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The Magicians and Mrs. Quent Paperback – November 24, 2009
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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From Publishers Weekly
Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë and H.P. Lovecraft collide in Beckett's periodically entertaining debut. Young Ivy Lockwell, the unmarried daughter of a family stricken with poverty after her magician father went mad, travels from her home in Invarel, a mirror of Austen-era London, to become a governess at the country estate of Heathcrest, a Bronte-analogue complete with mysterious Rochester stand-in, Mr. Quent. As a woman, she is forbidden to perform magic and consoles herself with the study of magical history, discovering an ancient story still working its will on the world. Treading a fine line between homage and unoriginality, Invarel occasionally sparkles with descriptions of illusionist shows and quasi-fascist government activity, but Heathcrest is lifted part and parcel from Jane Eyre, and Beckett relies too much on references to that work to fuel emotional arcs and reader attachment. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“A charming and mannered fantasy confection with a darker core of gothic romance wrapped around a mystery. Fans of any of these will enjoy it. Readers who enjoy all these genres will find it a banquet.” —Robin Hobb, author of Renegade’s Magic
“I loved reading this piquant page-turner of a retro-modernist fantasy novel. But it’s more than just a rattling good time. Like its characters, it is not merely devastatingly clever, but has a heart and a soul.” —Ellen Kushner, author of The Privilege of the Sword
“The Magicians and Mrs. Quent is a charming and accomplished debut, sure to delight fantasy afficianados and lovers of gothic romance alike.” —Jacqueline Carey, author of Kushiel’s Mercy
“The Magicians and Mrs Quent combines the sense and sensibility of Miss Austen with the sweep and romantic passion of the Miss Brontes in a fantastical feast of delights. From the moment I encountered the resourceful and charming Miss Ivoleyn Lockwell, I was eager to follow her from the fashionable streets of the city to her new employment as governess at lonely Heathcrest Hall on the windswept and rugged moorlands. In Altania, Galen Beckett has created a fascinating and engaging world where the formalities and courtesies of polite society conceal the emergence of a dark and ancient force that threatens to destabilize the kingdom and destroy everything that Ivy holds dear.”—Sarah Ash, author of Tracing the Shadow
“An enchanting blend of Victorian melodrama, Edwardian comedy of manners, and magic, a trip into an alternate universe in which top-hatted gentlemen dabble in magic and young women of great spirit are as beleaguered by their lack of dowry as they are by the evil villains. The characters are convincing, the plot vertiginous, and the danger bone-chilling.”—Delia Sherman, author of The Porcelain Dove
"[Beckett] cleverly mixes fantasy and literary....with elements of the fantastic, an imaginative eye, and a dry sense of humor."—NPR.org
Top customer reviews
The tale itself is wonderful, with the subplots of the three main characters masterfully braided into each other. The three main characters are:
- Ivoleyne “Ivy” Lockwell, a gentle and gentile young woman, born with a special ability.
- Dashton Rafferdy, the bored son of a lord, who is content to live a frivolous life—at first.
- Eldyn Garrit, a sensitive young man with heavy responsibilities, struggling to do the right thing.
The world Beckett creates is much like Earth, but not quite Earth, in late 18th century Britain, but not quite Britain. This is a tale where the stars in their courses line up to create confusion and worse. Unlikely heroes rise up to challenge overwhelming odds.
This book has mystery and suspense. The plots are complex but tightly woven in their twists and turns, with no loose ends. There is open magic and forbidden magic. And yes, there is love: familial love, forbidden love, and passionate romantic love.
With “The Magicians and Mrs. Quent,” if you want a great story, you’ve got it. If you want a masterfully written story rich in descriptions—a story you can get lost in—you’ve got it. Someday, this book and its two successors “The House on Durrow Street” and "The Master of Heathcrest Hall" will be looked upon as literature.
The book is set in a weird alternate England, where the relative lengths of days and nights vary greatly on a day to date basis, where magic exists, and where old growth forests behave...oddly. Some of the smartest parts of the story were the ways in which the variable day lengths affected people's day to day life. The flaw was book seemed somewhat disjointed, with the entire plot shifting suddenly when the author switched what work of literature she was emulating. Also, characters seem to get sick too much and too conveniently.