Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones

Annis lives comfortable life in London with her aunt acting as chaperone while her father is constantly away on business.  Despite his cover story, Annis is sure that her father is a spy so when his solicitor shows up to say he has died in an accident, Annis believes it was murder and decides she will help solve the crime.  Taking along a clue she found in his trunk, she visits the war office to try to get hired on as a spy herself but no one has any interest in what she reveals.  Not even when she tells them that she has the magical ability to sew glamours:  clothes that she can shape into whatever she wants just by thinking about it.  Running out of money fast, the two women and their maid Millie - who reveals a new talent daily - move to a small town where Annis opens a modiste's shop and begins making gowns for the local ladies while continuing to work on her father's murder.

I so want to be able to make wildly becoming clothes just by thinking about them and taking a few stitches.  The descriptions of the clothes Annis was able to make with her powers were scrumptious and I wanted more.  Her aunt's insistence that there was no future in gown-making became annoying as Annis was clearly already getting some business and had a plan for getting more.  The mystery and spying layer added some depth and intrigue to the story which paid off at the end, although I would've preferred to have Annis continuing her gown shop in the little town becoming more and more famous even though that is clearly not what the author was going for.  And of course Millie is a wonderful character who clearly knows considerably more than her mistress about, really, everything.  Just a delightful read for me and surely for others who enjoy Pride and Prejudice-era stories.

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