Title: Dark Mirror
Author: M.J. Putney
First published March 1, 2011
304 pages, Paperback
ISBN: 9780312622848 (ISBN10: 0312622848)
In 19th century England, magic has the power to change history. Lady Victoria Mansfield, Tory, is destined for a charming life and a range of suitors to match.
However, a terrifying discovery threatens to ruin her life and tarnish her family’s name forever: her blood is tainted… by magic.
When a terrible accident forces Tory to reveal her magical powers, she is immediately exiled to a reformatory for young people who carry the terrible gift of magic. The girl’s greatest wish is to be cured, to return home, and perhaps regain some of her shattered life.
However, curiosity and attraction to magic lead the young woman to join rebellious students who have decided to use their magical powers to protect England. By participating in the group’s secret studies, she discovers the extent of her powers and is drawn to the charming and enigmatic Marquis of Allarde.
Although she can see desire in his eyes, a terrifying secret keeps him at a distance. Is it possible that Tory’s choice can bring her closer to Allarde, despite everything that stands between them?
About the Author
Mary Jo Putney uses a pseudonym.
M.J. Putneys Dark Mirror is a compelling addition to the young adult fantasy genre, blending elements of historical fiction with paranormal romance. Published on March 1, 2011, the book tells the story of Lady Victoria Mansfield, an accomplished young woman in Regency England who discovers she has the ability to travel through mirrors to an alternate universe where magic exists.
As she learns to harness her powers, she becomes embroiled in a dangerous political intrigue, where rebels fight against a tyrannical government and where love and loyalty are tested.
Putney, a prolific author of historical romance novels, demonstrates her storytelling skills and knowledge of the era with intricate descriptions of fashion, etiquette, and social hierarchy that make the reader feel immersed in the time period.
However, she also introduces a twist by creating a fantasy world that coexists with the historical one, providing an engaging premise that keeps the reader guessing.
The characters are well-drawn, with Victoria being a sympathetic and relatable protagonist who struggles with balancing her desire for adventure and her duty to her family and society.
Her love interest, David, is a charismatic and honorable rebel who challenges her assumptions and beliefs, while the secondary characters, both human and magical, provide varying degrees of support or danger.
The pacing of the plot is consistent, with enough moments of tension and action to keep the reader engaged, but not too much that it overwhelms the character development or world-building.
The climax and resolution offer satisfying closure while leaving room for potential sequels.
One of the strengths of Dark Mirror is its incorporation of historical events and themes, such as the Napoleonic Wars, the Luddite riots, and the common-peoples struggle for representation and liberty.
The use of magic as a metaphor for power relations and inequality adds an allegorical layer that resonates with current events and issues.
However, one weakness of the book is its over-reliance on romance as a driving force for the plot, sometimes at the expense of other conflicts or motivations.
While Victoria and Davids relationship is well-developed and adds emotional depth, there are moments where it feels formulaic or predictable.
Overall, Dark Mirror is a well-written and engaging novel that will appeal to fans of both historical fiction and fantasy.
It deserves a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars, based on its originality, characterizations, and themes, tempered by its occasional reliance on romance tropes. Readers who enjoy strong female protagonists, magical worlds, and historical accuracy will find much to enjoy in this book.