Regency England, with its balls and hunting parties and other fascinations for the well-to-do who have little of importance to do. Jane Austen's works set in this time period tell us of love, family, and social custom.
Manners and lovely clothes are a must in this era, but 14 year-old Kat don't care to be ladylike, especially where vital matters of family and magic are involved!
The idea of magic being more tolerated in Kat's England 1803 than in the British Isles of our history adds to the suspense - what trouble will she get into next, while truly trying to stay out of trouble?
And to think that we must wait until April 2012 for volume 2 to arrive in the US! Then another full year before volume 3! (let me know if you're headed to the UK and can pick 'em up earlier...)
Book info: Kat, Incorrigible / by Stephanie Burgis. (book 1 of The Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson) Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2011. [author's website] [booktrailers one & two] [publisher site]
My Recommendation: Oooh! Why her older sisters can’t see that Elissa’s marrying old Sir Neville is just impossible, Kat does not understand! Even if he is rich and will pay off their brother’s debts, there’s that rumor about the death of his first wife… Just because their late mother practiced magic, even while married to their country-parson father, is no reason to think that society won’t welcome them, during all the rules and restrictions of Regency England… well, perhaps their family is rather on the fringes.
Of course, their stepmother insists that they all go to the country ball so Elissa can be introduced to Sir Neville (who will surely fall in love with her), and she doesn’t dare leave 14-year-old Kat behind to get into mischief.
Before they leave, Kat sneaks into the locked cabinet where Stepmama has banished all the beautiful things that her mother held dear, and a little golden pocket-mirror takes her fancy. Well, actually it takes hold of Kat and won’t stay away from her. As Kat falls through the mirror into a golden room, she wonders about her mother’s magic books that she found hidden under Angeline’s bed.
Has Kat’s middle sister been casting spells? Are there two kinds of magic? Will a highwayman rob their coach as they travel through the forest to the ball? Can’t they prevent this horrible marriage and still save their family from ruin? And will that golden mirror ever stop burning Kat when she holds it?
Oh, Kat tries to mind her manners in this rollicking romp, but you should never underestimate the daughter of a magic-wielder, should you? 306 pages of twists and turns, old angers and new secrets.
(one of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) (review copy courtesy of the publisher through NetGalley.com)