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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dark Mirror by M. J. Putney

Dark Mirror by M. J. Putney
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Paranormal, Young Adult
Length: Full Length (304 pages)
Heat Rating: Sweet
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

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.

“And gentlemen in England now abed / Shall think themselves accursed they were not here.”

Sixteen year old Lady Victoria “Tory” Mansfield had dreams of her debut, meeting and dancing with eligible gentlemen and making a worthy match like her brother and sister before her. In one brief moment of courage she couldn’t regret, all those dreams came crashing down. What could it have been like for such a young and innocent lady to suddenly lose everything that was supposed to matter as well as the connection to everyone who had been her anchor in a single afternoon? Thanks to a gift she didn’t know she possessed and certainly never asked for, Lady Victoria would be reduced to an undistinguishable Miss upon entering the grounds of Lackland Abbey.

You won’t have to wonder how it felt if you are reading M.J. Putney’s first young adult work of fiction, Dark Mirror. As a New York Times Best Selling author, Ms. Putney is well known for her historical books and rightly so. But, if you are looking for a typical Regency romance of balls, dresses and carriage rides through Hyde Park, you will be sorely disappointed. If instead, you are looking for a book with emotion, energy, vivid writing, clever dialogue, engaging characters, a storyline that will have you gladly losing sleep, patriotism, magic and lastly the beautiful beginnings of a young romance…then you’ve picked the perfect book.

Being an American student, the details of World War II were always explained beginning with the US being tragically forced into the war. I knew who we were allied with and against and why, but my patriotism was decidedly pro-American and it was our efforts that secured the ultimate victory against Hitler. Ms. Putney’s story has given me a whole new perspective on this dark time in our history but from the POV of several British youth. Her quotes from PM Winston Churchill, the amazingly graphic language describing war torn England and talk of flying the Union Jack had me cheering right along with my distant cousins across the pond as the soldiers in Dunkirk were rescued. You may be wondering how I went from Regency England to WWII England. Well, Tory and her friends manage it through a Merlin’s Mirror; I simply traveled along with them!

I started this review with a quote from Henry V that is also used in the book. Think about that quote as you read this incredible story. I believe you will see the deeper meaning that transcends place and time that even King Henry himself could not have anticipated on that fateful St. Crispin’s Day.

Dark Mirror may be listed as young adult literature but it will be enjoyed by older adults as well. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Dark Mirror today. Ms. Putney is already hinting about a follow-up book or possibly two and this reviewer will be anxiously waiting for those releases. Dark Mirror was a terrific story and well-earned the Best Book rating.