Friday, March 4, 2016

Magic & Manners (Austen Chronicle, Book 1), by C.E. Murphy (author), Gemma Dawson (narrator)

Audible Studios, February 2016

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.

Recommended.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from Audible in exchange for an honest review.