I picked this one up when it was on sale, since the blurb sounded like something that would work for me - it's alternate history with a side of magic, a society like the Regency period but one based off a history where men have magic and women do politics. In the end, I liked the idea a lot better than I liked its execution, which was frustrating.
As we start the book, our protagonist Cassandra is in a difficult but predominantly self-generated situation: having always been the odd one out (a woman who wants to do magic, even though she comes from a long line of female politicians), she's then proceeded to burn herself out by attempting a spell she shouldn't have tried on her own. As she was also engaged to another magician at the time, she's broken things off with him and is annoyed to find that she's thrown together with him in the context of a snow-locked house party. Someone there is threatening to upset the long-standing treaties with the fey by messing with the weather and, mostly as a result of an ill-judged promise, Cassandra ends up being the one who needs to find out and fix the situation. .
So far, so good. Plenty to work with there, you'd think, but also some room for recriminations and a soupcon of angst. Nope, not in this particular book - Cassandra's ex is particularly perfect despite having no perceivable backbone, as he's apparently the most understanding creature ever to make puppy eyes across the room at a woman in all of written history. Sure, she's trampled on his heart but he understands why and doesn't judge her in any way for doing so!
Anyway, the situation gets unravelled and the person threatening the alliance is identified and dealt with, while Cassandra and her ex get back together. There's a sub-plot around another woman wanting to follow in Cassandra's footsteps by becoming a magician, which is used as a way to sublimate her feelings around not being able to do magic any more by setting up a rival school for female wizards. Sadly, I don't think I could cope with this amount of sugar again, so I will bow out gracefully here and not pick up the sequel...