Engelmann, Karen. The Stockholm Octavo
Emil Larsson is a contented bachelor living the high life in 1791 Stockholm. He has risen up in the world, managing to purchase for himself the position of sekretaire in the government, and he spends his evenings drinking and gaming in Mrs. Sparrow’s parlor. But when his superior tells Emil he must marry or lose his sekretaire position, Emil is at a loss. Mrs. Sparrow, by now a friend, does a special favor for Emil…a card-based fortune-telling she calls the Octavo. This special layout is meant to define the eight people one must find in order to create the future one desires. Emil is not certain he believes in it, but he goes along with the reading and begins attempting to put together his Eight. In the process, he finds himself caught up, not in a quest for love, but in political manuevering that might end in his death if he is not careful, and King Gustav’s if he cannot prevent it.
Fast-paced, colorful, vibrant, and quite unique. The mystical aspect of fortune-telling is subdued with the emphasis on the historical context. Sure to be enjoyed by fans of well-written historical fiction.