Published by Jill Grinberg Lit Management on November 2013
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Source: My copy
Amazon • Amazon UK
After the Newington Emerald is stolen at the height of a conjured storm, eighteen year-old Lady Truthful Newington goes to London to search for the magical heirloom of her house. But as no well-bred young lady can hunt the metropolis for a stolen jewel, she has to disguise herself as a man, and is soon caught up in a dangerous adventure where she must risk her life, her reputation... and her heart.
Balancing twin roles as a young lady coming out in her first season and as an intrepid young man up against an evil sorceress isn’t easy, but Truthful has to manage it. Her father’s life and even the fate of England may depend upon her recovering the Newington Emerald!
If you’re familiar with Garth Nix’s other works (eg Sabriel, A Confusion of Princes, Troubletwisters), then it may come as something of a surprise that he is a big fan of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen! Newt’s Emerald was certainly a rather unexpected story from my point of view – I was expecting a MG or YA historical fic with fantasy elements, but I certainly wasn’t expecting a Regency romance!
Newt’s Emerald reads a lot like the Georgette Heyer (These Old Shades) I read earlier in the year, but with a dash of magic. It’s just as delightful a swashbuckling story of intrigue, danger and the foibles of the aristocracy, but with the added spice of weather mages, death mages and powerful stones, among other magical elements. The magic is quite a subtle addition – it’s mentioned here and there as if it’s of everyday account and the extent of magic’s hold over this alternative world is only gradually revealed as the story progresses.
Truthful (who has rather an odd name for a young lady) takes no prisoners in her quest to discover what has happened to her family’s emerald. She fits into her gentleman’s disguise rather well and is quite prepared to shoot anyone who gets in her way.
One of the only things I thought was wrong with this delightful story was that it was too short, which made the romantic side of the story seem a little rushed and sudden, even if it was quite sweet in its development. The only reason I’ve gone for four stars rather than higher in my rating is that, while the story was sweet and rather action-packed, it didn’t blow me away. It certainly was an entertaining read, though.
I’m not sure whether there are any other stories planned with these characters or world, but I do hope there are – this one was quite a pleasant surprise.
– A regency romance with a magical twist. Give it a try if you’re after something light and “frothy”!