Dark Mirror by M. J. Putney
publisher: St. Martins Press
release date: March 1st, 2011
paperback, 306 pages
intended audience: Young adult
source: from publisher for honest review
Lady Victoria Mansfield, youngest daughter of the Earl and
Countess of Fairmount, is destined for a charmed life. Soon she
will be presented during the London season, where she can choose a mate worthy of her status.
Yet Tory has a shameful secret—a secret so powerful that, if
exposed, it could strip her of her position and disgrace her family forever. Tory’s blood is tainted…by magic. When a shocking accident forces Tory to demonstrate her despised skill, the secret she’s fought so hard to hide is revealed for all to see. She is immediately exiled to Lackland Abbey, a reform school for young men and women in her position. There she will learn to suppress her deplorable talents and maybe, if she’s one of the lucky ones, be able to return to society.
But Tory’s life is about to change forever. All that she’s ever
known or considered important will be challenged. What lies
ahead is only the beginning of a strange and wonderful journey
into a world where destiny and magic come together, where true
love and friendship find her, and where courage and strength of
character are the only things that determine a young girl’s worth.
Review: Let me just start by saying this: I loved this book. The description does not even begin to do it justice or even skim the surface of what this one is about! Not only is it a brilliant story of magic and prejudice and time travel, but the historical part of this is the real gem. We get a sort of two-for-one deal here. Most historical time travel stories, at least one of the times visited is modern times. With Dark Mirror, you get a taste of both the 1800s and the 1940s, two war-stricken eras and that plays a big part in the story. The detail put into each time period was impressive, I can only imagine the amount of research time the author put in to really make each surrounding come alive the way it did.
The characters were another strong point. I loved the main character, Tory. Her decision at the beginning of the story is noble and brave, despite the fact that she knows it could possibly ruin the rest of her life. I loved the fact that when everyone she knew turned on her, there was very little self-pity---she was sad but basically said "screw em'!" (in the most proper and ladylike way that a victorian lady could, of course!) if they wanted to turn their backs on her for something that was not her fault, so be it. I was glad that she never regretted the act that led to her exile. I also loved Elspeth, the first girl Tory meets at reform school, Lackland Abbey. Her attitude toward being a sort of outcast at the school is perfect. And of course, there is Allarde. Noble and gentlemanly, with a quiet air of mystery about him. Lots of supporting characters and each was very well written. I loved how, after being abandoned by their own families, they all pull together to make their own self-made family, brought together by their desire to use their forbidden powers to save lives in times of war.
This story didn't let up for one minute, I was completely enchanted all the way through. It felt like being in the world of Jane Austen with a healthy dose of magic and time-travel thrown in. And then you experience a little of the fear and desperation of the battle of Dunkirk. I can only imagine where this story might go in the next books in this series---the possiblities are endless!
Visit M.J. Putney's site here.
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