The Jewel (The Lone City #1) by Amy Ewing
Source: ARC provided by publisher and eARC from Edelweiss
Goodreads link: (click here)
What's it about?
Violet Lasting was taken from her home in a poor district of The Lone City, like many young girls are. These girls are special. They have a genetic abnormality that gives them powers, called Auguries. They can make living things grow and change the shape and color of objects, but this ability comes at a great physical cost. These girls, including Violet, are taken to holding facitities where they are taught to control their powers in preparation for being sold at auction to the wealthy royalty of The Jewel. The Jewel is in the center of the Lone City, where people live opulent lives of luxury. Once purchased, the girls are stripped of their identity, paraded around in fancy dresses and treated like property. But, there is a reason that they are bought and sold. These girls are the last hope that the nobility have to continue their bloodlines. The women of The Jewel are no longer able to bear children on their own. Every attempt ends horribly, with the child disfigured or stillborn. The only way for royal children to be born is with the help of unique surrogates, the girls with Auguries. The Auguries allow them to control the growth of the royal babies, internally fixing what causes their deformities. Violet is bought by The Dutchess of the Lake, a powerful and cruel woman with a frightening agenda. Violet is beginning to understand that beneath the glamour of The Jewel is a dark, dangerous world of deception and murder. As bad as she thinks she has it, she also knows that it could surely be worse. Something horrible is happening to other surrogates and she fears the inevitability of her own uncertain and terrifying fate closing in.
While Violet waits to become a surrogate, she meets a handsome young man who is employed by the Duchess of the Lake. The two have an instant, intense connection and they fall hopelessly in love. This romance is strictly forbidden, but they can't forget each other. Every moment they steal away together could be their last. Violet will eventually have to choose between love and freedom, but she knows that as much as she wants both, there's a possibility that she could end up with neither.