Banished to Victorian London
“Auburdeen Perneila Hayle,” Sassafras hissed, the amber glow from his cat eyes growing until the front of the wicker cage shone with it, “you will do whatever you can to behave yourself, to not embarrass me or your mother and to absolutely under every circumstance maintain a firm hand on your horrid temper.”
My anger simmered. Yes, I had a temper. And yes, it had taken me into situations in the past that perhaps I shouldn’t have been part of, situations that usually devolved into fistfights and incoherent yelling at the offender. He should be grateful I always kept control of myself enough my magic never came into play. Except that one time. But it wasn’t my fault. Not really. And the offender recovered. Eventually.
Auburdeen Hayle is the sixteen-year-old daughter of the next leader of her coven. When the transition of power becomes tense, Burdie is sent from her home in America to stay with old friends in London to keep her safe. But a handsome young man chooses to hide from the police in her hansom, drawing Burdie into an underground world of magic that challenges even her sense of adventure and puts her at odds with the very people who are meant to protect her.
From the very first paragraph, Patti Larsen’s Smoke and Magic draws you into a world reminiscent of Harry Potter meets Sabrina the teenage Witch. Ayburdeen Hayle, or Burdie as she prefers, is supported by a great cast of remarkably fleshed out characters. I say ‘remarkably’ because this is a short story, a prequel to the Family Magic series, but don’t let that fool you. This story has entertainment chops!
Burdie is a 16 yr old Witch. Her mother, Thaddea, is transitioning their coven and to keep her only daughter safe, Thad, ships her to London to stay with family friends. Escorting her on the journey is Sass. The silver persian cat, Sassafras lives up to his name. In fact, one of my favorite lines comes straight from his demon kitty mouth.
“Just mind your manners for once would you? It’s important for the Brindles to remain friends with our coven. Important to your mother. Besides, you’re here for your own protection. I’m not in the mood to rescue you from some childish scrape or another you might find yourself in.”
Another stand out character for me was Hugh Brindle. He reminds me of Mr. Collin’s from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Not because he preaches obnoxiously, but because of his awkward nature and sad pursuit.
Vasek was another very intriguing character and one I would love to see in a stand alone. (Hint, hint Patti. LOL)
Burdie’s voice never fails to reveal her short-tempered personality and I love that about her. ‘The officer looked young and wore those horribly popular muttonchop sideburns the men were all so fond of these days. I personally found them hideous and imagined they looked much like rodents attached to the cheeks rather than facial hair.’ LOL. That, readers, was my all time favorite line.
There are stirrings of the romantic kind for Burdie, but that isn’t what drives this book. A proper cadence qualify’s the times and gives Smoke and Magic a definite steampunk feel that should not be missed. Patti Larsen you’ve told a wonderful story. Bravo!
Coming Soon: An interview with Patti Larsen. (I hope! LOL)