The Magicians and Mrs. Quent
Bantam, Aug 2008, $23.00
The Lockwell family went from reasonably well off to poverty when the patriarch, a talented magickian, went insane; a prisoner in his own home. As a result of his decline, the family never hosted parties and the three Miss Lockwells rarely socialize with their former equals. Instead suddenly poor, unmarried oldest daughter Ivy the bookworm leaves her home in Invarel and her beloved sisters Rose and Lily to become a governess at a country estate of Heathcrest.
Being female, Ivy is unable to practice the science of magick as that is against the law. As such, she has turned her interest into the history of magic. When she comes across a frightening ancient tome she turns to Mr. Quent for guidance. Apparently a spell from a long forgotten distant past is slowly but successfully performing magic to take control of the world.
This is a fascinating “Regency” fantasy that pays homage to the great female authors of the nineteenth century like Austen and the Bronte sisters. The tale is especially super when the plot focuses on Invarel and the magick malady of Mr. Lockwell with its impact on his family. At Heathcrest on the other hand the story line is filled with much more action as schemes abound but loses some of its freshness as the story crosses to deep into Charlotte Bronte territory. Still Ivy makes for a fine fantasy as she tries to save the world from a deadly spell but magickians and the law ban her from using magick to prevent the disaster from happening.