Here’s another book in Lackey’s Elemental Magic books, which are all based on fairy tales, but set in the turn of last century. This one is based on “The Steadfast Tin Soldier”.
Katie Langford is a circus acrobat and dancer. When her parents perished in a terrible fire, in the haze of her grief afterwards, she found herself married to the circus strongman. Unfortunately, Dick Langford is a brut who beats her, but eventually, Katie found a chance to run away. She goes to Brighton, and is able to get a job as a magician’s assistant in a music hall there.
The doorman at that music hall is Jack, a veteran of the Boer War, who lost a leg there. He’s been able to gain employment because he’s a Fire Mage, and is able to keep fires out of the music hall. He and Lionel (the magician Katie is assisting – himself an Air Mage) quickly recognize that Katie is a Fire Mage herself.
Fire mages are the most dangerous of the elemental mages when untrained because their emotions can quickly spiral out of control, and out of control fire elementals can be dire. Jack and Lionel need to help Katie completely escape from her husband.
This is a fun book – the performers’ life from that time period is lovingly portrayed, and Katie’s as eager to take a hold of her life as the men are, so it works well.