Murder, Magic, and What We Wore
The year is 1818, the city is London, and our heroine, 16-year-old Annis Whitworth, has just learned that her father is dead and all his money is missing. And so, of course, she decides to become a spy.Annis always suspected that her father was a spy, so following in his footsteps to unmask his killer makes perfect sense. Alas, it does not make sense to England’s current spymasters—not even when Annis reveals that she has the rare magical ability to sew glamours: garments that can disguise the wearer completely.Well, if the spies are too pigheaded to take on a young woman of quality, then Annis will take them on.She’ll follow the clues her father left behind and discover what befell him.She’ll prove she can sew an impenetrable disguise.She’ll earn a living without stooping to become a—shudder—governess.It can’t be any harder than navigating the London social season, can it?

Murder, Magic, and What We Wore Details

TitleMurder, Magic, and What We Wore
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 19th, 2017
PublisherKnopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN-139780553535204
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Historical, Historical Fiction, Mystery

Murder, Magic, and What We Wore Review

  • Sylvie Bower
    January 1, 1970
    Author - Regency romp.Me - you have my attention.Author - Spies.Me - YES. Author - "magicked garments that disguise the wearer." Me - IMMA GIVE YOU ALL MY MONEY!!!
  • Brittney Andrews (beabookworm)
    January 1, 1970
    Murder, Magic, and What We Wore is a bewitching tale replete with lies, spies, and untrustworthy allies. “Give a girl an education and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without further expense to anybody.”― Jane Austen Most agreeable aspects of this tale:🎀 famous quotes at the beginning of every chapter 🎀 the magical realism element🎀 set in the Regency era (my fav!)🎀 a suspenseful murder mystery 🎀 Jane Austen vibes🎀 strong-wille Murder, Magic, and What We Wore is a bewitching tale replete with lies, spies, and untrustworthy allies. “Give a girl an education and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without further expense to anybody.”― Jane Austen Most agreeable aspects of this tale:🎀 famous quotes at the beginning of every chapter 🎀 the magical realism element🎀 set in the Regency era (my fav!)🎀 a suspenseful murder mystery 🎀 Jane Austen vibes🎀 strong-willed female heroine (she can solve any crime by dinner time)Final thoughts:My admiration for this book is comparable to Mr. Darcy's for Ms. Bennet: “I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” Although this book doesn't necessitate a sequel, I am wholeheartedly invested in these characters and I would love to see a little romance sewn into Annis' future as well. So I highly anticipate (and pray) that Ms. Jones will be kind enough to expand this enthralling story into a series. Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC.🌹
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  • Lauren Stoolfire
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Annis Whitworth had always suspected that her father was a spy. When she learns of her father's sudden death and that all of his money has gone missing, she decides to follow in his footsteps as a spy and uncover the mystery of his murder. It makes perfect sense to her, but it doesn't make sense to England's top spymasters even though Annis has the rare ability to sew glamours - garments that can completely disguise the weare I received a free eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Annis Whitworth had always suspected that her father was a spy. When she learns of her father's sudden death and that all of his money has gone missing, she decides to follow in his footsteps as a spy and uncover the mystery of his murder. It makes perfect sense to her, but it doesn't make sense to England's top spymasters even though Annis has the rare ability to sew glamours - garments that can completely disguise the wearer. Annis has to create a double life for herself - Annis will live the quiet life with her respectable aunt and in disguise she'd become "Madame Martine", a London-based glamour artist with a magical dressmaking shop. That way she'll still be able to maintain her social standing, earn her own living, and follow the clues that her father left behind to solve his murder. It can't be much harder than successfully making it through the London social season, can it?I've always enjoyed historical fantasy and Kelly Jones's Regency Era set mystery is no exception. I wasn't terribly blown away by the mystery element, but it has so much else going for it. I, for one, loved the getting to know our cast, the wonderful female friendship, the magical elements, and clever wit. I particularly liked that Annis, although clever and determined, still has a lot to learn about herself, her abilities, and the wider world. As much as I liked her, though, I really liked Millie, Annis's servant. Let's just say she's quite resourceful and has a lot of hidden depths. Plus, their friendship is empowering, supportive, and is totally goals worthy. I also have to admit, I liked the reveal about Annis's aunt - very cool. Finally, I was also hooked on what we got about Annis's magic. The glamour sewing scenes were some of my favorites. I really only wish we got to know more about the state of magic in the wider world of Regency England.Overall, Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones is a fun fantasy spy caper through Regency Era London. If you're a fan of historical fantasy such as These Vicious Masks by Kelly Zekas and Tarun Shanker, A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess, The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I have a feeling you'll also enjoy Kelly Jones's new release. I'm definitely looking forward to more from this author in the future.
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  • Tara (Spinatale Reviews)
    January 1, 1970
    Murder, Magic, and What We Wore is an addictively adorable story full of magic, mysteries, and misconceptions. It's going up on my shelf of light and fun historical fiction novels that I save for whenever I need something that will make me smile. If you enjoyed The Stranje House series, this series opener is definitely for you. Following the death of her father, Annis Whitworth and her aunt find that they are in dire financial straights and unable to keep up the genteel lifestyle to which they h Murder, Magic, and What We Wore is an addictively adorable story full of magic, mysteries, and misconceptions. It's going up on my shelf of light and fun historical fiction novels that I save for whenever I need something that will make me smile. If you enjoyed The Stranje House series, this series opener is definitely for you. Following the death of her father, Annis Whitworth and her aunt find that they are in dire financial straights and unable to keep up the genteel lifestyle to which they have been accustomed. After a fortuitous discovery of her glamour sewing ability, Annis convinces her aunt to move with her to a small town and open a couture boutique. Add in Annis trying to join the secret spy network her father belonged to, some political intrigue regarded Napoleon, and high society and you've got the recipe for a wonderfully entertaining read. I instantly connected with Annis. She was very determined and resourceful, although sometimes those qualities got her into sticky situations. I loved how this book turned the idea of the role of women in high society on its head, particularly in the latter half of the book. There was just a hint of romance, which actually worked perfectly in context. Perhaps we’ll see more in book two? The plot was sometimes slightly confusing as it jumped from spy intrigue to society balls but not overly so. I was able to keep up with the various plot-lines and I admired how well they were interwoven. There were times in this book that I laughed out loud. I thought that the magic itself was unique and interesting. However, I do wish that the magic system in this world had been explained a bit better. I absolutely adored Murder, Magic, and What We Wore. I’ll definitely be purchasing a copy when it’s released as well as continuing on with the series. Perfect if you’re looking for a light, fun historical fiction novel!*Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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  • Genna
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.It's 1818 London and 16-year-old Annis is leading the life of a typical society girl. However, when her father dies mysteriously and his accounts drained of money, her suspicions about him being a spy are confirmed. Left alone with her aunt and nearly destitute, the desperate pair, along with their maid Millie, move out of London to lead a quiet life in the country. Annis, however, is determined to make a living I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.It's 1818 London and 16-year-old Annis is leading the life of a typical society girl. However, when her father dies mysteriously and his accounts drained of money, her suspicions about him being a spy are confirmed. Left alone with her aunt and nearly destitute, the desperate pair, along with their maid Millie, move out of London to lead a quiet life in the country. Annis, however, is determined to make a living as a businesswoman, despite her aunt's misgivings. In disguise to protect her reputation and equipped with her recently discovered affinity for magic, Annis hopes to recover her family's fortune sewing glamours for society ladies, all the while hunting for her father's killer. But dangerous men are in hot pursuit of coded messages Annis is in possession of and becoming a spy is not nearly as straightforward as she thought.A delightful regency romp with magic, mystery, and no shortage of wit. I was thoroughly charmed by the clever Annis and her resilient and resourceful maid Millie. The glamour sewing scenes were captivating, the genuine female friendship representation just what I like to see in young adult lit, and the action saucy enough to keep this story moving. Jones even cleverly includes a smorgasbord of literary and historical/mythical allusions for those who may be familiar (and a useful guide at the back for those who may not be). The ending felt rather abrupt, but didn't prevent me from loving Murder, Magic, and What We Wore. Enchanting, adventurous, and with the perfect amount of grit to save the plot from getting syrupy.
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  • Ashley (Bound to Love YA)
    January 1, 1970
    While this book didn't knock my socks off, it was a fun little regency romp. I can never pass up a title that promises historical fiction with a splash of magic. This is a title for anyone who enjoyed Love, Lies, and Spies, but, in my opinion, it didn't quite live up to the Sorcery and Celia touted in the blurb.Here's what I liked: - There were three strong, intriguing women who formed positive, supportive relationships- The narrator wasn't a special snowflake - in fact, she had a lot to learn a While this book didn't knock my socks off, it was a fun little regency romp. I can never pass up a title that promises historical fiction with a splash of magic. This is a title for anyone who enjoyed Love, Lies, and Spies, but, in my opinion, it didn't quite live up to the Sorcery and Celia touted in the blurb.Here's what I liked: - There were three strong, intriguing women who formed positive, supportive relationships- The narrator wasn't a special snowflake - in fact, she had a lot to learn and, even with hard work, she often had to turn to those smarter and more talented than her for help. In a YA world where it seems like our leading ladies always have the perfect blend of looks-humility-strength-mystery-innocence-experience-brains-leadership skills-and-archery prowess, it is rather refreshing to meet a character that just isn't very good at some things. Period. Things that I wasn't so wild about: -The romance was almost non-existant. While it wasn't NECESSARY to the story, I do think it would have been a lot more fun if the handsome, mysterious fellow and our protagonist had a bit more interaction - especially since she doesn't trust him...What's more fun than a showdown of Jane Austen-esque wits in the middle of a ball between two characters that are intrigued by eachother, but also might be enemies???? WHAT IS MORE FUN??!?!?!?!! - Overall, I thought the male characters could have been a little more fleshed-out. I realize they were side characters - but they fell into very predictable archetypes and I would have appreciated a little more nuance.- Finally, I just didn't feel the plot MOVED. I often found myself stuck in pages of why miss-so-and-so shouldn't wear that color or why mrs.-such-and-such should let her daughter wear pleats instead of ruffles...I just....didn't care. I wanted MORE spying, MORE threats surfacing, MORE double crossing, MORE magical hijinks, MORE than just clothes and the day to day worries of being broke. I will say, in the end, the pace really picked up and I feel the next book will (hopefully) be more plot-driven than the first. I enjoyed these characters and will definitely check out the next one when it gets here.
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  • i fall in love book blog
    January 1, 1970
    Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones is an adorably enchanting YA historical-fantasy-mystery all rolled into one. Reading it feels like the beginning of a series, so while I haven't seen any mention of it being a series.... I'm really hoping for it.I was actually on the fence with this book. Annis was a character that I really just wasn't feeling and I quickly got annoyed with her. Fortunately, most of the other women in this book are fierce, intelligent and independent. Eventually, An Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones is an adorably enchanting YA historical-fantasy-mystery all rolled into one. Reading it feels like the beginning of a series, so while I haven't seen any mention of it being a series.... I'm really hoping for it.I was actually on the fence with this book. Annis was a character that I really just wasn't feeling and I quickly got annoyed with her. Fortunately, most of the other women in this book are fierce, intelligent and independent. Eventually, Annis experiences some growth of character and I liked her more by the end of the book. I think this book would have been bumped up a star if it had been a dual POV with Millie (I LOVED HER!)A little treat within the book is the insertion of characters from other novels set in the era. I haven't read most of the books, so I didn't recognize any character except Jacky Faber, but just seeing her brief inclusion made my heart sing. I imagine fans of the other books mentioned had the same feeling when their characters made an appearance. Kelly Jones listed the books + characters at the end of the novel, and it made me want to go pick up a few of them.I received an advance reader copy of this book that I have chosen to review.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    **I voluntarily read this ARC**This was so cute and fun! I honestly could not put it down. The mystery was interesting, but the one clue they had completely gave it away. The characters were wonderful, but at times it felt like Annis was overshadowed by the other characters. I absolutely adored the setting, and I loved the addition of magic.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    I devoured my ARC of this book in one day and sent this blurb to Kelly's editor: "A deliciously enchanting adventure full of magic, mystery and delight."It was just so much fun! Regency girl spies, magical sewing, disguises, and strong female friendships. Perfect!Also, on a completely personal level, I *loved* the fact that my own Kat Stephenson's family is mentioned twice in this novel, as background characters in the world. (Kelly wrote to me last year asking for permission and quoting her inc I devoured my ARC of this book in one day and sent this blurb to Kelly's editor: "A deliciously enchanting adventure full of magic, mystery and delight."It was just so much fun! Regency girl spies, magical sewing, disguises, and strong female friendships. Perfect!Also, on a completely personal level, I *loved* the fact that my own Kat Stephenson's family is mentioned twice in this novel, as background characters in the world. (Kelly wrote to me last year asking for permission and quoting her incredibly charming & funny lines about them, and I wrote back "OMG YES PLEASE!" How cool is that, to see Kat and her family living on in the literary world of Regency fantasy???? I loved coming across those lines in the book, even though it's totally background level.)
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  • Elena
    January 1, 1970
    This had a fun, lighthearted Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot vibe. I found the protagonist to be a bit unlikable throughout most of the book, but the plot kept me engaged enough that I didn't mind. I would love to read a companion book from Millie's point of view--I found it much easier to root for her than Annis, and really want to know more about her.Thanks to Knopf and Edelweiss for providing a digital review copy.
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  • Alyssa
    January 1, 1970
    (I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for a review. Thanks, NetGalley folks!)GUYS, I really, really wanted to love this book. Fashion! Regency! Spies! Magic! All the things combined that should make this my absolute cup of tea. But... it didn't... it didn't end up panning out, for me. Things I liked:- The world. The forms of magic and the ways they used it was all very interesting! - The friendship between our two leading ladies. This was definitely the strongest part of the book! Ac (I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for a review. Thanks, NetGalley folks!)GUYS, I really, really wanted to love this book. Fashion! Regency! Spies! Magic! All the things combined that should make this my absolute cup of tea. But... it didn't... it didn't end up panning out, for me. Things I liked:- The world. The forms of magic and the ways they used it was all very interesting! - The friendship between our two leading ladies. This was definitely the strongest part of the book! Actually, the friendship between women throughout was really great, and I appreciated it. - I actually kind of felt like her friend should have been the protagonist... That would have been even more interesting!Things that didn't appeal:- Despite being made to believe that our protagonist is really quite clever... she just... isn't, really. Several times in the narrative when she was making a case to be made an official spy, I definitely completely agreed with the people who turned her down. Even in the end, I could hardly believe that she had proved herself clever enough to get the job.- The twist. Pro: I didn't see it coming! Con: I didn't see it coming. And had no idea after reading it what I had been reading before. I love a case of mistaken identity (LOVE IT), but this was a bit clumsily done and left me with many, many more questions than answers. - The cast? I sort of went through phases of liking one main character at a time... only to lose interest. There seemed to be a lack of depth all around. Though maybe I just... wasn't in the right mood.There were other nitpicky things that stood out here and there, but ultimately aren't too important. A lot of things about this book said "debut" to me, so I'm hoping that things will improve with future installments. I think Kelly Jones is a very promising author, though, and will be keeping an eye out for her next book.
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  • Mandy
    January 1, 1970
    DNF @ 20%One of my favorite series that I've ever read is the These Vicious Masks series by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas. The created a brilliant regency comedy full of heart, magic, romance, and the best thing ever: poking fun at Victorian times and the classic regency cliches. That's exactly what I expected when I picked up this book. However, what I got was something a bit weirder a bit more boring than I was expecting.I have to give so much kudos to the author for creating such an unique pr DNF @ 20%One of my favorite series that I've ever read is the These Vicious Masks series by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas. The created a brilliant regency comedy full of heart, magic, romance, and the best thing ever: poking fun at Victorian times and the classic regency cliches. That's exactly what I expected when I picked up this book. However, what I got was something a bit weirder a bit more boring than I was expecting.I have to give so much kudos to the author for creating such an unique premise. It really was so very unique and intriguing. The premise was truly unique not only just in the regency genre but also in the YA genre. It was something fresh, and I have to give the author a lot of credit.However, the execution for me, fell flat. At times, it seemed like the story was focusing so much on getting a laugh that it just didn't work. In the very first chapter, our main character loses her father. However, she not so much as grieves and she's commenting on the poor fashion choices of mourners and trying to force people to make her a spy. I'm all for poking fun and comedy, but it just didn't make in the situation - and certainly not a few hours after the death of her father.It was also just boring for me. I couldn't connect with the characters or the storyline, and I just sat there, flipping pages and...just being really bored and disconnected. I can't even remember much of anything from the story. There really wasn't anything truly wrong with this story, but I just couldn't get into it nor did it intrigue me enough to want to move on with the story. I also couldn't get passed some of what it seemed like forced comedic moments. Just eh overall. No crowns since I DNF'd and a Snow White rating!
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  • Kathy Martin
    January 1, 1970
    I like historical mysteries, the Regency time period, and magic which made this book a no-brainer choice for me. The story begins when 16-year-old Annis Whitworth learns that her father has died in France. When her father's man of business arrives to tell Annis and her Aunt Cassia about the death, he also tells them that her father died penniless. Annis and Aunt Cassia are looking at a major life change! Her aunt is determined that the two look for work as governesses or companions but Annis has I like historical mysteries, the Regency time period, and magic which made this book a no-brainer choice for me. The story begins when 16-year-old Annis Whitworth learns that her father has died in France. When her father's man of business arrives to tell Annis and her Aunt Cassia about the death, he also tells them that her father died penniless. Annis and Aunt Cassia are looking at a major life change! Her aunt is determined that the two look for work as governesses or companions but Annis has a different plan: she wants to be a spy for England. After all, she has figured out that her father was one and she has deciphered some clues that were in his effects that the War Office needs to know. However, the War Office doesn't need a teenage lady to work for them.Annis falls back on her plan two. While remaking ready-made mourning clothes for herself and her aunt, she discovers that she is a glamour mage who is able to change the appearance of things by sewing them. Besides making clothing more fashionable and flattering, she can also make clothes that disguise the wearer as someone else. She is certain that that skill will be useful to the War Office but she is rebuffed again. She and her aunt, along with their new maid Millicent O'Leary, move to a small town where Annis disguises herself as a French widow Madame Martine who is an extraordinary fashionable dressmaker. Annis is determined to earn enough for them all to resume their fashionable and upper class lives.Annis and Millicent face a number of dangers. There are the men wearing navy boots who are pursuing them. There is the upper class villain who attempted to rape Millicent and whose sister took his side losing Millicent her job. This was an engaging story. I liked Annis despite the fact that she was more than a little naive. She had plenty of determination. Fans of historical mysteries with some magic will enjoy this story.
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  • Sam Kozbial
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 3.5 StarsPro: I find this time period quite delightful and the setting. It was fun to see Annis transplanted from London to the countryside.Con: I liked the mystery element, but there was a clue that sort of gave it all away. There were still a few other parts of the mystery that were unknown, and being able to figure out the first part did not detract from my enjoyment.Pro: The friendship that developed between Annis and Millie was quite special. In fact, there were many strong female f Rating: 3.5 StarsPro: I find this time period quite delightful and the setting. It was fun to see Annis transplanted from London to the countryside.Con: I liked the mystery element, but there was a clue that sort of gave it all away. There were still a few other parts of the mystery that were unknown, and being able to figure out the first part did not detract from my enjoyment.Pro: The friendship that developed between Annis and Millie was quite special. In fact, there were many strong female friendships in this book, and I loved all the girl-power moments brought to us throughout.Con: There was this small hint of a romance, but then, nothing. It's not that a story needs romance, but I like it, and it was kind of a tease for me.Pro: I thought the sewing of glamours was fabulous. Jones used this well in the story, and also included a few other neat magical elements, which showed that this world was a accustomed to this sort of thing.Overall: A delightful and charming regency romp filled with spies, deception, and a little magic.BLOG|INSTAGRAM|BLOGLOVIN| FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS
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  • Becky (coffeecocktailsandbooks)
    January 1, 1970
    This premise sounded so cool and I could not wait to pick this book up. Honestly, I was expecting more. This book appeared as though it would blend spies, magic, and garment making into a fun murder mystery. Sadly, I felt there was not enough of the murder mystery in this story. It’s a short book that many can probably get through quickly and from a quick glance on GoodReads, my opinion appears to be an unpopular one. I can see why others might like this one, but it just wasn’t doing it for me.I This premise sounded so cool and I could not wait to pick this book up. Honestly, I was expecting more. This book appeared as though it would blend spies, magic, and garment making into a fun murder mystery. Sadly, I felt there was not enough of the murder mystery in this story. It’s a short book that many can probably get through quickly and from a quick glance on GoodReads, my opinion appears to be an unpopular one. I can see why others might like this one, but it just wasn’t doing it for me.I felt the pacing of this book was off. There were large sections that were far too slow and I personally felt like the ending was rushed. Finding out who the killer was and respective punishment was done in the last three or four chapters. I get that most mystery books save the big reveal for that last 30 pages, but normally the rest of the book is dropping hints to solve the mystery. I felt that this book did not do that. We were introduced to numerous characters and a few clues, but nothing to hint that one of those characters might have been the killer. The main character finds a could clues leading to another subplot, but nothing that is really touched upon.I wasn't in love with the characters in this book. I thought our main character was…okay. She wasn’t my favorite protagonist to read about, but she wasn’t the worst. She was annoying and unlikable at times, she made dumb decisions, but fortunately she also tried to fix her mistakes instead of relying on others. I thought Millie was a great character though. I thought we were going to get a big reveal about how she played into the larger plot, but nope. She was just a maid that came at the right time and helped the protagonist (with some secrets of her own). The other characters in this book were so minor, they’re really not worth discussing. There were times it took me a minute to remember which character was which, but other than that, I have no major thoughts on them.Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for providing me a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderful, wonderful fun -- MURDER, MAGIC has fun, well-realized characters in Annis and Millie in particular, and just the right amount of peril, whether governmental, fashion-wise, or financial. The book is also great way for teen readers to bridge into other areas of fiction they may not otherwise want to try: Regency-set historical fiction, Jane Austen, classic spy novels, and magical realism.
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  • Danya
    January 1, 1970
    This review and others can be found on my blog, Fine Print.MURDER, MAGIC, AND WHAT WE WORE is a Regency romp featuring a young lady with many opinions about lies, spies, and fashions. This delightful tale is chock-full of wit and verve, and while readers may not be blown away by it, they’ll certainly find themselves charmed by Kelly Jones’ latest novel. The fact that it’s a standalone certainly doesn’t hurt!Miss Annis Whitworth has spent most of her life as a society lady whose keen eye for styl This review and others can be found on my blog, Fine Print.MURDER, MAGIC, AND WHAT WE WORE is a Regency romp featuring a young lady with many opinions about lies, spies, and fashions. This delightful tale is chock-full of wit and verve, and while readers may not be blown away by it, they’ll certainly find themselves charmed by Kelly Jones’ latest novel. The fact that it’s a standalone certainly doesn’t hurt!Miss Annis Whitworth has spent most of her life as a society lady whose keen eye for style has earned her a reputation as a woman of taste; the latest sleeve styles, delicate lace, and even the occasional daring neckline are Annis’ raison d’etre. So when her father – whom she’s always believe to be a spy – dies suddenly and leaves Annis and her Aunt Cassia destitute, this lady of quality finds herself in something of a bind. Annis and Cassia need to find a source of income quickly, lest they be thrown in debtors prison and lose their position in society, but there are few respectable options for ladies and Annis refuses to become a governess or a lady’s companion. Instead, she turns her eye towards her greatest loves, needle and thread. For it turns out that Annis is more than just stylish: she can also sew glamours, transforming garments to look and behave completely differently. Under the assumed identity of Madame Martine, French glamour modiste, Annis opens a dress shop in a quiet country town with the help of her intrepid maid Millie (and a master of disguise). But there’s more at stake than a few truly hideous gowns and even the lady’s fortunes, as the spies who murdered Mr. Whitworth are still at large…By far my favourite part of MURDER, MAGIC, AND WHAT WE WORE is its sly commentary on the state of women in the Regency era. All classes of women are represented here, with the ladies Whitworth joined by both Millie and a business woman named Miss Spencer. Each has specific circumstances relating to education, wealth, and class, but in the end they’re all in the same situation: they’re underestimated by their male counterparts and struggle to live independently. The camaraderie that develops between these characters, especially the genuine friendship between Annis and Millie, is wonderful to see. I particularly appreciated how Millie’s experiences as a servant opened Annis’ eyes to the difficult and dangerous circumstances for women in the working world. Add to all this feminist goodness the fact that Annis’ strength comes from sewing, which is dismissed as women’s work, and I was grinning from ear to ear.Although there is magic to be found in this story, it’s fairly subtle and largely secondary to the primary plot of murder and espionage. There isn’t anyone in Millie’s life to teach her about her abilities, so her limits and the possibilities of her glamours are unknown even to her. Personally I would’ve preferred a bit more development on the magical front, as I found I had more questions than answers about how it all worked. That said, there’s something positively delightful about a protagonist who has the ability to sew a cloak of invisibility or a shawl that makes you look like someone else. The sewing of glamours is very well suited to a story about espionage, and while I found much of that story line rushed and somewhat obvious, I did enjoy how they complimented each other. If only Annis had been able to sew a handkerchief that’d open her eyes to the rather blatant identity of the enemy spy!Overall, this is a funny feminist romp that any fan of historical YA or fantasy of manners will enjoy.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    Grade: B-An e-galley was provided by Random House via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: That title absolutely drew me to this book, and I stuck around for the historical fiction.Characters were well-developed, and I loved how women were important to the story. Usually historical fiction is, like, one or two women and then just tons of male characters, and it's nice to see a balance. I also appreciated that there wasn't a romance because that would've mea Grade: B-An e-galley was provided by Random House via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: That title absolutely drew me to this book, and I stuck around for the historical fiction.Characters were well-developed, and I loved how women were important to the story. Usually historical fiction is, like, one or two women and then just tons of male characters, and it's nice to see a balance. I also appreciated that there wasn't a romance because that would've meant waaaayyyy too much would've been going on. I loved that dresses and being feminine were important to the story as well. However, the magic was the most underdeveloped part of Murder, Magic, and What They Wore. I don't remember it being clearly stated at all where the magic came from and why it's kind of acceptable but not really acceptable for upper classes to use it. There was mention of other types of magic, but those were never fully expounded upon either. The ending was also a bit more open than I expected, and I'm not sure if this is a series or not. If it is, I'm excited to see where it'll go, and I hope the magic will be further explained.Language, violence, and romance were all pretty clean.The Verdict: A fun read, but not developed enough.
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  • Joy Smith
    January 1, 1970
    Spies and Glamour (the magic kind), and mysteries. In 1818 women don't have many opportunities, and Annis must leave her home in London after her father dies--and his money disappears. Her aunt insists that they go to work, but Annis has her own plans. She wants to open a dress shop. She can not only sew, but she can sew magic into her dresses and gowns to enhance them. She had wanted to be a spy and use her talent there, but she is rejected by the War Office even though she's learned of a plan Spies and Glamour (the magic kind), and mysteries. In 1818 women don't have many opportunities, and Annis must leave her home in London after her father dies--and his money disappears. Her aunt insists that they go to work, but Annis has her own plans. She wants to open a dress shop. She can not only sew, but she can sew magic into her dresses and gowns to enhance them. She had wanted to be a spy and use her talent there, but she is rejected by the War Office even though she's learned of a plan to free Napoleon again.She perseveres, however. She would rather do something than sit "whimpering in a corner." With the able assistance of her resourceful and talented maid, Millie, she sets her plans in motion. There is danger and secrets all around her; and I enjoyed their adventures--and discoveries... Millie is a great character. I love her; and she and Annis make a good team. The story is interesting and fun, including the preparations for the masquerade ball; there are lords and ladies and rogues--and women who need her help. Recommended--and a sequel would be appreciated.
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  • Chelsea Forker
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.This book was two words: MAGICAL & REFRESHING!In the genre of fantasy, magic is used in only so many ways I feel and this book took magic to a whole new level. The way the magic is used is so unique and I was telling myself over and over how imaginative this author is. GOWNS and SEWING, like what!? I loved it. My other favorite thing was how much this reminded me of my beloved Downton Abbey. I know that may s I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.This book was two words: MAGICAL & REFRESHING!In the genre of fantasy, magic is used in only so many ways I feel and this book took magic to a whole new level. The way the magic is used is so unique and I was telling myself over and over how imaginative this author is. GOWNS and SEWING, like what!? I loved it. My other favorite thing was how much this reminded me of my beloved Downton Abbey. I know that may sound weird but I pretty much pictured the setting as everything that was in the show and the characters too. Edith Crawley was Annis (with dark hair), Millie was Anna Bates, and Cassia was an older Mary Crawley haha. Like I said, this book was refreshing in a genre that I find repeats. I'm so happy I got a chance to read this!
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  • [michele]
    January 1, 1970
    I always enjoy Regency novels and I liked how this one threw in some magic. 1/2 star removed bc the romance part was utterly lacking.
  • Aarene Storms
    January 1, 1970
    16 year old Annis Whitworth was reared as a proper young lady, but she wishes to follow the family tradition and become a spy. However, even when she reveals her remarkable talent for making magically glamoured garments that disguise the wearer, the spymasters do not want Annis' help. Undeterred, she crafts a plan. And then, things go wrong....Clever writing, a lively premise, and plenty of feisty female characters keep the story lighthearted, fun, and intriguing. Astute readers will notice the 16 year old Annis Whitworth was reared as a proper young lady, but she wishes to follow the family tradition and become a spy. However, even when she reveals her remarkable talent for making magically glamoured garments that disguise the wearer, the spymasters do not want Annis' help. Undeterred, she crafts a plan. And then, things go wrong....Clever writing, a lively premise, and plenty of feisty female characters keep the story lighthearted, fun, and intriguing. Astute readers will notice the heavy sprinkling of "borrowed" names from literature, myth, legend and history. Less-astute readers will be grateful for the list of names borrowed provided at the back of the book. Highly recommended.I read an ARC provided by the publisher.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    This is fun but I think it might have taken on too much with the historical setting, fantasy elements, and spies. The character cameos were also . . . odd. Objectively this is very fun but it might just have veered a bit too close to silly for me. Or it might be my mood. I also found Annis a bit vapid and often not as clever as she thought she was which doesn't work when she's supposed to be setting herself up as a dynamo would-be spy.
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  • Gabrielle
    January 1, 1970
    My ReviewThis was a fantastic light-hearted read. Rollicking and reckless, it kept up its tongue-in-cheek humor while still keeping me intrigued as Miss Annis attempted to puzzle out her father’s mysterious death. The plot was slightly predictable, but the wild humor kept everything fresh enough to hold my amusement.This book did stretch my suspension of disbelief until it began to fray like a thread. However, I think that was intensional. The story is intended to entertain, rather than immerse, My ReviewThis was a fantastic light-hearted read. Rollicking and reckless, it kept up its tongue-in-cheek humor while still keeping me intrigued as Miss Annis attempted to puzzle out her father’s mysterious death. The plot was slightly predictable, but the wild humor kept everything fresh enough to hold my amusement.This book did stretch my suspension of disbelief until it began to fray like a thread. However, I think that was intensional. The story is intended to entertain, rather than immerse, and for that purpose it works beautifully.I loved the magic system in this book. It fit so perfectly with the historical period in which the story was set. Also, I liked how there were dashes of history thrown into the midst of the suspense, as it helped to ground the story a little more (and keep that thread of disbelief from snapping entirely).Murder, Magic, and What We Wore is comparable to the Glamourist Histories by Mary Robinette Kowal while being easier to read (and cleaner) for the younger generation. Fans of Cindy Antsey’s books will also fall in love with this comedy of manners. Overall, I’m rating this book 5 out of 5 stars. I hope that the author decides to make this book into a series, as I’m very curious to see what Annis and her friends do next!Recommended for Ages 12 up.Cultural ElementsMost of the characters in this book are English. One minor character is described as being either West Indian or African. Some antagonism (characteristic of the time period) toward those of French descent are shown.Profanity/Crude Language ContentNone.Romance/Sexual ContentOne character is insinuated to have attempted to rape several maids. He attacks Annis at one point, and it is assumed that he has less-than-honorable intentions. One proposal of marriage. One remark that it is not considered good form to allow a young gentlemen’s lips to approach a young lady’s.Spiritual ContentA few characters dress as characters from Greek mythology for a masquerade.Violent ContentA few suspicious deaths (off page). A few attacks, including one insinuated to be an attempted rape. Some injuries. Nothing graphic.Drug ContentCharacters drink and serve alcoholic drinks as a matter of course. One character comments on a memory of a lady getting drunk and behaving in a silly manner. More alcohol is added to the punch at the masquerade to insure that the guests forget the unusual events of the evening.Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.Originally posted on The Story Sanctuary on July 24th, 2017
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    Annis Whitworth’s father is dead. Her mother has been gone for years, and her father traveled a lot. It is on one of these trips that he dies under mysterious circumstances. Annis is convinced her father was a spy for England, and so she sets out to carry on, as she sees it, the family business. Unfortunately, with her father’s death, came a serious decline in “circumstances,” and this is when she learns she can sew glamours. Seeing that as an excellent way to convince the spymasters that she sh Annis Whitworth’s father is dead. Her mother has been gone for years, and her father traveled a lot. It is on one of these trips that he dies under mysterious circumstances. Annis is convinced her father was a spy for England, and so she sets out to carry on, as she sees it, the family business. Unfortunately, with her father’s death, came a serious decline in “circumstances,” and this is when she learns she can sew glamours. Seeing that as an excellent way to convince the spymasters that she should be within their ranks, she also hatches a plan to try and pay off their family debts by opening a small shop in a town far away from London. However, the events her father was involved in quickly catch up to her, and soon begin to spiral out of her control.The setting is early 19th century England, and Jones...To read the rest, click on http://vampirebookclub.net/review-mur...
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  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    First Impressions: Author, Cover, and TitleWhat could be better than a girl in period dress carrying a knife? How could that not draw me in? Plus, women spies? Awesome! The cover alone was enough to draw me in and I enjoyed this read from the first page. CharactersAnnis garnered my attention at first, as she is technically the main character, but then Millicent quickly became much more interesting. She is oddly skilled at many things, and I am still not satisfied with how little information was First Impressions: Author, Cover, and TitleWhat could be better than a girl in period dress carrying a knife? How could that not draw me in? Plus, women spies? Awesome! The cover alone was enough to draw me in and I enjoyed this read from the first page. CharactersAnnis garnered my attention at first, as she is technically the main character, but then Millicent quickly became much more interesting. She is oddly skilled at many things, and I am still not satisfied with how little information was revealed about her past and her skills. But that is what will keep me reading. Annis is very skilled in matters of fashion but she has a magical skill, that of a modiste who can sew whatever she wants out of any fabric. She can make a simple dress or sew powers into any fabric, including making people practically invisible or changing their face entirely. It is a skill which I most definitely envy. I found it strange that Annis didn’t immediately jump on this skill and practice until she was an expert. Instead, she insisted that she would open a shop and sew dresses for rich people to save her and her aunt Cassia from ruin. Yet she didn’t immediately pick up the needle and fabric and see what she could do and perfect her talent. She didn’t doubt her skills but just assumed they would come to her, being so arrogant as to take a bolt of fabric and cut it into chunks, sewing them together randomly, not even into the shape of a dress, and assume she could sew it into whatever she wanted. And when she failed, she didn’t try to fix it. She just left it as is. She doesn’t doubt enough, doesn’t try enough. And that bothers me intensely, especially if she wants to become a spy, like her father. She has to be more determined than that, if she truly wants to be a spy. She shows skill for remembering details and sensing what people truly are and knows what colors go with which skin tones. Millicent is a mystery from the start. At first, I thought she was a mole, who was spying on Annis or otherwise had it in for her. I’m still not convinced that that is not the case, with how intelligent she is and how skilled at spying and acting. I suppose I have to keep reading this series to find out!StyleThe writing is light and fun, exploring Annis’s new skill and her interactions with the upper crust of society, while being essentially banished from them due to her recent impoverished status. I wish there were more descriptions, in terms of describing surroundings but especially with regard to speaking tones. It was a lot of “she said”, “he said”, instead of saying “he gasped”, “she shouted”, “he whispered”. It made the writing flat and less interesting, less easy for me to form the character’s voices in my head. This is essential for my enjoyment of the story and, unfortunately, this is where the novel fell short. As much as I enjoyed the story and thought it had a lot of promise, it didn’t meet the expectations set forth in the summary posted on Goodreads. I feel there could have been many more occasions for Annis to showcase her talents and she is betrayed by the fact that there weren’t. When there was a country ball, she shone. She protected the downtrodden and used her glamour modiste skills to fix a hem. She observed and watched and interacted with society. I wish there had been more parties, more occasions for Annis to shine. Instead, Millicent was the character who stood out. She was in her element the whole time and so stood out for it, being so competent in weird situations where she should have floundered. And that is alright, but I kind of wish the story had been about her, instead, so we could find out more about her skills and background.In the end Annis was quite awesome, as well, but her struggles and lack of confidence and drive made her somewhat annoying at times. Overall Impressions: Do I recommend?Despite my sometimes annoyance with Annis, I do recommend this book! It is a light read, fun, similar to how I felt reading the Gallagher Girls series. It’s funny and the descriptions are nice, plus the author got quite clever with the secret messages Annis’ father left behind. I look forward to seeing what becomes of Millie and Annis and how their skills grow and change!
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Review in Italian: coming soon!Review in english:I received an e-ARC of this book through NetGalley!Say what you want, but a nice cover always makes me happy. Especially then if the plot of the books revolves around the Victorian period and clothes and spies. Could there be something better?Our protagonist, Annis is a girl whose father was a spy for Her Majesty and now that he is dead she finds herself with her aunt having to work to live. The fact that a respectable girl of a certain rank shoul Review in Italian: coming soon!Review in english:I received an e-ARC of this book through NetGalley!Say what you want, but a nice cover always makes me happy. Especially then if the plot of the books revolves around the Victorian period and clothes and spies. Could there be something better?Our protagonist, Annis is a girl whose father was a spy for Her Majesty and now that he is dead she finds herself with her aunt having to work to live. The fact that a respectable girl of a certain rank should be reduced to work was a fateful event at the time but with the addition of magic and glamor and her dressmaking skills at least she is not forced to become a companion lady.At first I did not understand much about the magic involved in this world. In short, the author does not explain why magic exists and why some people have some special gifts and others do not. I can understand that from the point of view of the protagonist there is no need to explain anything because that is the only world she knows and therefore she assumes everyone knows everything about that but as a reader things have not been simple at first.The fact that Millicent was well equipped with magic also gave me a bit of discomfort, and even more so having find out who Fog was at a very early stage of the book. I would like to be able to say that by reading mystery books I can always find the culprit but the clues left by the author are really too easy to connect.Also, our protagonist seems so be awake and capable of decrypting messages and so on but why can she not see which other characters are spies? I mean, I could.Recommended? Absolutely yes. Although there is no romance and there are some minor flaws here and there I think it's a rather interesting reading. Especially the descriptions of the clothes of the time that are just wonderful.Ps movie? Why not?Pps Quotations at the beginning of each chapter are great! ^^
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  • Hesione
    January 1, 1970
    Let's just say that this one's going to be very hard for me to sell because the people who will like this book are a very select group of regency-savvy, roll-with-the punches readers. I was thinking about docking this book by one star since whoa. Too much crammed into too few pages. More explanations needed for the magic and the history (especially for the less-historically minded than I), more time needed for the reader to absorb what exactly was going on, more time needed for the hero to grow Let's just say that this one's going to be very hard for me to sell because the people who will like this book are a very select group of regency-savvy, roll-with-the punches readers. I was thinking about docking this book by one star since whoa. Too much crammed into too few pages. More explanations needed for the magic and the history (especially for the less-historically minded than I), more time needed for the reader to absorb what exactly was going on, more time needed for the hero to grow into her powers, more of a lengthened timeline to show her development more. These are real concerns I have with this story.But then I thought, nah. Because I loved this book.Here, the main power that the hero wields is her needle. Sewing needle. Lots and lots and lots of love and appreciation is evident for the HUGE societal power that our outfits can manipulate, but the author doesn't try to explain that to us like she would a child. No, the hero explains it carefully and irritably to a man, and the author SHOWS clothing's power through her writing. Need I say that traditionally-women's skills are undervalued in YA fiction? This author hogties any notion or mention of having to be even somewhat-masculine or somewhat-muscled to do thrilling things and throws that in the back of the carriage to be driven away from our sight. Yes. The main character is great at sewing and embroidering, and she is calculating, stubborn, brave, and smart. Her aunt is an economics nerd and very proficient in (yeah, you already guessed) spywork. The main character's maid is brave and quickly besties with the main character. And all the characters of consequence in this book are women. Fully comfortable with their femininity. And badass. And fully in charge, running the world.Boys will like this book. Girls will like this book. I will make you like this book.
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    After the unexpected death of her father, sixteen-year-old Annis Whitworth is forced to make her way in 1818 London. As she and her aunt Cassia quickly learn, they are in a financial mess, and all of her father's money seems to have disappeared in odd ways and he owes various creditors. Both women are single, and there are not a lot of career opportunities open to them. When Cassia suggests becoming a lady's companion or a governess, Annis bristles at the thought of spending her days in this way After the unexpected death of her father, sixteen-year-old Annis Whitworth is forced to make her way in 1818 London. As she and her aunt Cassia quickly learn, they are in a financial mess, and all of her father's money seems to have disappeared in odd ways and he owes various creditors. Both women are single, and there are not a lot of career opportunities open to them. When Cassia suggests becoming a lady's companion or a governess, Annis bristles at the thought of spending her days in this way, and yet, what skills does she have to offer? Even while Annis remains determined to solve the mystery behind her father's death and offers her services as a spy, she is employing her unique skills as a dressmaker, able to use a glamour to enhance the looks of a garment. There is quite a lot of spying and treachery afoot after the household resettles in a small town as well as the characters being plagued by a scoundrel of a man who enjoys taking liberties with maids and seems unable or unwilling to keep his libido in check. I particularly liked Annis's personality and her maid, Millie, who turns out to be much more than she appears to be at first. There are several references to characters from other novels from this period, a conceit that may endear the book to fans of that sort of thing, but also may leave other readers a bit clueless. This is nothing like Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, the author's debut title, but I enjoyed it on its own merits, and wouldn't mind following Annis on further adventures.
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  • Suz
    January 1, 1970
    If you were a 16-year-old young lady in London in 1818, all you should be worrying about is the social season and whether you have the right gowns for the right occasions. Unfortunately, Annis Whitworth has just received the news that her father is dead and then his lawyer brings the news that all the money from his banking accounts has mysteriously disappeared. Suspecting that her father worked as a spy for the War Department, Annis decides to take up the family trade and use her ability to sew If you were a 16-year-old young lady in London in 1818, all you should be worrying about is the social season and whether you have the right gowns for the right occasions. Unfortunately, Annis Whitworth has just received the news that her father is dead and then his lawyer brings the news that all the money from his banking accounts has mysteriously disappeared. Suspecting that her father worked as a spy for the War Department, Annis decides to take up the family trade and use her ability to sew magical glamours to find out who killed her father and where his money went. (BTW - glamours are magical clothing that can disguise someone, even to changing their facial appearance.) If she is lucky, she may even make enough money to prevent her aunt from being hounded by creditors. The characters of Annis, her Aunt Cassia, and the redoubtable maid Millie are a pleasure to read about and cheer for. Society of their day may have thought that women were weak and sheltered creatures, but these ladies can use knives, crack ciphers, and mend a ripped seam as well as any male agents. The supporting cast of Miss Spencer (friend and patisserie owner), Mr. Harrington (her father's man of business), and the insufferable society snobs Lord and Lady Prippingforth and their nephew Mr. Hustlesmith, provide plenty of opportunity for our heroine and her allies to use their skills of the verbal, physical, and wardrobe varieties.A middle grade read-alike for Curtsies and Conspiracies, without the werewolves and vampires, but with magical glamours instead. Annis is sure to become a favorite character and leave readers hoping for a new adventure soon.I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.
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