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Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly…

Murder, Magic, and What We Wore (edition 2017)

by Kelly Jones

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263415,071 (4.25)3
Title:Murder, Magic, and What We Wore
Authors:Kelly Jones
Info:Alfred A. Knopf, 2017.
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:teen, fantasy, England, historical fiction

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Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones



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When Annis's father dies, she soon discovers that he was a spy for the English against Napoleon. Determined to find out what happened, she is ready to demand the War Office make her a spy too. Along the way she and her aunt Cassia and maid Millie, now penniless single ladies, find that Annis has a magical talent with dresses, which may just be the key to their success if they can manage to keep it a secret.

Lovers of Regency and historical fantasy will find a lot to love about this book. Annis is a lovable but naive heroine, who sometimes drove me crazy with her assumptions that she could just... waltz in and be accepted as a spy? Really? But I enjoyed the cleverness, reminiscent of Sorcery and Cecilia and Etiquette and Espionage. Rabid fans of the genre will also have the added benefit of recognizing characters borrowed from their books, which largely went over my head. The story wraps up well on its own and still leaves open the possibility of sequels, which I would certainly read if they come. ( )
  bell7 | Oct 3, 2017 |
I like historical mysteries, the Regency time period, and magic which made this book a no-brainer choice for me. The story begins when 16-year-old Annis Whitworth learns that her father has died in France. When her father's man of business arrives to tell Annis and her Aunt Cassia about the death, he also tells them that her father died penniless. Annis and Aunt Cassia are looking at a major life change!

Her aunt is determined that the two look for work as governesses or companions but Annis has a different plan: she wants to be a spy for England. After all, she has figured out that her father was one and she has deciphered some clues that were in his effects that the War Office needs to know. However, the War Office doesn't need a teenage lady to work for them.

Annis falls back on her plan two. While remaking ready-made mourning clothes for herself and her aunt, she discovers that she is a glamour mage who is able to change the appearance of things by sewing them. Besides making clothing more fashionable and flattering, she can also make clothes that disguise the wearer as someone else. She is certain that that skill will be useful to the War Office but she is rebuffed again.

She and her aunt, along with their new maid Millicent O'Leary, move to a small town where Annis disguises herself as a French widow Madame Martine who is an extraordinary fashionable dressmaker. Annis is determined to earn enough for them all to resume their fashionable and upper class lives.

Annis and Millicent face a number of dangers. There are the men wearing navy boots who are pursuing them. There is the upper class villain who attempted to rape Millicent and whose sister took his side losing Millicent her job.

This was an engaging story. I liked Annis despite the fact that she was more than a little naive. She had plenty of determination. Fans of historical mysteries with some magic will enjoy this story. ( )
  kmartin802 | Aug 17, 2017 |
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

It's 1818 London and 16-year-old Annis is leading the life of a typical society girl. However, when her father dies mysteriously and his accounts drained of money, her suspicions about him being a spy are confirmed. Left alone with her aunt and nearly destitute, the desperate pair, along with their maid Millie, move out of London to lead a quiet life in the country. Annis, however, is determined to make a living as a businesswoman, despite her aunt's misgivings. In disguise to protect her reputation and equipped with her recently discovered affinity for magic, Annis hopes to recover her family's fortune sewing glamours for society ladies, all the while hunting for her father's killer. But dangerous men are in hot pursuit of coded messages Annis is in possession of and becoming a spy is not nearly as straightforward as she thought.

A delightful regency romp with magic, mystery, and no shortage of wit. I was thoroughly charmed by the clever Annis and her resilient and resourceful maid Millie. The glamour sewing scenes were captivating, the genuine female friendship representation just what I like to see in young adult lit, and the action saucy enough to keep this story moving. Jones even cleverly includes a smorgasbord of literary and historical/mythical allusions for those who may be familiar (and a useful guide at the back for those who may not be). The ending felt rather abrupt, but didn't prevent me from loving Murder, Magic, and What We Wore. Enchanting, adventurous, and with the perfect amount of grit to save the plot from getting syrupy. ( )
  GennaC | Jun 21, 2017 |
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