Murder, Magic, and What We Wore
by Kelly Jones
* * * Stars (Pretty good)
Annis Whitworth is a fashion-savvy young society lady living with her aunt Cassia in London in 1818 when they learn of her father’s untimely death. Annis finds evidence supporting her theory that her father was a spy who died in the line of duty and means to make it known to the London War Office. But her information (and offer of her services as an agent of espionage) is rudely brushed aside. Annis is not to be thwarted, however. Using her newly discovered talent as a modiste/seamstress/fashion designer who can sew glamours into clothing – she begins a new business endeavor that she hopes will allow her to support herself, her aunt, and her maid, Millie (her father’s fortunes have mysteriously disappeared), while investigating her father’s mysterious death and its echoes, which continue to haunt them. This is a delightfully fun, fashion-forward, empowering story. It lacks some world-building (how magic works, what kinds exist, how one receives training in one’s gifts, how widely it exists) and strains credibility in some instances, but Lady Annis sparkles with life.
Reviewed by YA Librarian