The Twelfth Enchantment

Lucy Derrick is an impoverished young woman who lives with her aunt, uncle and their creepy, mean housekeeper Mrs. Quince. Lucy has come to these circumstances since her sister and both of her parents have died. Her other sister, Martha is married to Mr. Buckles whom Lucy does not get along with.

Lucy has a somewhat tarnished reputation due to her ill fated love affair with Mr. Morrison. She continues to pay for this indiscretion with an arranged (and forced) engagement to Mr. Olson. Lucy comes to meet a Mary Crawford, who tries to get her to sharpen her sorcery skills - skills Lucy did not know she possessed. Mary is looking for pages to an alchemical book, called the Mutus Liber, that will allow the rightful owner to have an effect on the industrialization taking place across England. Luddites are attacking newly built machine shops including those owned by Mr. Olson.

The book moves fairly quickly and the characters are certainly interesting. Lord Byron and William Blake make appearances. They actually are in the same room and not one bit of conversation concerns their literary works. The story had a surreal quality for me. Dead people appear and sometimes you see them and sometimes you don't. You don't know which characters have been resurrected until more than 1/2 way through the book, making me wonder what I missed in the first half. And you actually need to know this because the story line depends on it.

I like David Liss as an author. I have read everything he has written but I had a hard time getting into this book. I liked the characters and the story is interesting. But some of the paranormal threads seem to get in the way. There are several plot lines: Lucy's abilities, her search for the man who stole her inheritance, her love for Mr. Morrison, Lord Byron's decadence and its effect on her life and her relationship with Mary and her brother-in- law Mr. Buckles to name a few. Still, it is a David Liss book and I always enjoy them.

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