Thanks to NetGalley and Knopf Books for Young Readers for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: September 19th, 2017
Synopsis: The year is 1818, the city is London, and 16-year-old Annis Whitworth has just learned 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 himself a spy, and 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 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. And so, she crafts a new double life for herself. Miss Annis Whitworth will appear to live a quiet life in a country cottage with her aunt, and Annis-in-disguise as Madame Martine, glamour artist, will open a magical dressmaking shop. That way she can earn a living, maintain her social standing, and in her spare time, follow the coded clues her father left behind and unmask his killer.
It can’t be any harder than navigating the London social season, can it?
Murder, Magic, and What We Wore is a cute Recency romp, that had me laughing out loud more than once.
Annis is a refreshing young miss. Despite her magical talent, she’s no special snowflake. She’s intelligent, but very naive and because of this, makes mistakes and has to rely on others to help fix them. Annis is not afraid to get her hands dirty, and in addition to investing her father’s mysterious death, takes time out to help others.
Millie, the maid to Annis and her aunt, actually wound up being even more interesting to me. She’s far more practical than Annis, and saves the day more than once. I also enjoyed the close friendship that developed between these two girls despite their dissimilar backgrounds. There’s a lot of “girl power” moments courtesy of these two as well as some secondary female characters.
I loved the fantasy elements added to this, but while there’s an acceptance that magical abilities are par for the course, there’s no other details on how they came to be. Also lacking is some character development, specifically in regards to men. There’s a hint of a potential future romance between Annis and her father’s lawyer, Mr. Harrison, but to be honest, by the last page I knew nothing more about him than I did at the beginning of the book.
The mystery is intriguing and although I guessed who the villain was about halfway through the book, it still kept me reading. The ending isn’t a cliffhanger, but it leads me to believe there will be additional books.
Overall, Murder, Magic, and What We Wore may be a little short on details and development, but is still a quick and enjoyable read. I’m definitely interested in where Kelly Jones takes her characters and story next.