The Twelfth Enchantment – David Liss

Lucy Derrick is a young woman of good breeding, but no money.     When her father died, she was forced to live with her uncle, a cruel man who wants nothing to do with her, and whose sole efforts on her behalf are to engage her to a local mill owner.

Lucy can’t see any ways out of her predicaments until the day that a young man arrives at her house, apparently suffering from a curse, with a message for her.   This man proves to be none other than Lord Byron, and his message draws Lucy in a deeper world, where magic is real, and  revolution will chart a path for England either into slavery in the Industrial age, a return to old days with no machines, or a third path between them.

Oddly enough, the more I read this novel, the more I thought it was a Jane Austen homage.    And, when I got to the end, the book club questions there confirmed that.      I thought being able to parse that out from a story that was also a very interesting commentary on the place of women in Regency England, as well as the potential very dark side of the Industrial Revolution was a good catch.     Either that, or I’ve definitely read too much Jane Austen.

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