It was difficult to choose a favorite book for July, because I very much enjoyed all three of the books I read (Mansfield Park Revisited, by Joan Aiken, I, Coriander, by Sally Gardner, and The Magicians and Mrs. Quent, by Galen Beckett). However, “Best Book” is about best books, and for July 2012, The Magicians and Mrs. Quent takes the honor.
One of the things I loved about this novel was that it was a complex and artful mix of three of my favorite genres: Jane Austen style regency, gothic mystery, and high stakes fantasy. What’s not to love?
It was interesting how Beckett not only used the three, but focused on one each (with bits of the others woven in) for each of the three parts of the novel. The Magicians and Mrs. Quent has a Jane Austen start, complete with three marriageable age daughters. Part two moves into a brooding Jane Eyre mystery—including, of course, a lonely setting and a widowed boss. Then part three pulls all the strands together with evil plots, narrow escapes, and magical interventions to save the known world.
I highly enjoyed The Magicians and Mrs. Quent. I think you will too.