Absolutely riveting. Putney creates a vivid historical fantasy and delivers a page-turning read. The plot builds slowly and deliberately and then suddenly you’ve got magic-wielding, time-traveling teens in WWII England, as Putney gives us a magical explanation for an incredible historical event.
Long ago Britain’s nobility decided that magic was only for the lower classes, not the wealthy. Now in 1803, children of the nobility who have magical abilities are sent to Lackland Abbey. When it is revealed that Lady Victoria “Tory” Mansfield has newly discovered magical abilities, she is disgraced and sent away. But Lackland is not what it seems, and while many are trying to suppress their magic, others are not so devoted. Tory discovers a secret group that strives to develop, not deny, their talents. As the threat of Napoleon’s invasion grows, Tory must decide what matters to her more: denying part of her identity in order to return to her life, or developing her magic for the good of England. (St. MARTIN’S GRIFFIN, Mar., 320 pp., $9.99, ISBN: 9780312622848, PB, 13 & Up)