The story follows Josie, a midwife whose father is a doctor (pretty much any fantasy story following a medical practitioner means either 1) I will love it or 2) I will hate it. There's not in-between!). She lives in a town where a mysterious castle has been built behind huge gates. No one has ever been seen leaving the palace except one servant, who then disappeared.
Through a series of events, Josie ends up behind the gates and meets Hammer, the captain of the guards, and the King himself. However, no one in the palace remembers anything of their past except their names, and the names of the other people in the palace. Their are whispers of magic, yet no one knows how or why.
I really enjoyed this story. I'd classify it as fantasy/romance/mystery, heavy on the romance and mystery, light on the fantasy. The hints of magic stay hinting, and personally I would have preferred more magic. But it doesn't detract from the story. Josie is a compelling character - strong and independent (sometimes pushing into stereotypical, which isn't necessarily a bad thing), she isn't afraid to take risks. The medical aspect of the story was great - being a nurse, I tend to dislike unnatural medical jargon, or over-explaining of procedures. This didn't happen, for which I was grateful. The medicine itself played a big part in the book, perhaps for the first time that I've ever seen in fantasy. Hammer was also an interesting character, but this time he really was pushing into the stereotypical - strong, brooding, mysterious, handsome. That's par for the course when it comes to romance, I suppose. The romance itself wasn't forced, but it was also quick. It was probably the thing that annoyed me about this book - but it will probably be what a lot of readers like, especially the YA crowd. Not really my cup of tea, but I can tolerate it.
The mystery itself was good. I have a partiality to amnesia-type stories, and there was enough court intrigue and politics to keep me guessing about motivations. Add in a hefty dose of whodunit, and this had the feel of an Agatha Christie novel set in a fantasy world with a lot more romance.
A solid 4/5 stars. I'm definitely going to listen to the next book in the series. The narrator was phenomenal.