Review & Giveaway: Mary Bennet and the Bloomsbury Coven

Dec 4, 2013 by

Mary Bennet and the Bloomsbury Coven is a delightful mix of romance and magic.  Beth Deitchman’s novella combines the best of Austen’s wit, setting, and dialogue with a type of magic and world building that’s very reminiscent of the Harry Potter series.  Deitchman selects for her unlikely heroine Miss Mary Bennet – the Bennet sister with the least beauty, wit, or natural talent.  Yet it seems that Mary does have a natural talent for sorcery and this aided by her dedication and perseverance.  In fact, it is the things that make Mary so sometimes dreadfully “Mary” that allow her to become accomplished in the magic arts.

 

 

 

When Mary Bennet is accidentally sent a book about magic spells instead of the one she was expecting, a whole new world opens up for her.  One of magic, intrigue, deception, danger, and possibly love.  But in this new world everything is not what it seems and Mary must figure out who to trust – the powerful and legendary Bloomsbury Coven or the man they claim as their enemy.

 

One of the best aspects of Mary Bennet and the Bloomsbury Coven is that even as the story delves deeper into magic practices and the existence of dark magic it never loses it’s Regency roots.  The importance of society and propriety aren’t just window dressing but really anchor the story in Austen’s world.  Her characters are still her characters.  Mr. & Mrs. Bennet’s dialogue and interactions especially were so pitch perfect that I found myself laughing out loud often.

 

Mary’s growth was also very realistic throughout the story. However, I did feel like we started off a bit quickly with Mary having already embraced a love of novels before this story even started.  While this sets her up for being more receptive to the adventure to come, it is so very un-Mary-like that I would have liked a bit more time dedicated to it.  Though it felt quick at the start, the circumstances were explained well and it’s always entertaining to think of Mr. Wickham still causing upheaval in the lives of young ladies.

 

Overall this is an incredibly well written novella that takes Austen’s world and characters in an entirely new and enjoyable direction.  The reader is able to accept the magic because the rest of the story is so well grounded in Austen and the Regency era.  The magic itself is beautifully described and obviously has been thoroughly and completely imagined by the author.  Building a magical system is never an easy task and if a reader is a fan of fantasy they can often be quick to spot the gaps.  There were no distracting gaps in the world building here, it was fleshed out and well integrated – a true pleasure to read.

 

Five out of five stars.

 

*****

Beth Deitchman wrote her first book, Behind Every Great Man There’s a Great Cat, when she was in third grade. After that she took some time off from writing to pursue other interests. While her plans to be a ballerina / manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates fell through, she did have short careers in both ballet and modern dance. She’s also been a lecturer in English at UC Davis and an actor in the SF Bay Area. These days Beth writes and teaches Pilates in Northern California where she lives with her husband, Dave, and dog, Ralphie. With her writing partner, Emily June Street, Beth founded Luminous Creatures Press.

 

 

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7 Comments

  1. I have so much curiosity for this book. The mix of romance and magic is very interesting.

    Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

  2. Maria

    This book really intrigues me! I like the idea to pick Mary as main character. The bookish Bennet sister is perfect for this role and the mix with magic is great and original!
    Thank you for the chance!

  3. Vesper

    like the development of Mary and that although it had magic in the story it stays with the Regency period

  4. Ceri

    I love the idea of mixing magic with Pride and Prejudice. This one is on my wish list :)

  5. Patty

    I am so intrigued by the idea of magic in a recency novel and especially reading about Mary.

  6. Sounds like an interesting read! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

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