The about the author section in this book owns to the fact that the author wrote it as an answer to what if there were fantastical elements underlying the social conventions that restrained woman in Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte books.
Ivy Lockwell is the oldest of three sisters. Their father was once a magician, but something drove him mad, and he’s long lived in the attic among his books, where he can escape the real world. The real world is not ours – it’s more or less England, but an England where the world as made up by the theory of spheres seems to reign, and for some reason, day and night are of variable length from one day to the next (there are almanacs to tell you how long the next luminal will be, and if it’s a short one, you’ll try to get your out of house affairs in order while it’s still light).
Ivy’s mother suddenly dies, which leaves them in a bit of a precarious situation because the house where they live is hers, and is entailed to a male heir. So when an opportunity comes up for Ivy to be a governess to a the niece and nephew of an old friend of her father’s (who she’s never actually met), she jumps at the chance to make the necessary money to reopen the house of her childhood (left because her mother hated it), and move her father and sisters there.
Queue the Gothic manor on the moor, but near one of the last living Wyrwoods in Altania, which seems to be calling out to the children now in Ivy’s charge.
There’s also the mystery of her father’s madness, and a looming threat over all of Altania. It’s a very interesting start to a series – very ambitious. I’m hoping as time goes on, it loses some of the Jane Austen/Bronte knock off feeling, which I hope it can, now that the story is set. Definitely has potential.