It is a truth universally accepted that well-bred members of society are not beleaguered with magic. For Elsabeth Dover and her sisters, that truth means living in a perpetual state of caution, never using their sorcerous gifts in public. Elsabeth chafes under the stricture, although not enough to risk the possibility of good marriages for her sisters...until she meets handsome, arrogant Fitzgerald Archer. Elsabeth, attracted to Archer's wit and offended by his manner, strives to keep her impetuous youngest sister's use of magic in check so that their eldest sister, Rosamund, might find happiness with Archer's wealthy friend, Mr. Webber. But when Elsa fails to keep young Leopoldina in line, Archer's disapproval of the family taint means an abrupt end to Rosamund's hopes and leads to a terrible discovery about the price of magic....
©2016 C. E. Murphy (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
A reviewer on Nocturnal Book Reviews since 2011. Love fantasy of any kind, contemporary fiction, kick butt heroines & antiheroes.
Yet again I have to characterize a book as "nice", and it's killing me to say so. It's a nice read, peeps, but it doesn't deliver much excitement. It's pretty much Pride & Prejudice with a couple of different twists and a tiny bit of magic to spice things up. Overall it's a failed promise of all the things it could have been.
It might be just a tiny personal grudge on my behalf, but if you are creating a universe with alternative history of 19th century England where magic while still frowned upon in high society, is real and practiced, you might want to make it a bigger part of the plot.
Instead we are going through the phases of Pride & Prejudice with slightly changed names and slightly changed plot where here and there magic is thrown in to encourage the characters to think and act beyond what's expected of them.
I was surprised by it because I picked this book up solely on the strength of C.E. Murphy's name. I remember her urban fantasy as gritty and dark, and I at least expected some sort of reflection of it in Magic & Manners.
Alas, it's merely a pleasant read, but if you crave something a bit stronger and more twisted, try Sorcerer to the Crown or Shades of Milk and Honey instead.
Magic & Manners is quiet and unassuming and perfectly lovely. The characterization is full of depth and charm. I actually enjoyed all the sisters, and their friends and admirers.The countryside descriptions are idyllic and come to life easily while listening to the superb narrator. If you like your alternative history not to became a historical fantasy with paranormal elements, this book will be more to your liking. Unfortunately, I am used to stronger stuff in my fiction, and I found it lacking.
Still, recommended, with some reservations.
This is a Jane Austen knockoff, let's say that upfront. I enjoyed it immensely.
The Dover family lives at Oakton in circumstances that will be remarkably familiar to readers of Austen's Pride & Prejudice. Mr. Dover's family has a secret that could ruin them: Magic runs in the Dover line, and the five daughters are afflicted by it. That is why they live quietly in the country rather than in town. This may not be enough.
The five daughters are Rosamunde, Elsabeth, Ruth, Matilda, and Leopoldina. When Mr Robert Webber moves into the neighborhood, with his sisters Julia Webber and Mrs. Gibbs, Mr. Gibbs, and his friend Fitzgerald Archer, familiar events follow--with differences. Magic makes a very great difference. The fact that this is an alternate world where English gentry and nobility intermarry with gentry and nobility from the kingdoms of Africa makes a less obviously dramatic difference.
There's little point in talking about the plot, since it's very familiar. Murphy does some interesting things with it, though. I always thought there was a better outcome available, and a fairly obvious one, for the middle daughter. Murphy clearly agreed! It's nicely handled, and you will wind up liking Ruth a great deal more than Mary.
There's also another interesting development, that I hesitate to discuss too directly as it would be a spoiler. I'll just say that the phrase "Boston marriage' applies.
This is light, fun, and entertaining.
I received a free copy of this audiobook from Audible in exchange for an honest review.
Totally addicted! It's possible I might need Audible rehab.
Not what I expected from CE Murphy. Frankly a wee bit disappointed. More romance than magic.
art impresario, wonder afficianado and avid reader.
I was not quite sure what to expect when you too a favored classic and added sorcery.
The reassignment of beloved characters was surprising and delightful.
Captivating story beautifully performed. I am so looking forward to the next book in this series. Exceeded all expectations, fans of Austen will be content on this new spin.
First the negative:
1) If you aren't going to enjoy seeing all of the puzzle pieces taken from "Pride and Prejudice," you're not going to enjoy the book. I like comparing originals and retellings and so quite enjoyed the experience but it is almost word-for-word in places.
2) I read historical works in part to get away from modern literature's obsession with sex and sexuality. There is a lesbian relationship brought about in the book which A) feels unfaithful and inauthentic to the original and B) TBH, I feel this character deserves a better ending than a relationship with the story's established nasty, shallow piece of work who doesn't get any real redeeming qualities added. She refers to their relationship as her awakening but what I see is a power imbalance exploited by someone richer and bored.
I found the story and the reader quite compelling. I'm glad to see this is called book one, as that means there may be a book two. Some reviews complained that the magic wasn't more integrated but that's somewhat the point and it looks like the situation will be further addressed in other books.
For the first few chapters of the book I was concerned it was just a re-telling of the same story, but this story evolves very much into its own and maintains the air of old england society about it while it does.
I'm a Jane Austen fan and have endured a lot of adaptations. This one started slow, mirroring scene for scene through the exposition, and even adding scenes to look at a P&P scene from another character's POV. I almost stopped listening after the first couple of hours because I was bored. Finally, the changes started to pile up until, after a little too long, the story took on its own life. I won't be listening to this again, but I'm interested in trying out the second in the series when it eventually comes out.
So captivating, I kept resetting the sleep timer through the night! As a huge fan of the Walker series, I wasn't sure of what to expect, but Murphy's take on the Austen classic exceeded my expectations and then some.
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