I read a thoroughly disappointing book yesterday (which I will not name and will not add to my Goodreads log!) and thought that the best way to counteract a boring book would be to post some fun reads. Usually when I want something lighthearted, I turn to genre fiction, and Regency novels are particular favorites, especially when magic is involved (two for one genre fun!).
The first magical Regency novel I ever picked up was Mairelon the Magician by Patricia C. Wrede. This was back in either middle or high school, and I loved it — a cross-dressing street urchin breaks into a traveling magician’s wagon, discovers he’s a real magician, and signs on as his apprentice. Of course then I picked up Sorcery & Cecilia: or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer, which was more of a traditional Regency romance (about two cousins, one of whom is experiencing her first season in London) with plenty of magical elements. This is YA Regency magic at its best.
More recently, it’s been fun to watch the genre grow for both young readers and adults. For adults, I’ve enjoyed Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories (I’ve only read the first two thus far). These are the most like Austen’s novels of manners with subtler magics and social dynamics.
And for middle grade and younger readers, Stephanie Burgis’s Kat Incorrigible series is delightful. Given the age of the readers, there’s less emphasis on romance, but the family relationships, especially between the siblings, are spot on.
So if you’re looking for a book to read while having your afternoon tea, these are some excellent escapes!