Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.
Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.
With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen? @goodreads
Magnalia House was the sort of establishment where only wealthy, talented girls mastered their passion. It wasn't designed for girls who were lacking, for girls who were illegitimate daughters, and certainly not for girls who defied kings. I, of course, happen to be all three of those things.
This book was everything to me! I loved it so very much. Was it full of action and fighting. No, not really and guess what? That's okay!
I have to admit when I first saw the beautiful cover I knew I had to have it and then I read the summary and thought it sounded pretty good and I took the plunge. I just wish I would have gotten to it sooner!
Brienna is brought to Magnalia House when she was ten by her grandfather. Brienna couldn't think why he would take her from the orphanage and bring her to this school. She had no passion she could think of but he wanted to tuck her somewhere safe. So he told the Dowager that she could do a little bit of all the passions: art, music, dramatics, with and knowledge. Well, it didn't go very good. You're supposed to have one passion and study it for 7 years and see if you can find a patron who will get you started in the world.
Brienna ended up going through all of the passions and ending up with knowledge for her last 3 years. Her master was named Cartier and he was a mysterious man. When Brienna and Cartier started talking about Maevana, things started to change. Maevana has a long history of Queens and magic, but many years ago some of the things that helped with this magic was stolen away and the Queen killed along with any survivors. And the King that sits the throne to this day will kill of any rightful heir he might find. They are the Kavanagh family and there is one daughter in hiding, waiting to take back the throne.
When Cartier gives Brienna a book about the stone and some more of the history, she starts having visions. And when everyone leaves the school and she's left without a patron, she finally tells the Dowager about her visions. To Brienna's amazement, the Dowager said she needs to get her with a patron that no one can know about. She can't write to her friends, her grandfather, or Cartier and let them know where she has gone. For she is going to Maevana where is it very dangerous and get that stone to get the rightful Queen back on the throne.
Brienna's patron is a man with the last name of Jourdain ad he takes her on as his daughter. It's all very cloak and dagger stuff, but it must be done and he's very kind to her. And will protect her with his life and he did on the road back home.
"One thing you should know about me," he murmured, nudging his empty bowl aside. "If anyone so much as threatens my family, I won't hesitate to kill them."
"I am not even your blood," I whispered, surprised by his steely resolve. I had only been his adopted daughter for one day.
"You are part of my family. And when the thieves tore apart your things, threw your books in the mud, threatened you . . . I reacted."
I didn't know what to say, but I let my gaze remain on his face. My embers of defiance and irritation faded into darkness because the longer I looked upon him, my patron father, I sensed that something in his past made him this way.
"Again, I am sorry you had to see such of me," he said. "I do not want you to fear me."
I reached across the table, offering my hand. If we were gong to succeed in whatever plans we authored, we would have to trust each other. Slowly, he set his fingers in mine; his were warm and tough, mine were cold and soft.
"I do not fear you," I whispered. "Father."
He squeezed my fingers. "Amadine."
They had to change Brienna's name to keep her in disguise just in case. So he named her Amadine. And she also has a new brother named Luc. They were all very kind to her.
Luc works with Brienna to help her figure out how to get her visions of her ancestors back. She does get more visions and knows where the stone is and how to get it.
She finds out who her father is and that's not a great day.
Brienna also finds love in all of this madness and revelations she never would have believed. She finds hope and a family. It was just wonderful. But you have to read it for yourself to see how you feel as I am but one person.