Newt’s Emerald Review: Charming and Magical Regency Romance

August 10, 2016 by Jenna | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

Newt’s Emerald Review: Charming and Magical Regency RomanceNewt's Emerald by Garth Nix
Published by Allen and Unwin on September 23rd 2015
Source: Purchased
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



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Jenna is an Aussie blogger and reader who loves to indulge in great books and great food. She is a doctor (of philosophy) and can usually be found fangirling about something, devouring delicious food, or taking a nap. You can find her on Twitter @readwithjenna and on Instagram @readingwithjenna.

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24 responses to “Newt’s Emerald Review: Charming and Magical Regency Romance

  1. Olivia-Savannah

    I am glad you could enjoy this one so much! I really love the sound of a magical setting that manages to combine intrigue and mystery perfectly with romance to make an engaging story that interested you almost all the way through. The review had me so interested that I think I am gonna have to add this one. I hadn't heard much about it until now, so I was always unsure.
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    • It's a bit of an underrated book but I thought it was lovely. It's the kind of book that flies under the radar and you kind of know what it's about but not really. I highly enjoyed it and if you love a Regency romance with a dash of magic, this one is perfect!

  2. OKAY WHAT I DID N O T KNOW this was A REGENCY with ROMANCE and MAGIC like ?????? My fave things????? Humor and lightness???? GARTH NIX??? Honestly for some reason I thought this was an MG novel LOL. I'M PICKING THIS ONE UP WHEN I CAN.

    • Yes! I think you'll love this one! It's SUPER quick to read and I'm sure you'll just fly through it in one day. The characters are ADORBS. It reminded me slightly of Love, Lies and Spies but much much better. I'm meeting Garth Nix next week EEEEEPPPP! So if you're interested, I can get you a signed copy.

  3. This book has always kind of hovered in my periphery, but now that I know more about it I definitely want to check it out! (Partly because I'm rereading Pride and Prejudice right now, and he fact that she's ENCOURAGED to disguise herself as a boy.) I haven't really had much experience with Garth Nix's writing (though I think I have a paperback of A Confusion of Princes) and this sounds like a really good place to start!
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    • This was my first Garth Nix book and I agree that it's a great place to start! I'm not sure how representative it is of his other work because I imagine that this is quite different from his usual style… but I really enjoyed it and it was a fun, lighthearted romance with some mystery.

  4. This one definitely sounds like you had lots of fun reading it Jenna, especially with the Regency setting and the wonderful characters. I love how that romance kind of developed naturally and wasn't forced either! Who knew Garth Nix could've written this type of book? Thanks for sharing, Jenna.

    • Yeah! It was just such an unexpected book from Garth Nix. But still really really good. I'm actually meeting him next week at Allen & Unwin's YAFanfest!

    • It's a super quick read so I definitely recommend checking it out if you're intrigued :D. It's really unconventional and has a great lighthearted atmosphere. Very Austen-esque!

    • I heard some good things when the book first came out but it's been a bit underrated since then. It wasn't until I picked it up to read that I was like "oh! This REALLY is a Regency romance!" HAHA.

    • This was my first Garth Nix book, despite him being really really big here in Australia. I'm actually meeting him next week!!! I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this and the story was really unexpected. Definitely a really enjoyable read.

  5. I still haven't read this and I keep going back and forth as to whether I want to or not. But I do love Garth Nix, so I'll most likely get to it when I have time! Though I am a little scared for the slow sections, because I'll most likely get bored. But it sounds like it didn't bother you too much haha!

    Awesome review Jenna!
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    • I haven't read anything else by Garth Nix (shame on me) but I've heard that this is quite different from his other books. It's really lighthearted and charming, plus it's a really really quick read. I hope you give it a go, Val!

  6. Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy

    This sounds like a perfect, charming read. I love that it is so Austen-esque too. I really should have read this one already, I'm going to put it on my TBR soon list. 🙂 Great review!
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    • This book is soooo charming! I wasn't really expecting to love it as much as I did but it was a really great read. The characters were great and I highly recommend it!

    • It's definitely one of the better Regency romances that I've read in recent months. It was subtle and wasn't in your face. And I loved that it was slightly unconventional!

  7. keionda

    AWWW The romance sounds ON THE POINT!! I love the fact that you fell in love with the characters because nine times out of ten, they are the main reason we stick with a book! So with this book it sounds like they had you sucked in! Glad you enjoyed its so much girl!

    EPIC review! <3 <3

    • I was definitely sucked into the story because of the crazy antics and how much fun the plot and characters were. There were some slow bits but overall I thought it was wonderful and highly recommend it!! The romance was sooo good.

    • It was definitely unexpected from him but apparently he's had this Regency romance in his back pocket since 1991?!! And he loves Jane Austen?!

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