A Most Improper Magic

Written by Stephanie Burgis
Review by Julie Parker

A lively, fast-moving story with a high-spirited, adventurous heroine makes Stephanie Burgis’s book historical fiction’s answer to the ever-popular chick lit. The story is set in Jane Austen’s Regency England and describes the adventures of three sisters and their romantic entanglements. Kat Stephenson lives at home with her father, stepmamma and two sisters. Her spendthrift gambling brother lives away from home and is the bane of her father’s life. Kat’s mother has died and her clergyman father remarried, not to his daughters’ liking, but they manage to get along most of the time. But now their stepmother has decided to find a suitable (rich) match for Kat’s eldest sister, Elissa. At the beginning of the book, Kat has discovered her mother’s notebooks hidden in her other sister, Angeline’s, wardrobe. From it she discovers that their beloved mother was a secret witch and, seemingly, concocted a love potion to entrap their father. She soon realises that Angelina has inherited her mother’s unearthly talents but, as she turns twelve, also realises that she, herself, has some strange, as yet undefined, powers. Upon finding her mother’s golden pocket mirror, life takes a strange turn. She meets the ‘Guardians’ in another dimension but also meets one of them, Mr Gregson, in her day-to-day life, as he is determined to become her tutor to help shape her uncanny abilities.

A delightful romp through Regency England; girls of 10+ should love it.