’s sworn never to do.