The Twelfth Enchantment
Random House, Aug 9 2011, $26.00
Ay sixteen Lucy Derrick eloped with Jonas Morrison, but their running away was never finished though it partially wrecked her reputation as being foolish but not a whore. She believes her aborted elopement destroyed her family. A few years later, her oldest sister Emily died just before her father passed. Her middle sister Martha married Mr. Buckles who rejects having Lucy in his house as he obeys his patroness Widow Lady Harriett Dyer. Lucy lives as the poor relation of her resentful martinet Uncle Richard Lowell and his towering abusive housekeeper Mrs. Quince. She is forced to accept a marriage offer from Mr. Olson, owner of a mill with brutal working conditions.
The poet Lord Byron arrives babbling she must not marry before collapsing. Medical man Mr. Snyder arrives and says he cannot help the cursed Byron; he suggests they consult with Miss Mary Crawford. Lucy and Mrs. Quince visit Mary. The “witch” guides Lucy as she lifts the curse haunting Byron. The strangeness turns weirder as Lucy becomes the foci of a colossal conspiratorial collision between the ancient and modern times. Lucy must find a mystical tome to save her country while two enigmatic males court her.
The Twelfth Enchantment is a strange yet engaging Regency fantasy starring a charming heroine struggling with being the unwanted relative fostered off to an engagement she does not remotely accept when her vision of the world is shattered. The storyline is leisurely paced especially towards the beginning to establish time and place (through Byron) and the laws of Liss magic. Readers will appreciate this twisting coming of age historical fantasy as Lucy Derrick tries to save a world she never knew existed until Byron arrived.