I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on September 19th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
The year is 1818, the city is London, and 16-year-old Annis Whitworth has just learned that her father is dead and all his money is missing. And so, of course, she decides to become a spy.
Annis always suspected that her father was himself a spy, and following in his footsteps to unmask his killer makes perfect sense. Alas, it does not make sense to England’s current spymasters—not even when Annis reveals that she has the rare magical ability to sew glamours: garments that can disguise the wearer completely.
Well, if the spies are too pigheaded to take on a young woman of quality, then Annis will take them on. And so she crafts a new double life for herself. Miss Annis Whitworth will appear to live a quiet life in a country cottage with her aunt, and Annis-in-disguise as Madame Martine, glamour artist, will open a magical dressmaking shop. That way she can earn a living, maintain her social standing, and, in her spare time, follow the coded clues her father left behind and unmask his killer.
It can’t be any harder than navigating the London social season, can it?
Murder, Magic, and What We Wore is an addictively adorable story full of magic, mysteries, and misconceptions. It’s going up on my shelf of light and fun historical fiction novels that I save for whenever I need something that will make me smile. If you enjoyed The Stranje House series, this series opener is definitely for you.
Following the death of her father, Annis Whitworth and her aunt find that they are in dire financial straights and unable to keep up the genteel lifestyle to which they have been accustomed. After a fortuitous discovery of her glamour sewing ability, Annis convinces her aunt to move with her to a small town and open a couture boutique. Add in Annis trying to join the secret spy network her father belonged to, some political intrigue regarded Napoleon, and high society and you’ve got the recipe for a wonderfully entertaining read.
I instantly connected with Annis. She was very determined and resourceful, although sometimes those qualities got her into sticky situations. I loved how this book turned the idea of the role of women in high society on its head, particularly in the latter half of the book. There was just a hint of romance, which actually worked perfectly in context. Perhaps we’ll see more in book two?
The plot was sometimes slightly confusing as it jumped from spy intrigue to society balls but not overly so. I was able to keep up with the various plot-lines and I admired how well they were interwoven. There were times in this book that I laughed out loud. I thought that the magic itself was unique and interesting. However, I do wish that the magic system in this world had been explained a bit better.
I absolutely adored Murder, Magic, and What We Wore. I’ll definitely be purchasing a copy when it’s released as well as continuing on with the series. Perfect if you’re looking for a light, fun historical fiction novel!