This has been on my TBR for ages. I love Jane Austen – no surprise there, I think a great deal of bookish readers my age do, and I love magic so combine those two flavors and you have a winner. I unfortunately never managed to get my hands on a copy so while feeding my daughter late one night I found a copy on Libby. It worked great for a late night and early morning feed read.
TL;DR: A great light read, something easy but engaging and fun.
- The language and manner of the book screams Austen without some of the density that Austen can have. I think Mrs. Kowal really mastered the language and made it accessible to the modern reader. Even someone who doesn’t read a lot of classical novels could read this, see the source inspiration but still feel like it’s an approachable read.
- I also really liked the seeming combination of a lot of plot elements from various Austen novels. The two sister dynamic, the Darcy/Lizzie dynamic, the roguish money grubbing man. A lot of these are common in various Austen novels but she did a good job of adapting them for this one.
- I wish we’d had more detail on the magic. I liked what we got and it made some sense but I wish we’d had just a bit more detail on it. The description of how it was used and manipulated was a bit vague, so I had trouble visualizing just what was happening in those scenes where the magic is actively being used.
- The characters were really interesting and I think she did a good job, but that means the characters that were meant to be over the top were really over the top. Perhaps to maybe a step too far? The mother and the sister of our protagonist were the worst. I actively despised seeing them on the page, which sure has me engaged but I wonder if it was meant to be that strong of a feeling.
Overall I’d definitely recommend this. I’d consider it light reading, I was up at 2 and 5am pretty regularly and was able to read it with little trouble. So if you’re looking for something that’s a good read like that – especially something very low intensity, this is a great read for you.