LESSONS AFTER DARK
A direct sequel to Cooper’s debut, No Proper Lady, this second volume is, if anything, even better. Seamlessly weaving the paranormal elements around the romance between Olivia and Gareth, Cooper’s worldbuilding is solid and believable. Both Olivia and Gareth are sympathetic characters, and it is a real joy to watch them negotiate their inner and outer lives in order to create a life together.
Olivia Brightmoore is the newest teacher at Englefield School, recently founded by Simon and Joan Grenville for students who either have magical talents or who wish to learn ceremonial magic. A former medium, Olivia has both the theoretical background and practical experience required to firmly ground her young charges in the principles of magic. Gareth St. John is the resident physician at the school and has a natural talent for healing. Having seen Mrs. Brightmoore in her former occupation as a medium, he doesn’t trust her intentions and resolves to keep a close eye on her. As the attraction between them grows, the magical goings-on at the school become more worrisome, and it falls to them solve what’s going on — before something even more troubling occurs. (SOURCEBOOKS, Apr., 354 pp., $6.99)