The Magicians & Mrs. Quent
By Galen Beckett
Random House Publishing Group
The Magicians & Mrs. Quent is a fantasy book with an alternative Regency/Victorian feel to it. There are ladies and lords, hand wringing, and lots of letter writing with some magic thrown in. It’s sort of Pride & Prejudice with a side of Wuthering Heights.
Ivy Lockwell lives with her mother, two sisters, and their ailing father. Their position is precarious but Ivy is determined to keep her small family together. She has a love of books and is constantly reading, especially her father’s magic books, in the hopes of finding a cure for him. She meets and falls for a Mr. Rafferdy and her hope of saving her family seems solid until fate intervenes and Rafferdy is told by his father that he will be marrying someone of his social standing and not a girl like Ivy. When Ivy’s mother suddenly dies, she takes a job as a governess to two small children to support her sisters. The job is in the country far outside the city and her family. It is here that she meets Mr. Quent and, after a short romance, the two marry. On her return to the city, she once again befriends Mr. Rafferdy who has also had a turn of fortunes in his life. Ivy’s life begins colliding with Rafferdy’s and the two find themselves in a showdown with evil that neither expected.
This book is broken up into three sections. The first part has a very Pride & Prejudice feel to it complete with letters and dreary sitting rooms. Part two takes Ivy to Heathcrest a la Wuthering Heights if you will. Part three brings Ivy back to the city to fight the evil she believes to be responsible for her father’s illness.
My problem with the three books was that they felt like three different books and not one cohesive book. Only the characters held the story together and it didn’t feel like that was enough. If felt as if it were missing something. It’s obvious that a second book is in the works as the ending, while satisfactory, leaves a few things open.
I liked Ivy a lot. She’s a strong, interesting character with secrets and a power she doesn’t know she has. Her relationship with Mr. Quent is predictable and slightly unsatisfying as you never really learn much about him. Rafferdy, however, doesn’t become likable until book three and then he still has his moments.
I know this review is starting to sound as if I didn’t like the book and that’s not true. I did like it. I actually found myself thinking about it days after I finished. The world built in this book – day and night shifts, the use of magic, dark and light powers – is interesting but unfortunately it just doesn’t feel cohesive. To me, it felt like there was a disconnect between the characters and the plot. Everything is vaguely related but I didn’t feel like it all went together, somewhat like the title of the book.
It’s Austen and Bronte with some magic thrown in and that was obviously the intent. And I think that’s what drew me in to the story since I love books that have this feel to them. It was an OK read but would have been good if there were more than a few tenuous threads holding it together.