In college I would spend at least an hour at the onset of every essay I wrote trying to come up with a clever opening line. Let’s just skip that today. The point is, I’m finally writing a blog post – now that I have actual followers I figured it was time… that and I’m procrastinating on going to the gym.
I never really intended to review books on here, but my fiction juices haven’t really been flowing as of lately. Moving on.
The Magicians and Mrs. Quent by Galen Beckett:
“What if there was a fantastical cause underlying the social constraints and limited choices confronting a heroine in a novel by Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte? Galen Beckett began writing The Magicians and Mrs. Quent to answer that question.”
When I saw this book in the store I absolutely HAD to have it. It seemed like everything I love in a book – historical fiction (with a hint of paranormal), based in a fictional land (much like London but slightly off), and written like an 1800’s classic.
I struggled through the first third of this book, I was bored but not quite bored enough to give up – just bored enough that I read about 4 other books at the same time. The story opens with Miss Ivy Lockwell strolling down the street with her nose in a book, oblivious to her surroundings (I already like her). She lives in a 4 story house with her mother and 2 sisters, her father occupies the attic – an attic filled with magic books and strange devices – and he never leaves. For the first 200 pages Ivy strolls around town, attending tea parties, buying ribbons, and falling in love with a man that is ranked high above her; Mr. Rafferdy. Meanwhile, Mr. Rafferdy and his friend Eldyn get into some 19th century mischief of their own. Eldyn’s sister falls for a notorious highway man who then forces the already poor and weak Eldyn to deliver incriminating messages against the King – a crime punishable by death. Meanwhile Rafferdy finds himself in possession of a magicians ring that refuses to come off his finger but even more concerning is the fact that he’s falling for Ivy Lockwell – something his father has strictly forbidden. All in all the first third of the book is reminiscent of books like The Great Gatsby and Wuthering Heights sprinkled with a few magic spells here and there, nothing too exciting.
The second part of the book is purely from Ivy’s perspective in a letter she’s writing to her father. She has relocated to the crumbling old mansion of Mr. Quent far outside the city – a mansion filled with taxidermied animals, a mean old housekeeper, and 2 children who continue to see apparitions of a woman in white. I LOVED part two. If Samuel Richardson and Edgar Allen Poe had ever joined forces on a novel I imagine it would have been a lot like this. Ivy is forced to confront the ghosts (both of the mansion and of her past) while attempting to resist the strong arms of Mr. Quent – her too old, too ugly, ranked too high employer – all the while discovering an unknown power of her own. Part two was dark and gothic and, at times, downright chilling. to part two.
Part 3, back to the city, back to boring town (although I will admit the last few chapters were quite fast paced and exciting). However, will I read the sequel? Probably not. I’m satisfied with the ending, the author didn’t leave me hanging off the edge of a cliff or begging for more. However, based on the direction of the plot line the sequel promises to be more exciting and scifi filled…