The Magicians and Mrs Quent – Galen Beckett
Bantam Spectra, 2008
In the city of Invarel, amongst the society of the wealthy and well-connected, the study of magick has recently returned to fashion, but there are many who disbelieve it still exists, if ever it did. Ivy Lockwood, however, knows better. It was the study of magick that robbed her father of his wits and left him like a bewildered child, dependant on his wife and daughters to care for and protect him. When tragedy strikes the Lockwoods and the safety of her family is threatened, Ivy sets out alone to seek out help from the mysterious Mr Quent – but the stakes are even higher than she imagines. Magick is very real, and disbelief is no protection from its power…
The Magicians and Mrs Quent is a fantasy that feels intended as a homage to Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, though that frequently goes over the top and veers into caricature. Ivy is easy enough to like, even if her world view is firmly and occasionally irritatingly shaped by her era and class; her co-protagonists Rafferdy and Eldyn are reasonably well rounded characters who grow over the course of the book, but the rest of the characters, particularly the women, are consigned to the background and suppressed by disappointing stereotypes. As a story it is a light (at almost 500 pages, I don’t mean short) read that continues with The House on Durrow Street.