Sunday 20 January 2019

Murder, Magic, and What We Wore

Finished January 7
Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones

This teen historical novel has intrigue and magic. The novel takes place in 1818, and begins in London. The main character, Annis Whitworth, is sixteen years old and lives with her aunt Cassia. Her father travels a lot, and Annis has long suspected that he was a spy. Now she has just learned that he is dead, and that his money seems to have disappeared.
Annis and her aunt, though not living extravagantly, will have to move to smaller quarters and work to earn their keep. Annis believes that following in her father's footsteps is a natural move, with her first case to find his killer, but her attempt to convince the authorities does not go well. Around the same time, Annis discovers that she has the ability to sew glamours, that is to use needle and thread and a fixed mental intent, and transform cloth into what she envisions. In some cases, this ability even extends to changing the appearance of the wearer to the appearance of another person. Annis is new to using this ability, and can't always control what the outcome will be exactly.
As she and her sister move to a small house, and take only one young girl as a servant, Millie, she works under another identity as a seamstress sewing glamours for ladies.
But her original aim to find her father's killer is still there, and she finds herself both watching others and being watched as she works toward this end. Millie too has her own secret skills, and they will come in very handy here.
This novel shows both the historical expectations for someone of Annis' situation and class, and some interesting ideas around magic in this setting.

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