Haven’t we all dreamed, at one time or another, of running away from it all with our one true love to open a quiet bookshop with cozy armchairs and hot tea? Rebecca Thorne shows prodigious skill in tapping into our idle daydreams in Can’t Spell Treason Without Tea, her “cozy fantasy steeped in love”. Cozy fantasy isn’t usually my thing, but seeing as this one is set in a bookshop, I couldn’t resist picking up the copy that Macmillan Australia sent for review.

The dedication gives you a clear read of the Vibes: “For anyone who really needs a cup of tea and a nice book. Take a break. You’ve earned it.”

The story follows Reyna, a dissatisfied private guard for a cruel Queen, and Kianthe, an all-powerful elemental mage. They’re deeply in love, and decide to throw all caution to the wind by leaving their bosses and all-consuming jobs behind to open a bookshop (that also serves tea and baked goods) in a tiny backwater town occasionally beset by dragons.

It’s a lovely book to read, an escapist Sapphic fantasy with occasional moments of mortal peril. I’m particularly impressed with how Thorne balanced exposition and action (always especially tricky in fantasy). She leaves a lot of doors open in the plot, clearly intending Can’t Spell Treason Without Tea as the first in a series that explores her world and its characters further. I probably won’t rush out to buy any of the other books, but it was still a perfectly pleasant reading experience.

Buy Can’t Spell Treason Without Tea on Booktopia here. (affiliate link)
Read Can’t Spell Treason Without Tea on audiobook via Libro.fm here. (affiliate link)