Fans of Patrice Kindl’s Keeping the Castle or Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer’s Sorcery and Cecelia will adore this funny Regency-era mystery about a determined young woman with a magical trick up her sleeve . . .
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?
School Library Journal, July 2017, starred review
“A cross between Jane Austen dramas and Harriet the Spy, this delightful strong female–led title mixes historical fiction and spy mystery with a touch of magic to produce a story filled with adventure. Jones infuses her female characters with boldness, intelligence, and wit. Refreshing.”
Booklist, July 25, 2017
“A touch of Jane Austen, a dash of adventure, and just a hint of magic make it shine.”
Kirkus, June 15, 2017
“’Women’s work’ is a weapon in this female-centric spy novel set in the Regency era… A great deal of fun, one stitch at a time.”
VOYA, August 2017
“Funny and thrilling. A great choice for those who love Regency romances and adventurous heroines.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Vol. 71, N. 2, October 2017
“Annis, Millie, and Cassia uncover truths about one another and themselves while sifting the clues of Annis’ father’s murder, standing up for aggrieved womanhood, and doing their bit for England against the threat of Napoleon’s return. More than a clever homage to Jane Austen, this novel plucks characters from history, legend, and contemporary middle-grade and YA Regency novels, dropping Easter eggs right and left for readers to discover on their own before finding their sources cited in the author’s note, which forms a must-read list for fans of the period.”
The Horn Book, November/December 2017, #6
“Secret messages, disguises, code names, and knife fights flit in and out of ballrooms and dressmakers’ shops in this Regency-era adventure…. With only a sprinkling of romance and plenty of girl power, the heroine’s interests prove that bravery and style can go comfortably hand-in-hand.”
The Christian Science Monitor, November 3, 2017
“Charming in a way that feels as sweetly ingenuous as its heroine… Keep a weather eye out for Jones’s sneakily beautiful passages.”