Ivy Lockwell is one of three sisters, living in a fading house with her mother and ailing father. Without her around, it’s likely that her family would fall apart, but it’s also essential that the three girls marry; that’s because when their mother dies, their house will go to an odious cousin. Ivy’s father has been ill for some time now, and everyone but Ivy believes it’s due to his excessive magick use. Ivy is convinced that if she can find the spell to reverse the damage, she can cure her father; the little notes that he left her around the house encourage her in her quest. When she takes a job with the mysterious Mr Quent, Ivy begins to realize that the problem with magick isn’t just confined to her family, and that she might have deadlier enemies than she’d ever supposed.
This was such a charming book in so many ways. Ivy and her family are absolutely wonderful characters. Each of them has his or her own distinctive personality and the viewpoint switches around frequently enough that I could get to know several of them. The entire book is pervaded with a nice feel of fantasy, mystery, and at times romance. The plot is nicely twisty and turny for the most part, and even though I wasn’t entirely kept guessing throughout the book, it completely held my attention. I loved the fantasy world, with its variations on daylight and peculiar version of magick; I was really eager to figure out how it all fit together.
What I really loved about it, though, was the fact that this felt to me like a love letter to two of my favorite authors, Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. Sections of both authors’ books are recalled in a variety of ways, and even the prose style feels like it could very well belong in the nineteenth century in particular. I loved reading the echoes of Jane Eyre in the middle section of the novel in particular. It was like reading a few of my favorite novels with magic included, and to be honest, for me you can’t get much better than that. I have read several reviews which complain that it isn’t original enough, but I’d disagree with that. The rest of the book was enchanting in its own right, and such an homage to the classics simply made it better.
Honestly, this was just another of those books that perfectly suited me. A bookish protagonist, echoes of my favorite authors, a lovely subtle romance, and a wonderful fantasy world to back it all up left me a very happy girl. The Magicians and Mrs. Quent may not be for everyone, but it was definitely for me. I am eagerly awaiting the sequel, which is releasing next month, and I only hope that it’s as delightful a read as this was.
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