Published by Allen and Unwin on September 23rd 2015
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Historical, Romance, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson
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A Regency romance with magical elements, featuring an eighteen-year-old heroine and a dashing young hero - and a case of mistaken identity.
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!
Newt’s Emerald was nothing like what I expected from Garth Nix. It’s a charming and fun Regency romance with a sprinkle (or two) of magic.
What I loved most about this book was the great balance between romance, mystery and adventure. This story is about Lady Truthful Newington who finds herself the victim of a theft when some mysterious person/power steals a precious and powerful heirloom right from under her nose. She travels to London to stay with her great-aunt and while there, disguises herself as a man so that she can inquire about the whereabouts of the Newington Emerald. Along the way, there are crazy antics and moments of mistaken identity, as well as a Pride and Prejudice-esque romance. I really enjoyed the plot of the book and thought it was very lighthearted and fun. I thought the novel had a really interesting twist with Truthful’s great-aunt encouraging her to disguise herself as a boy, which goes against the typical trope of young Regency women disguising themselves to escape from family and societal pressures. It made the story unexpected and really exciting to read. I loved the action-packed sections in the book but found the slower sections to be a little bit draggy. There were a small section towards the end of the novel that I found to be a little bit boring, but overall I really enjoyed the plot.
The setting of this book had a really interesting and magical twist. It’s set in the typical Regency England setting that we’re used to but there’s a great magical atmosphere. People walk around with glamours and, even though the tone of the book is very lighthearted, there’s just a greater sense of danger and drama. The element of magic is incorporated very subtly and it wasn’t a big deal. It was just part of the daily lives of the people and I really enjoyed this aspect, especially when it added to the humour of the story.
I also loved the characters in this novel. Truthful was a great main character who was easy to connect to and really funny. She was impulsive and daring, while also knowing her place as a lady. I thoroughly enjoyed her story, as well as her romance with the mysterious Major Harnett. There was a very Jane Austen-like romance in this book (and I found it really interesting that Garth Nix considers Austen to be one of his favourite authors) that reminded me of Elizabeth and Darcy. Truthful and Major Harnett aren’t really fans of each other when they first meet but the two grow to appreciate the other’s qualities. The romance developed very naturally in my opinion and there wasn’t a certain point where they ‘fell in love’, which I really really loved. The other characters in the book were also really interesting and funny, especially Truthful’s great-aunt, who was so unexpected and quirky.
Newt’s Emerald is a fun and lighthearted Regency story with romance, intrigue and magic. I loved the characters and the humour in this book and it was just really exciting to read. I devoured the book in one sitting and wished it had been longer so I could enjoy it for even longer.
Rating: 4 out of 5