Source: Received a review copy from publisher
Genre: Middle Grade, Historical, Fantasy
Shortly after Katherine, Kat for short, is born her mother passes away. Her father remarries. There step-mother would not normally have made the vicar her first choice, but since she was nearing the age of a spinster she chose to marry him. She wants everything and everyone one to be very proper the way society says they should be. Anytime there is an idyllic setting like this you know it is going to be busted to pieces. First we have Charles who racks up more and more debts that their father must repay. Then we have the three girls. Elissa is the oldest. Her step-mother arranges for her to marry a much, much older, and wealthy man, Sir Neville. Sir Neville supposedly killed his last wife. Elisse is actually in love with Sir Neville’s younger brother. She is the type of duty who is willing to put duty before love. Then we have Angeline the middle child. She is full of spit and vinegar as my grandmother would have said. She tends to be a bit rebellious. She doesn’t want a catastrophic arranged marriage. Having discovered a set of magic books she casts a spell that will bring her true love to her. This poses its own problems that she can’t seem to fix. Then we have Kat. Kat wants to be adventurous, she wants to be socially right. But Kat is Kat and she sees she has a duty to fix her family, to save them. She finds a golden mirror that had belonged to the mother she never knew. She learns that she has inherited her mother’s magic, (yes her mother was a witch) and the Order of the Guardians want her to become a Guardian. She is more determined to learn the magic that will save her family.
This is a very funny read. I liked Kat because she was a plucky young girl who felt the weight of her family’s problems and decided she had to be the one to fix them. I also like Angeline because she was a no nonsense girl. She wasn’t going to wait around until life happened to her she was going to create her life. Even though things didn’t quite go her way. There was not much to know about Charles as there is not much background on him. Maybe we will learn more in the next book. Elisse was my least favorite. She was the one who was willing to sacrifice what she wanted to help the family. My mother said I disliked her because she reminded me of my old self. Constantly walked on so others could be happy. She may be right. I saw some of Kat in the new me so I like to think if I found balance that maybe in future installments so will Elisse. I am thrilled to have read and reviewed this book and look forward to sharing it with my middle school students.