Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Magic and Manners

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Magic and Manners (2016) C.E. Murphy

magic-and-mannersSet in alternate Regency England, with magic.

First, I really liked the magic and world-building. Magic is stigmatized in England, worked only by the lower-classes who are useful to the crown in warfare.

The new Mrs Dover marked no complaints about a home   where the tea remained mysteriously hot even after standing unattended for hours, or where a warm breeze seemed to waft from   the kitchen’s roaring fires into all the coldest places in the halls.   The laundry dried remarkably quickly, and stains never set in   tablecloths; these were the unrealised advantages to marrying a   man rumoured to have magic of his own. Mr Dover had more   money than Mr Hampshire; perhaps it was the greater income   which allowed grass to grow more greenly or the dogs to be   particularly well mannered and disinclined to shedding.

And in this world, magic kept Europe from conquering the New World, so instead of the (eventual) United States, we have the League of Iroquois with Europeans barely tolerated. And there are African Kingdoms whose descendants are treated as equals in England.

Second, I love that regardless of how much I despised Fitzgerald Archer upon first meeting him, his change of heart and behavior eventually put me firmly in his camp–and these changes were not easy, but a struggle for both Archer and Elsabeth.

Archer sat stiffly, ate little, spoke not at   all unless directly addressed, and then only answered as briefly   as possible. Was the lamb tender enough? It was. Had he been   bothered by the spot of rain that fell earlier? He had not. Were   the vegetables to his liking? They were. Did he enjoy the previous Season in London? No.

Elsabeth Dover and her four sisters (Charlotte, Ruth, Matilda (Tildy), and Dina (Leopoldina) are afflicted with magic from their father, and the accidental display by the two eldest as young girls sent the family from London to country where the girls could (hopefully) escape the stigma.

it was Mr Dover’s private opinion that   Ruth would not find a man dour enough to suit her, much less   be suited by her, and that any man fool enough to marry Leopoldina or Matilda was not a man he wished to pay a dowry to.

Mr Webber has brought his family and his friend Mr Archer to spend the summer in the country, and once Mrs Dover learns of eligible bachelors in the area, she can do nothing by plan ways to marry off her daughters.

But of course other mothers in the area are thinking the same thing.

“My mamma,” Sophia said with great and precise restraint,  “ sometimes mistakes the pursuit of my welfare for kindness,   when to someone else it might be a terrible cruelty.”

I really really love how the various characters grew over the course of the story.

“(O)f course I can do nothing less than lend my God-given strength to their health and happiness.”  

“God-given, is it, Ruth?”  

“We are made in His image, and He does not make mistakes,   nor burden us with gifts or faults we cannot bear.”

That is a lovely and delightful sentiment.

“We do not forgive people because they are worthy, Papa.   We forgive them because we love them, and because it gives us   peace within ourselves to do so.”

As is that.

I really, thoroughly enjoyed this–despite never having bothered to have read Pride and Prejudice.
Rating: 9/10

Published by Miz Kit Productions


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