Author: Mary Hooper
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: August 2007
Genre: YA Historical
Book Summary (from Goodreads)
A poor runaway during the Elizabethan period, Lucy does not have many options. Her luck turns around when she is taken on as a maid in the household of Dr. Dee, a real-life figure who was court magician to Queen Elizabeth I. The household is strange and sinister, and Lucy has a nose for intrigue. So when she stumbled across a plot to assassinate the queen, Lucy must find means to warn her . . . before it’s too late.
This novel is about Lucy, who runs away from home and her drunk, abusive father. In the process, she rescues two children from drowning, takes them home and manages to secure a position as a nanny in their house. Turns out, they are the children of Dr. John Dee, who is Queen Elizabeth I’s magician. That’s the short version anyway.
Lucy is a likeable cahracter, even though there are times when I wanted to shake her, or point out some of the sillier things she did. Most of it stems from a certain amount of immaturity that the character has. For instance, she wanders through Dr. Dee’s home before she’s actually been offered the position. She’s just staying overnight, hoping for a position and wanders the house without permission. After the cook spends some time wondering about her motives and whether she’s out to steal in the first place. It seemed a stupid and unlikely thing to do. Her lack of fear of anything is slightly strange as well, especially considering her upbringing. We know her father was abusive, but she lacks any of the fear and forced maturity I expected.
The story itself is entertaining. Lucy is a devoted subject of Queen Elizabeth I and has always dreamed of seeing her. Working for her magician is a dream come true because she might get that chance. Dr. Dee is sufficiently mysterious, and many comments are made about how Lucy doubts his authenticity. I was surprised when there was a paranormal element introduced, but I enjoyed it. It isn’t overbearing and it helps to add to the story, rather than taking over.
The secondary characters are interesting, and while there were some parts I found hard to believe, the book is a quick and entertaining read, so I chose to let them slide. The author has done her homework, but I do sometimes wish for a little more of the history and setting.
If you enjoy Tudor and Elizabethan era fiction, this will be good. Its a quick, fun read and is the first in a series. I liked it well enough that I’ll probably read the other two at some point.
Where to Find the Book
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/at-the-house-of-the-magician-mary-hooper/1008728012?ean=9780747588863&itm=1&usri=9780747588863&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-GwEz7vxblVU-_-10:1&r=1,%201
Book was purchased by the reviewer.