marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

A Most Improper Magic

A Most Improper Magic by Stephanie Burgis.  Or Kat, Incorrigible.  It's had both titles in different editions.

And here is a different Regency.  For one thing, Kat, our heroine, is a twelve-year-old who's not Out yet.  Her older sisters are, and her stepmother is arranging away for Elissa, the older, to marry money so that their brother Charles can be saved from the debtors' prison for his gambling debts.  A major problem, given that their mother had once served the tea and been so negligent as to do it without hands, revealing her magic, impoverishing her husband, who did not receive a second living he had been promised, and tainting the family with scandal for years.  (Their mother had died in childbirth with Kat.)  Kat attempts to scuttle the marriage with more scandal by running away disguised as boy, and gets nowhere.

Elissa is wiling to accept the marriage, even despite the dead first wife..  As their sister Angeline observes, she reads too many Gothics,

Kat tries to investigate the cabinet where her stepmother had locked all their mother's belongings.  And she finds magic there.

The rest of the tale involves a highwaymen -- or two, or three, depending on how you count -- and a burglar; a missing will and the obvious suggestion that the man who would lose by it would have burned it rather than carried it about; a lady who still has unfond memories of their mother; many discoveries about their mother's legacy; a ball, with Kat being allowed out rather than stuck in the nursery for various reason; exploring an abbey and a manor; Angeline's foolish attempt to find her true love, and Elissa finding it very romantic to fall in love with a man she can't possibly marry, and couldn't have even if they didn't need the money for Charles.
Tags: fiction reviews: alternate world fantasy, fiction reviews: children's fantasy

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