Review: City of Time and Magic (Found Things #4) by Paula Brackston

I have been a long time fan of Paula Brackston and I have read the other books in this series so naturally when this one came up for review, it was a no brainer to say ‘yes’. If you haven’t read the other books in this series, I would not start with this one. This book picks up where the last book left off and continues to build on the series and established characters.

Brackston is known for the ‘witch books’ which I have enjoyed and they are not necessarily part of a ‘series’ but they all maintain similar themes of witchcraft and a bit of a love story. The Found Things books have been different yet have the same trademark story telling style that Brackston is known for. And this book in particular introduces readers to some other characters from the other ‘witch books’ she has written which I thought was fun. I would say you don’t have to read the ‘witch books’ to enjoy this series but the Found Things books should be read in order.

While this is the last book in the Found Things series, Brackston leaves plenty of room to revisit familiar characters and expand on the possibility of spin off series. If you love witchy stories with some history, romance, and time travel this is definitely a series not to be missed! Brackstone is a magical story teller with talent and experience that will delight readers.


Xanthe meets Brackston’s most famous heroine, Elizabeth Hawksmith from The Witch’s Daughter, in this crossover story with all the “historical detail, village charm, and twisty plotting” of the Found Things series (Publishers Weekly).

City of Time and Magic sees Xanthe face her greatest challenges yet. She must choose from three treasures that sing to her; a beautiful writing slope, a mourning brooch of heartbreaking detail, and a gorgeous gem-set hat pin. All call her, but the wrong one could take her on a mission other than that which she must address first, and the stakes could not be higher. While her earlier mission to Regency England had been a success, the journey home resulted in Liam being taken from her, spirited away to another time and place. Xanthe must follow the treasure that will take her to him if he is not to be lost forever.

Xanthe is certain that Mistress Flyte has Liam and determined to find them both. But when she discovers Lydia Flyte has been tracking the actions of the Visionary Society, a group of ruthless and unscrupulous Spinners who have been selling their talents to a club of wealthy clients, Xanthe realizes her work as a Spinner must come before her personal wishes. The Visionary Society is highly dangerous and directly opposed to the creed of the Spinners. Their actions could have disastrous consequences as they alter the authentic order of things and change the future. Xanthe knows she must take on the Society. It will require the skills of all her friends, old and new, to attempt such a thing, and not all of them will survive the confrontation that follows. (summary from Goodreads)


One of the things that I enjoy most about Brackston’s novels is her ability to create realistic plots that aren’t actually realistic at all. Time travel? Sounds impossible right? Except in Brackston’s books I find myself nodding along and thinking ‘ya makes sense’ and next thing I know I am completely invested in the story. I love how realistic everything feels and how well researched the history parts are. This book is no different and I loved reconnecting with familiar characters and a few new ones. As I mentioned earlier, Brackston’s ‘witch books’, also known as The Witches Daughter books, are mostly standalone reads but here in this series we have a cross over from this series to the witch books. I am not sure how I felt about that. On one hand, I liked what Elizabeth brought to the story and thought it was fun to connect with other characters from some of Brackston’s books, but on the other hand I felt like it was almost unnecessary to have a cross over but then again Elizabeth did add quite bit to this one (no spoilers!). So I don’t know, ultimately I just went with it and it was fine but it felt a little meah for me.

I will say that since I have read this series from the beginning, I think it got better as the books went on. Then I read the first one, I thought it was pretty good and was interested to see where things went and the more books I read in the series, things developed well and now seeing the series into the fourth book is so satisfying and I can honestly say the books got better and better as the larger narrative went on. Though this book is a little less action throughout. It’s still has quite a bit of things happening but not as action filled and some of the other books in the series. This one is hard to review since I don’t want to give any spoilers!

The thing that stands out to this book for me though is how Xanthe develops as a Spinner. In the earlier books she grows and changes appropriately but here we really see her come into her own. I also love her relationship with Liam. He’s such a great match for Xanthe and I just love them together and fans of the series will be excited to see Harley also time travels in this one. If you have enjoyed the other books in this series, no doubt you will love this one an be excited for what the future holds either within this series or via spinoffs/crossovers. I really enjoyed my time in Victorian England and getting reacquainted with some of my favorite characters.

Book Info and Rating

320 pages, hardcover

Published: November 23, 2021 by St Martin’s Press

ISBN: 9781250260697

Free review copy provided by publisher, St Martin’s Press, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.

Rating: 4 stars

Genre: historical fiction, witch lit, time travel

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