Austenesque, Giveaways, Historical Fantasy, Paranormal & Gothic Fiction, Regency Era

Giveaway winners announced for The Twelfth Enchantment

The Twelfth Enchantment: A Novel, by David Liss (2011)21 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one of three copies of The Twelfth Enchantment, by David Liss. The winners drawn at random are:

  • Janis Rothermel who left a comment on September 15, 2011
  • Julianne B. who left a comment on September 18, 2011
  • Kate who left a comment on September 15, 2011

Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by September 29, 2011. Shipment is to US and Canadian addresses only.

Thanks to author David Liss for sharing his inspiration and insights on adding Mary Crawford to his new novel The Twelfth Enchantment, and to all who left comments. I for one am totally intrigued to see what he does with one of Austen’s most misguided anti-heroines.

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Austenesque, Blog Tours, Giveaways, Guest Blog, Regency Era

The Twelfth Enchantment Blog Tour with Author David Liss

The Twelfth Enchantment: A Novel, by David Liss (2011)Please join us today in welcoming author David Liss on his blog tour in celebration of the release of The Twelfth Enchantment, a new Regency-era novel featuring Jane Austen’s character Mary Crawford and a bit of magic, published by Random House.

There’s no bad girl like a Jane Austen bad girl. I’m not sure what it says about me, but I’ve always been fascinated by some of the worst women in Austen’s novel. Not the unlikable, begrudging, judgmental, and pinched women, but the big-hearted and flawed ones – the ones who are close to being good except they’re not. They’re bad. High on my list is Lydia Bennet, the wayward youngest sister from Pride and Prejudice, but my number one Austen vixen has always been Mary Crawford, the wicked rival from Mansfield Park.

When I set out to work on my most recent novel, The Twelfth Enchantment, I knew I wanted my main character to be based on an older and wiser version of Lydia Bennet – an iteration of the character type who did not succeed in running off with an older man. The book’s protagonist, Lucy Derrick, ended up evolving away from the source material and becoming her own character since that’s what happens when you write a novel, but the germ is there, and I think any Austen reader will recognize it. I also knew I wanted to have Mary Crawford in the book. Not a character based on her, but the character herself. I wanted to pick up the character’s story after the events of Mansfield Park and show her in an altered state. In my novel, she is most certainly changed, but parts of the character remain the same – beautiful, charming, clever and scheming.

Mansfield Park is not, in my opinion, Jane Austen’s best novel. As a protagonist, Fanny Price is insipid and forgettable, and the novel often evidences an attention to petty detail that is near stultifying. Nevertheless, the book rises above these faults because the world Fanny Price inhabits is nuanced, rich and socially dangerous. The supporting characters are fascinatingly flawed, and the relationships are among the edgiest in Austen’s work. Though Austen’s novels are generally oblivious to the cultural and economic upheavals and human suffering visible everywhere during the early industrial revolution, Fanny’s return to Portsmouth showcases how masterfully the author could have worked with gritty social realism had she so chosen. Continue reading “The Twelfth Enchantment Blog Tour with Author David Liss”

Book Reviews, Regency Era Book Reviews

The Twelfth Enchantment: A Novel, by David Liss – A Review

The Twelfth Enchantment: A Novel, by David Liss (2011)Guest review by Kimberly Denny-Ryder of Reflections of a Book Addict

Historical fiction? Check.  Magic?  Check.  Awesome heroine?  Check.   Lord Byron?!  Check!  Did you ever imagine those four items to be in the same novel together?  I sure didn’t, so I was in for a definite surprise when I started reading The Twelfth Enchantment by David Liss.  Set in the early 19th century in a pre-industrial England, Liss weaves a tale of mystery, intrigue, and magic that leaves the reader wanting more, creating a plot that I was increasingly excited to be pulled in to.

Lucy Derrick’s entire life is about to change.  Whilst in her house one evening with her family and her fiancée Mr. Olson, a sudden banging occurs at the door.  A man whom the house’s inhabitants have never met before demands to speak to Lucy and put a stop to her engagement!  After setting eyes on Lucy and speaking a prophecy involving the phrase, “Gather the leaves”, he proceeds to vomit pins, a sure sign of a curse.  Fearful of whom this young man is and what he wants with Lucy, he is brought into the house to await a doctor who declares his condition is due to magic and that he is unable to help him. He can however, recommend someone who may have experience in this field.  A Mary Crawford, (no, unfortunately not that Mary Crawford from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, though we can see her as an enchantress of the magical sort), is beckoned to the house and with her persistence and guidance, she helps Lucy discover her magical roots.  The two work together to find the source of the curse and destroy it.  Lucy is amazed to discover how easy it was for her to learn magic, but is more amazed that Mary is not at all surprised at her skill.  A budding friendship between the two woman begins, and it is through this friendship that Lucy learns more and more about her magic.  She is told of a book, the Mutus Liber, which is said to give its possessor the ability to create the magic of the philosopher’s stone.  She learns that this book is somehow involved in the fighting and picketing going on that is protesting the industrial revolution.  Lucy soon finds herself caught between two worlds as her powers grow stronger.  Will she be able to find and translate the Mutus Liber in time to stop the fighting?  Will she discover the meaning behind the prophecy of “gathering the leaves” in time to do what she must?

While the book was incredibly clever and interesting I found myself getting lost in the politics of the story.  The war between the real world and the magical world had to do with the industrial revolution and how it affected England.  While not understanding the specifics and mechanics of the war was a bit confusing, I did understand the remaining plot lines and was able to still enjoy the book.  I liked how the magic that was discussed in the book wasn’t “hocus pocus” magic.  People didn’t just say spells and make things fly across a room.  It was a more nature based magic, which I found to be an interesting and refreshing change from the more common types of magic we see and read about.

Our heroine Lucy Derrick is one of the most awesome fictional heroines I’ve ever encountered.  She starts out as this weak girl who lets all the people around her demean her and put her life on a path that she isn’t happy with.  With the guidance of Mary she begins to understand the woman she’s meant to be, and let me tell you, she becomes a force to be reckoned with.  The way Liss writes her growth as a character is truly remarkable.  When the book opens you feel the dread she feels about the way her life is going, and by the end of the book you feel the strength and confidence she’s gained.   In the middle of the book you feel her doubt these magical powers she’s learning about, and by the end you can feel her completeness in knowing the full extent of what she can do and what she can learn to do.  Liss did a great job at writing her story so that we as readers can relate to it and really get a sense of Lucy’s plight.  May I also add that her love triangle is an ode, in my eyes, to Elizabeth Bennet’s in Pride and Prejudice?  Being a huge fan of Jane Austen and the English Regency I also enjoyed the inclusion of Lord Byron and William Blake, both famous poets of the time, as supporting characters.

This is one book you need to add to your to-be-read pile.  If you enjoy mysteries, you definitely won’t be disappointed.  The mix of earthy magic and the story behind Lucy finding herself as a magician and a woman, while attempting to solve the prophecy made this a very engaging read.  I can’t wait to check out the other works that Liss has to offer!

4 out of 5 Regency Stars

The Twelfth Enchantment: A Novel, by David Liss
Random House, New York (2011)
Hardcover (416) pages
ISBN: 978-1400068968

© 2007 – 2011 Kimberly Denny-Ryder, Austenprose