Dark Mirror (Dark Mirror Series #1)

Dark Mirror (Dark Mirror Series #1)

by M. J. Putney


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Lady Victoria Mansfield, youngest daughter of the earl and countess of Fairmount, is destined for a charmed life. Soon she will be presented during the London season, where she can choose a mate worthy of her status.

Yet Tory has a shameful secret—a secret so powerful that, if exposed, it could strip her of her position and disgrace her family forever. Tory's blood is tainted . . . by magic.

When a shocking accident forces Tory to demonstrate her despised skill, the secret she's fought so hard to hide is revealed for all to see. She is immediately exiled to Lackland Abbey, a reform school for young men and women in her position. There she will learn to suppress her deplorable talents and maybe, if she's one of the lucky ones, be able to return to society.

But Tory's life is about to change forever. All that she's ever known or considered important will be challenged. What lies ahead is only the beginning of a strange and wonderful journey into a world where destiny and magic come together, where true love and friendship find her, and where courage and strength of character are the only things that determine a young girl's worth.

Dark Mirror is M.J. Putney's first young adult novel, and it's enthralling—an historical fantasy that's both fast-paced and deeply moving.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312622848
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 03/01/2011
Series: Dark Mirror Series , #1
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: 770L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

M. J. Putney is the author of the young adult fantasy novel Dark Passage. As Mary Jo Putney, she is the New York Times bestselling author of historical romances. M. J. is fond of reading, cats, travel, and most of all, great stories.

Read an Excerpt


England, 1803

Lady Victoria Mansfield flew high, high over her family’s estate. Arms and legs outstretched, long skirts fluttering around her knees as she gloried in her freedom and in the soft scented wind.

She laughed with delight as she saw the familiar Somersetshire hills from above. Here was the vast stone length of her home, Fairmount Hall, there the beautiful gardens that ran to the bluffs. Waves crashed far below, and gulls soared at Tory’s height, their cries haunting.

She swooped down to investigate the round stone dovecote. Doves squawked in protest when she flew inside. Startled, she almost plunged to the ground.

Concentrate on staying aloft. With a giddy rush, Tory swooped up again, soaring through the door of the dovecote and into the sky. Perhaps she should fly to the nearby estate of the Harford family. The Honorable Edmund Harford was the eldest son and heir to his father’s title and property.

She’d always admired Edmund. He was back from university for the summer and she wanted him to see that she had grown. Perhaps he’d think she was almost as pretty as her older sister, Sarah.

Tory banked into the wind and turned east toward the Harford estate.

A horrified cry shocked her awake.

*   *   *

Jolted from sleep, Tory realized she was floating a yard above her rumpled bed, terrifyingly unsupported. Her mother, the Countess of Fairmont, stood in the doorway, her expression horrified. “Victoria,” she breathed. “Oh, please, no!”

Tory glanced up into the canopy above her head. A spider had spun a web in the corner, and the ugly creature was looking right at her.

She shrieked and crashed down on the bed, her breath whooshing out as she flopped onto her stomach. Shaken and afraid, she pushed herself up with her arms. She couldn’t really have been flying! “What … what happened?”

“You were flying.” Her mother closed the door, her white-knuckled hand locked around the knob. “Don’t ever do that again!” she said, voice shaking. “You know how society feels about mages. How … how your father feels about them.”

“I can’t be a mage!” Tory gasped, shocked by the impossibility of her mother’s words. “I’m a Mansfield. We’re not magical!”

At least not that Tory had ever heard. Seeing the countess’s guilty expression caused her to ask incredulously, “Mama, have there been mages in our family?”

Such a thing wasn’t possible. It just wasn’t! Magic corrupted, and she wasn’t corrupt. Yes, she’d felt herself changing as she grew to womanhood. Strange dreams, new desires. But those were just growing pains. Not magic!

Tory refused to believe her mother could be a mage. Lady Fairmount was considered the greatest lady in the county, an example to all wellborn young ladies.

And yet … guilt was written as plain as day on the countess’s lovely face. When the countess refused to reply, Tory’s world began to crack beneath her.

“Do you have magical ability?” she said, shocked and desperately unwilling to believe such a thing. Yet looking back … “You always knew what we were doing. Geoff and Sarah and I thought you had eyes in the back of your head.”

“There were rumors,” her mother whispered, tears shining in her eyes. “About my Russian grandmother, Viktoria Ivanova. The one you’re named for. She died when I was very small, so I didn’t really know her, but … it’s possible she brought mage blood into the family.”

Tory’s namesake had poisoned the blue-blooded Mansfield family with magic? And Tory might suffer for that? It wasn’t fair!

Feeling utterly betrayed, she cried, “How could you not warn me? If I’d known I might have magic, I could have guarded against it!”

“I thought you children had escaped the taint! I have very little power. Scarcely any at all. It seemed better not to worry you about such an unlikely possibility.” Lady Fairmount was literally wringing her hands. “But … you look rather like Viktoria Ivanova. You must have inherited some of her talent.”

Tory wanted to howl. Voice breaking, she said, “I’ve never floated like this before. It’s just a freak, something that will never happen again, I swear it!”

The countess looked deeply sad. “Magic appears when boys and girls grow to adulthood. It’s hard to suppress, but you must try, Victoria. If your father finds out, he’ll certainly send you to Lackland.”

Tory gasped in disbelief. Though children of the nobility who had magic were often sent to the prisonlike school called Lackland Abbey, surely she wouldn’t be forced to leave her friends and family! “You’ve managed to hide your power from everyone, and so can I. I’m another whole generation away from Viktoria Ivanova.” Tory drew a shaky breath. “No one will ever know about me, either.”

“The ability to fly is not minor magic,” her mother said, expression worried. “You may find it harder to hide your abilities than I have.”

“I wasn’t flying!” Tory protested. “I always toss and turn when I’m sleeping.” Knowing how feeble that sounded, she continued. “If I am cursed with magic, I’ll learn to control it. You always said I was more stubborn than Geoffrey and Sarah put together.”

“I hope you succeed,” her mother said sadly. “If your ability becomes known, I don’t think I’ll be able to save you from Lackland Abbey. God keep you, my child.” Silent tears fell unchecked as she backed from the room, closing the door behind her.

Leaving her daughter alone in a shattered world.

Tory struggled not to panic. She couldn’t go to Lackland Abbey. Even when students were cured and sent home, they were considered tainted, like the madmen at Bedlam Hospital.

Uneasily she remembered a story whispered by her best friend, Louisa Fisk. The daughter of a baron from nearby Devon had been sent to Lackland after her family discovered she was a mageling. The girl had been betrothed from birth to the son of a family friend, but the betrothal had been broken immediately.

When the girl finally left Lackland, she’d been forced to become a governess. A year later, she walked off a cliff.

Tory’s bedside candle cast enough light to reveal her dim reflection in the mirror opposite her bed. The rest of the family was tall and blond, while Tory was petite and dark-haired. The countess always said her dark hair, slim build, and slightly tilted eyes had come from her Russian grandmother. Tory rather liked her exotic looks. It was horrible to know they might have come with despicable magical ability.

But the magic didn’t show. With her wide eyes and a glossy night braid falling over the shoulder of her lace-trimmed white nightgown, she looked like any normal, harmless schoolroom girl.

Her gaze traveled around her bedroom. Her beautiful, grown-up room, redecorated as a present for her sixteenth birthday because Mama had said she was a young lady, and a lady’s room might make her less of a tomboy.

Tory loved the rich moldings, the elegant rose-patterned brocade upholstery, the carved walnut posts that supported the matching brocade canopy of her bed. It was the bedroom of a young lady who would soon be presented to society and would have her pick of the most eligible young men in England.

Her mother had given her this beautiful room but failed to warn her that she might be cursed with magic. It was damnable!

Tory shivered, wanting nothing more than to crawl into bed and pull the covers over her head. But she must discover if she truly did carry the taint of magic.

She sat on the edge of her bed and imagined herself flying as she had in her dream. She felt a fluttering in her midriff, but to her relief, nothing happened. She remained solidly on the bed.

But was she trying hard enough? She closed her eyes and thought of herself floating in the air. She concentrated so hard that her head began to ache. Still nothing.

She wasn’t a mage. It was some kind of misunderstanding!

Then the inner fluttering stabilized with a silent click. Dizziness—and Tory shrieked as her head bumped a yielding surface. Her eyes snapped open and she saw that her head was pushing into the bed’s brocade canopy.

Shocked, she fell, bouncing from the edge of the mattress onto the soft Chinese carpet. Knees bruised, she got to her feet and tested herself again. This time she kept her eyes open as she consciously sought that inner change.

Click! She rose from the carpet with alarming speed. Too fast!

With the thought, her movement slowed and she floated gently up to the ceiling. She felt light and no longer afraid as the air supported her as softly as a feather mattress.

For an instant, excitement blazed through her. She could fly!

Her pleasure vanished instantly. Wielding magic was vulgar. Dishonorable, even. Noble families like Tory’s were the descendants of kings and warriors. Mages were mere tradesmen like blacksmiths and seamstresses. A Mansfield would rather starve than go into trade.

Yet the pulse of magic that held her in the air felt so good. How could it be evil?

Her lips tightened. Teachers and vicars invariably said that feeling good was the mark of sin. She must never fly like this again.

But before she put magic away forever, Tory wanted to explore her amazing, appalling new ability. She tried to swoop across the room as she’d done in her dream, but the best she could manage was drifting a little faster.

She looked down onto the top of her bed’s canopy. Ugh! Dead bugs. She’d tell a maid to take the canopy down for cleaning.

Tory drifted along a wall until she reached one of the carved angels set in each corner of the room. This close, she saw patches where the gilding had peeled away from the wood. The bare spots weren’t visible from floor level.

She wasn’t really flying, she decided. Not like a bird, not like a Turk on a flying carpet. But she could float safely and control her direction and speed if she concentrated.

Her new ability wasn’t very useful, apart from allowing her to get books from the top shelves in her father’s library. Tiring, Tory descended too fast and banged hard on the carpet.

She winced as she rubbed the stinging sole of her right foot. She must take more care in the future.…

No! She would never fly—float—again. Doing so was wrong, and exhausting as well. Tory could barely manage to climb the steps up into her bed.

Tory rolled into a ball under the covers, shivering despite the warm night. It was impossible to deny the truth. She, Lady Victoria Mansfield, youngest of the Earl of Fairmount’s three children, had been cursed with magic from her unknown great grandmother.

But she wouldn’t let it ruin her life. She wouldn’t!

DARK MIRROR Copyright © 2011 by Mary Jo Putney, Inc.

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Dark Mirror 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
pinkfairytale More than 1 year ago
Dark Mirror, although filled with excitement, was much less than what I had expected it to be. It did have a compelling story filled with magic, adventure, and romance, but I felt like It wasn't written in a practical way. I felt like It started the wrong way and then jumped through events. It begins with Tori waking up to find out she has magical powers; the problem is it introduces Tori and her family with no prior introduction and we don't really get to know much about her or her family within the first part of the story. It skips from finding out in chapter 1 that Tori has magical powers to, all of a sudden, in chapter two being found out for her powers and condemned to a place called Lackland Abby (a school for those with a magically ability). From there it seems to skip from one major event to another. Everything happens a bit too suddenly. For instance: on the first day of school at Lackland Tori finds, to her dismay, that boys and girls are not allowed to interact with each other, but she spies a handsome boy through the fence and all she can think about after that is him. I did enjoy the travel between times though, it made the book more interesting. Another problem I had with the story is that the main characters spent more time in another time period helping that times war efforts than in their own time helping stop their own war. The Characters were believable and added different fun elements to the story, and I never knew what was going to happen next. Parents or readers might want to be aware of : Mild language throughout the book. The d--n word was used often, as was the h--l word. There was also some cheezy romance that almost got to a PG-13 area. Thankfully for the reader though, the boy decided to be a gentleman saying, "I will not ruin you." But in the end he decides otherwise saying, "I will not ruin you...there will be time for that later." There is no indication that they have sex though. I am guessing that readers who love romance and historical fiction will be more enthusiastic about this read than I was. Even though I may not have enjoyed it as much as I enjoy other books, It was worth reading. I give it 2 and a half stars.
LASR_Reviews More than 1 year ago
"And gentlemen in England now abed / Shall think themselves accursed they were not here." Sixteen year old Lady Victoria "Tory" Mansfield had dreams of her debut, meeting and dancing with eligible gentlemen and making a worthy match like her brother and sister before her. In one brief moment of courage she couldn't regret, all those dreams came crashing down. What could it have been like for such a young and innocent lady to suddenly lose everything that was supposed to matter as well as the connection to everyone who had been her anchor in a single afternoon? Thanks to a gift she didn't know she possessed and certainly never asked for, Lady Victoria would be reduced to an undistinguishable Miss upon entering the grounds of Lackland Abbey. You won't have to wonder how it felt if you are reading M.J. Putney's first young adult work of fiction, Dark Mirror. As a New York Times Best Selling author, Ms. Putney is well known for her historical books and rightly so. But, if you are looking for a typical Regency romance of balls, dresses and carriage rides through Hyde Park, you will be sorely disappointed. If instead, you are looking for a book with emotion, energy, vivid writing, clever dialogue, engaging characters, a storyline that will have you gladly losing sleep, patriotism, magic and lastly the beautiful beginnings of a young romance.then you've picked the perfect book. Being an American student, the details of World War II were always explained beginning with the US being tragically forced into the war. I knew who we were allied with and against and why, but my patriotism was decidedly pro-American and it was our efforts that secured the ultimate victory against Hitler. Ms. Putney's story has given me a whole new perspective on this dark time in our history but from the POV of several British youth. Her quotes from PM Winston Churchill, the amazingly graphic language describing war torn England and talk of flying the Union Jack had me cheering right along with my distant cousins across the pond as the soldiers in Dunkirk were rescued. You may be wondering how I went from Regency England to WWII England. Well, Tory and her friends manage it through a Merlin's Mirror; I simply traveled along with them! I started this review with a quote from Henry V that is also used in the book. Think about that quote as you read this incredible story. I believe you will see the deeper meaning that transcends place and time that even King Henry himself could not have anticipated on that fateful St. Crispin's Day. Dark Mirror may be listed as young adult literature but it will be enjoyed by older adults as well. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Dark Mirror today. Ms. Putney is already hinting about a follow-up book or possibly two and this reviewer will be anxiously waiting for those releases. Dark Mirror was a terrific story and well-earned the Best Book rating. Originall posted at The Long and Short of It Romance Reviews.
Tawni More than 1 year ago
Dark Mirror was such a refreshing read. I loved the clear writing and the story line was unique and interesting, although there were a couple flaws for me, I still really enjoyed it! I LOVE history, so when I realized this is going to be filled with historical events I got so excited! Lady Victoria Mansfield, or Tory, lives in 1803 England around the time Napoleon Bonaparte planned to invade England. Tory's main concern though is to marry a wealthy man with a strong title, until she discovers she's a mage! When an accident happens at a gathering, she makes the choice to use her powers, visible or not, to fix the situation. When others find out what she is they are appalled and Tory is no longer eligible for a husband of a high status. She's sent off to a reform school to learn how to suppress her powers and possibly come back 'well'. While at Lackland Abbey, the reform school, Tory discovers that its much harder to suppress her powers when there are so many things she could do! Soon she finds herself wanting to use her power more and more and gets plunged into a situation that hardly anyone could believe. Tory is strong-willed, but I'm not sure she believed it herself, especially in the beginning. I enjoyed how Tory wasn't afraid to explore her powers and talent, despite the consequences. M.J. Putney really took the time to develop all of her characters. I felt like I knew each one so well and I wasn't asking myself questions about them or easily forgetting certain details. The only negative thing about this is that it was a really slow start. It took me a while to throw myself into the book. The romance was so perfect in this book. Its just the slightest hint and tease that I can't wait for more in the next book! I would have like to seen a bit more and maybe even earlier in the book, but I can't complain too much, because what romance there was was sweet! ;) Review based on ARC copy
The_BookishType More than 1 year ago
In DARK MIRROR, readers will feel as though they have fallen through time -- straight into 19th century England. M. J. Putney evokes the vibrant period with flair, bringing it to life before readers' eyes as she weaves magic into the very fabric of history. The age is fascinating in its own right, filled with social tension and political shifts, the threat of war and the perseverance of elegance -- it seems only fitting to throw true magic into the mix of an already magical time. The author's love of history is evident in the incredibly detailed accounts of not one, but two eras, pulling readers through time to the war-ravaged shores of WWII Europe. The eerie parallels between the Napoleonic Wars of Tory's time and the WWII battles she faces in the future are powerfully drawn, evoking unsettling questions about the ways in which history repeats itself. Though the setting steals the show, Tory proves to be a beauty with a backbone, demonstrating unwavering strength in the face of adversity. Her roommate Cynthia also sparks with life -- though not a truly villainous antagonist, her snarky remarks and emotional baggage make her a refreshing counterpart to Tory's poise. There are a wide range of other secondary characters, but Jack Rainford stands out from the start. Jack bursts hilariously onto the scene and I would have loved to see more of his mischief, rather than letting him fade into the background. Unfortunately, the other characters felt rather stiff and staged, making it difficult to connect with the romance that blossoms over the course of the novel. Nonetheless, readers will find themselves swept up in the whirlwind of fact and fantasy, enjoying the sights and sounds of two of history's richest periods. ~Review from thebookishtype[dot]blogspot[dot]com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome read!
alesi1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a lovely story that takes place in London, in the early 1800¿s. There is magic than only a number of people have and even less people accept.Victoria ¿Tory¿ is a young girl who was unaware of her abilities until she one day woke from her sleep and found her self floating over her bed. Tory is unable to keep her secret for long since a terrible incident forces Tory to use her powers and save her nephew from a deadly fall. Tory then finds herself being shipped out to a ¿Private¿ reform school that isolates its students and tries to have their magic abilities suppressed/controlled. Tory is heartbroken since her family did not think twice before they sent her away. Even her mother turned her back on her although Tory has the suspicion that her mother has magic abilities as well. Tory¿s only goal now is to get ¿better¿ and be accepted back in her family and previous life style.HOWEVER¿ Destiny has other plans for her and the school (Lackland Abbey) is not necessarily what it appears to be. It has secret underground activity that Tory is quickly accepted in to. During a raid to try and catch this secret activity Tory finds herself trapped in a dead end that only has a large mirror and no way out. Her pursuers are so close behind that she approached the mirror and tries to move the mirror and hide when¿ =SPOILER=SPOILER=SPOILER---------------------------------------------------------------------------------The story takes a 360 degree turn and she time travels. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I can¿t really say more because I would definitely be spoiling the book¿ I loved it. So many twists and turns in this story that I can¿t believe that it is only 304 pgs long. I definitely recommend and am absolutely on waiting list for second book¿ Is there going to be a second book? I hope there is.
foggidawn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Victoria Mansfield, a young lady of quality, is appalled to discover that she has inherited magical abilities from a great-grandmother. In Tory's world, magic is a strictly plebeian accomplishment, and any member of the aristocracy who exhibits magical aptitude is shunned by polite society. Tory, like many other young aristocratic mages, is sent to Lackland, a strict school where they can learn to control and suppress their magical tendencies, and so be fit to re-enter society. While there, Tory meets a group of students who are not interested in suppressing their magic, but instead meet in secret to learn how to wield their powers. These young mages hope to be able to help defend Britain against attack from Napoleon's troupes. Fleeing a raid on their secret meeting place, Tory stumbles upon a powerful magical artifact that transports her to a different time, where there is also great need for powerful magic.This book combines magic, time travel, romance, and adventure in just the right quantities. Tory is a believable, multifaceted character, conflicted about accepting her magical abilities, and yet strong in the face of danger to herself and her friends. Fans of fantasy, romance, and historical fiction are sure to enjoy this book.
DeeDee10 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I read the summary for this book I was quickly interested in knowing how the story would play out. I loved it! I love Victoria as a character and even the other girls and boys. I like the idea of mages using their powers to help and how others fear them. If you liked the Gemma Doyle series you will like this book because it does have that sad feel to it. This book is worth the time to read and a great break from the normal YA popular genres.
stephxsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lady Victoria ¿Tory¿ Mansfield lives in a Regency England where magic is commonplace but considered a shameful and degrading thing for aristocrats to possess. All nobles who are discovered to have come into magic are immediately sent to Lackland Abbey to get rid of their magic. But Lackland doesn¿t simply rid its students of their magic: it also offers a secret safe haven for those who wish to keep their magic and learn more. The decisions that Tory makes will whirl her across time and expand her conception of magic far beyond what she dreamed was possible.DARK MIRROR is a doozy of a novel. It seems to cover a little dash of every genre¿fantasy, historical fiction, science fiction, romance¿and while it doesn¿t fully develop the possibilities that these multiple genres allow, and used quite a few YA tropes to push its nonstop pace along, it was still overall a rollicking good read.DARK MIRROR focuses on plot over characterization. The book¿s synopsis says practically nothing about the plot, which made it an interesting reading experience for me because that practically never happens for me anymore. The pacing kept me engaged even through the less believable moments¿which occurred at greater and greater frequency as the story progressed.Why is that so? I think it might be because this book tried to take on so much. First it introduces us to an alternate-world Regency England where magic is common but considered ¿dirty blood¿ among the gentry. The explanations for how the magic worked were practically nonexistent, but it didn¿t bother me all that much once I readjusted my mental ¿targeted reader¿s age¿ to something much younger.But then, about two-thirds of the way through the book, we basically get introduced to a whole different set of characters, who know nothing about magic, and so in the span of, like, 20 pages Tory manages to explain and teach them magic. Call me picky, but that felt like a poorly rushed narrative decision. And there is not much I want to say about the ending, because by that point I was trying to hold in my laughter at how dramatic and contrived the plot had gotten. Not the kind of reaction a book wants to inspire in its reader.Tory and her friends are basically solid characters. Tory is a resilient protagonist, not annoying. Other than her, however, the supporting characters were relatively stock characters: you had your mean but troubled roommate; the jolly, though poor, male friend; the plucky little sister; and so on. The thoroughly undeveloped romance that gets thrown into the story kind of randomly felt entirely like someone had said, ¿This is YA; it needs a romance¿ and so plunked the moody handsome guy in. And, as most of you know by now, that is not okay by my book.So DARK MIRROR is not high-quality literature. It employs a few too many clichéd YA elements for me to truly enjoy it. But I think that younger readers who¿ve enjoyed Libba Bray¿s or Tiffany Trent¿s gothic YA historical fantasy series might delight in this exciting and fast-paced story.
readingdate on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dark Mirror is the first book in a unique new YA series by M.J. Putney. It is a historical about magic that also explores time travel. Along with a bit of romance, this book has it all! Tory has just discovered she is a witch and uses her new powers to save a young boy's life. Rather than be grateful, her family sends her away to an exclusive sorcery school so that she can learn to stifle her powers. In the beginning she wants to be cured, but soon is intrigued to learn more about her new powers. She suddenly finds herself on a new adventure when she stumbles through a magical time travel mirror 100 years in the future. How will she return to her life?This book starts out a bit slow, but I was soon caught up in the story and found myself quickly turning the pages. I thought the historical aspect was fascinating. It is interesting to see the world through Tory's eyes as she travels in time and to see her character growth.The magical aspect is compelling and it is interesting to see the different powers her classmates possess. I'm curious to find out what happens in the sequel, due out later this year. Fans of paranormal, romance, fantasy and historical fiction should give this unique new series a try.
thebookwormsorg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dark Mirror was such a refreshing read. I loved the clear writing and the story line was unique and interesting, although there were a couple flaws for me, I still really enjoyed it!I LOVE history, so when I realized this is going to be filled with historical events I got so excited! Lady Victoria Mansfield, or Tory, lives in 1803 England around the time Napoleon Bonaparte planned to invade England. Tory¿s main concern though is to marry a wealthy man with a strong title, until she discovers she¿s a mage!When an accident happens at a gathering, she makes the choice to use her powers, visible or not, to fix the situation. When others find out what she is they are appalled and Tory is no longer eligible for a husband of a high status. She¿s sent off to a reform school to learn how to suppress her powers and possibly come back `well¿.While at Lackland Abbey, the reform school, Tory discovers that its much harder to suppress her powers when there are so many things she could do! Soon she finds herself wanting to use her power more and more and gets plunged into a situation that hardly anyone could believe.Tory is strong-willed, but I¿m not sure she believed it herself, especially in the beginning. I enjoyed how Tory wasn¿t afraid to explore her powers and talent, despite the consequences.M.J. Putney really took the time to develop all of her characters. I felt like I knew each one so well and I wasn¿t asking myself questions about them or easily forgetting certain details. The only negative thing about this is that it was a really slow start. It took me a while to throw myself into the book.The romance was so perfect in this book. Its just the slightest hint and tease that I can¿t wait for more in the next book! I would have like to seen a bit more and maybe even earlier in the book, but I can¿t complain too much, because what romance there was was sweet! ;) Review based on ARC copy
readinggeek451 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Pleasant YA fantasy, in a pre-Regency England where the aristocracy has taken a dislike of magic. Sixteen-year-old Tory discovers to her dismay that she is a mage, and is packed off to Lackland Academy, a grim school where magic is locked away. But the labyrinth under the ancient abbey holds secrets, including a mirror through time. Awaiting invasion in their own time, Tory and her friends may be able to avert disaster in the future as well.Putney's roots as a romance novelist show in the subplot, but this is a YA, so the romance is given short shrift. It's still a satisfying read, and I look forward to the sequel.To avoid spoilers, don't read the dedication page.
lms8esmith on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When Tory's magical talents are exposed to her family and friends, she is sent to Lackland Abbey to be cured of her magic. Once she enters the abbey, she quickly realizes how talented she truly is, and she is introduced to a secret society of mages. These mages are supposed to be learning how to control their magical abilities, but what if they were actually learning how to enhace their abilities? How would society accept them? Tory is forced to decide if she will accept her abilities or leave them to be squashed by society, along with a budding romance to spice things up. I loved Tory's character and secretly wished I were able to perform magic likes does. I would definitely recommend this to my students and other young adult readers! :O)
millett23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. I like going into the future and using their magic to help the ancestors. I like Tory and the strong leader that she became. The ending did seem to leave you at a deadend, I was left wondering what happened after the fact. What happened to Tory and Justin and their life of magic. Butu overall this was a great book.
idroskicinia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My thoughts:Wow! When I started reading the first pages of this book, I didn¿t know what I'd find, but I was glad to leave behind the vampires, angels, and all mythical beings and all dystopian stories. The plot is full of magic, fantasy, romance, historical data, and unexpected twists that kept me biting my fingernails and unable to stop reading. I'm serious! I really enjoyed this book! Sometimes the story was too fast, specially at the beginning, and sometimes was a little bit slow¿ and also there were parts that left me open-mouthed.The characters were really nice. In many books I have read, the secondary characters have been less prominent. But in this case the author has brought us consistent characters, hard to forget them.CONCLUSION: I love pretty covers, but sometimes, these books are not as good as they seem to be. To my delight, this book, with a beautiful cover, turned out to be great. Highly recommended to all fans of magical and historical stories. With romance, of course!Four Stars: I really like it!
BrandisBookMusings on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dark Mirror is a wonderful new young adult novel from M.J. Putney. Lady "Tory" has been revealed as a mage. Magic is unacceptable to England's ton and reserved for commoners. She is sent to Lackland Abbey to be reformed into a magicless young miss fit for society. Here she discovers what it is like to accept her true self, make friends, love, and to sacrifice for the love of her country's present and future. This mix of magic, history, and love is a truly winning combination. Dark Mirror will hook book lovers and reluctant readers alike, and hopefully inspire a curiosity of the two time periods visited.
Jenson_AKA_DL on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In an alternate victorian time aristocrates ostracise their own when it is discovered that they have commoners reviled magic powers. Lady Victoria Mansfield is distraught when she finds herself floating above her bed and is subsequently shipped off to Lackland Abbey, where she is to be cured of her curse. Instead she finds a calling more powerful than shame and an adventure she could have never dreamed of.This was a very imaginative story that I enjoyed. The tale of Miss Mansfield was well told and reminded me a bit of Caroline Cooney's "Beyond Time" series, except that I liked these characters more than Cooney's. I do think that this story could have taken a few different directions...it could have just been a victorian boarding school tale, rather like the Harry Potter mixed with the House of Night series but the extra twist midway through which lead Tory on her adventure took the story on a rather unexpected bent. There were a few disappointments, one of which was a small mystery that was never explained.* Also, the secondary characters, although interesting, didn't get quite as developed as I would have liked to see.However, overall I did find the story engrossing and the characters generally appealing. I'd recommend this story to middle school and up students who would enjoy a little history mixed in with the paranormal bent.*more on the mystery in my comments section to avoid any overt spoilers.
MyBookishWays on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
M.J. Putney¿s debut YA novel is an absolute delight that I devoured in one sitting! When 16 year old Lady Victoria ¿Tory¿ Mansfield¿s magic powers are exposed during a life or death situation, she is exiled to Lackland Abbey, where mages are said to be ¿cured¿ so they can return to their wealthy families to regain a small semblance of their dignity. In 1803, magic use is frowned upon by the upper echelons, while the middle and lower class thinks nothing of using powers they consider a privilege to have. Once at Lackland, Tory discovers a group of rebels determined to develop their magic so they may be of service to England during the threat of invasion from Napolean¿s forces. When she joins with this courageous group of students, she will learn what it means to be needed, and realizes that the home and life she hoped to return to may not be her destiny.Dark Mirror was such a great read, and Ms. Putney adds an exciting twist that will keep you turning the pages until the very end. Full of magic, adventure, and a dash of romance, against a lush 19th century setting, and the chaos of WWII England, Dark Mirror will please readers of all ages. Tory is a delight, and I loved getting to know her new friends at Lackland Abbey. I¿m notoriously picky when it comes to YA, and I loved it!
storiesandsweeties on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Let me just start by saying this: I loved this book. The description does not even begin to do it justice or even skim the surface of what this one is about! Not only is it a brilliant story of magic and prejudice and time travel, but the historical part of this is the real gem. We get a sort of two-for-one deal here. Most historical time travel stories, at least one of the times visited is modern times. With Dark Mirror, you get a taste of both the 1800s and the 1940s, two war-stricken eras and that plays a big part in the story. The detail put into each time period was impressive, I can only imagine the amount of research time the author put in to really make each surrounding come alive the way it did.The characters were another strong point. I loved the main character, Tory. Her decision at the beginning of the story is noble and brave, despite the fact that she knows it could possibly ruin the rest of her life. I loved the fact that when everyone she knew turned on her, there was very little self-pity---she was sad but basically said "screw em'!" (in the most proper and ladylike way that a victorian lady could, of course!) if they wanted to turn their backs on her for something that was not her fault, so be it. I was glad that she never regretted the act that led to her exile. I also loved Elspeth, the first girl Tory meets at reform school, Lackland Abbey. Her attitude toward being a sort of outcast at the school is perfect. And of course, there is Allarde. Noble and gentlemanly, with a quiet air of mystery about him. Lots of supporting characters and each was very well written. I loved how, after being abandoned by their own families, they all pull together to make their own self-made family, brought together by their desire to use their forbidden powers to save lives in times of war.This story didn't let up for one minute, I was completely enchanted all the way through. It felt like being in the world of Jane Austen with a healthy dose of magic and time-travel thrown in. And then you experience a little of the fear and desperation of the battle of Dunkirk. I can only imagine where this story might go in the next books in this series---the possiblities are endless!
IceyBooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I expected great things from MJ Putney's YA debut - magic, history, and of course, action. It provided me with the first, the second, but not enough of the third. I was mostly drawn to Dark Mirror because of its cover and the fact that its both historical fiction and a debut. I read mixed reviews, many that mentioned loads of action. I felt pretty disappointed by the lack of it. Tory, or Lady Victoria Mansfield, is the youngest daughter in a wealthy, aristocratic family. Decades ago, magic was declared lowly, and looked down upon by the high folk. So when Tory discovers that "filthy" magic flows in her blood, she knows she must keep it a secret - or lose everything she has. A near-tragic event suddenly befalls Tory, and she has to decide - save one life, or keep her magic a secret. Her decision ends up with her family and friends disowning her, and the life she knew, being yanked away from her. Tory is sent to Lackland Abbey, where they will help her learn magical control and lock away her powers forever. Tory wants just that, so she can return to her home and try to restore her old life. But everything changes when she stumbles upon a group of rebels who actually embrace their magical abilities. Soon, Tory finds herself in the middle of a storm. Its up to her to decide, once again, whether to hide her magic, or embrace it for the sake of her country. The storyline is as unique and intriguing as it can get. The story itself, however, was dragging in some areas, yet left out details in areas where I needed description the most. I felt that Tory asked too many questions, and that her answers were given too soon, leaving her no need to find things out on her own. I guess my main issue with Dark Mirror was the writing style. To me, the writing wasn't developed as much, and even in areas where the reader can obviously guess what's happening, there's an explanation or dialogue. Its pretty difficult to explain, but that's the best way for me to put it! After much debate, I've decided to give Dark Mirror 3 stars. I expected too much out of it, and the beginning promised my expectations to ring through, but as I continued, I began to get more and more disappointed. However, like I said above, the plot is very unique, which is why I picked up the book in the first place! -Would I recommend this to anyone? Probably ages 12 and up -Is there a second book? Yes -Will I be looking forward to book two? Not as much as I'd like. I love the cover, its another reason why I was drawn to the book. After reading the book, I've noticed that almost every part of it represents the story, from the mirror, to the girl's clothes on both sides!
lizard_698959 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
this book was a very good start to a new series which I'm assuming it will be since our heroine is still at Lackland Abby in the end of the book. The story is a comming of age novel set in england in the 1800's with a special twist there is magic a foot and not everyone is supposed to use it. The English nobles are strictly forbidden to use magic. It has been set that any noble child caught using magic will be sent to Lackland Abyee to be cured and have all magic removed. Tory the heroine of this book finds out that she has magic and must be sent to Lackland Abby to have the magic taint removed. Through a sting of events the characters are comming to learn that they may not want there magic to be remove which will pitt them against the administration at the abby and there own families. I think I will very much like to see what exactly come from these characters in the future I will absolutly be tuning in for future books by this author. : )
kmartin802 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Putney's young adult debut combines historical fiction, magic, romance and time travel and does it very well. Tory is the youngest daughter of an Earl. When it is discovered that she has magic, she is exiled to Lackland Abbey to be cured. Aristocrats hate magic. Once there she gains a different perspective on her magic when she meets other students who are trying to learn to use theirs for England's gain. She also meets town people who have always embraced their magic. She travels in time to the future and to a time that is in great need of her magical abilities. This was entertaining and engaging. This one does not end on a cliffhanger but the second book comes out in September.
Coranne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have been reading about this book for months, and I finally sat down to read it. Dark Mirror has gotten great reviews online. After the last historical paranormal book I read and the disappointing experience I had, I was excited to redeem myself. This book didn't start well for me. The first two chapters were incredibly rushed and I felt as though I was being told things that happened the character rather than reading a story. I stuck with the story, hoping it would turn around. It did turn around for me. As Tory began the plot line of attending Lackland Abbey, the author hit her stride. There was character development, a budding love interest, and an exciting plot. Sadly, then the book took a very big downhill dive. The focus was no longer on Tory and how she was slowly learning about her skills. Rather, it became a time travel plot line with our Victorian heroes fighting the Nazis. And suddenly, Tory knew so much about her own powers and everyone else's that she took on the role of teacher to the new characters in the 1940s. Now I read some pretty far out books that require a ton of suspension of disbelief, however, this went far beyond my ability to wrap my head around. Perhaps if the author had used this plot as the second book in the series.... or even added another 100 pages. I find it baffling that suddenly Tory knew everything and was time traveling. The romance also pained me at this point. The language that Tory's love interest used was pretty (to put it as tactfully as possible), unbelievable. It was far too flowery, far too formal, and didn't fit the language of the rest of the book.
MrsMich02 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nicely original story from Mary Jo. Looking forward to picking up the next book in the series, Dark Passage.
AyleeArgh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In short: Unfortunately, Dark Mirror by M.J. Putney was unable to capture my interest and somehow managed to make even magic lame and boring.Magic plus time travel. Can't go wrong, right? Unfortunately, much to my surprise and dismay, Dark Mirror by M.J. Putney didn't work for me. It was an amalgamation of things that didn't work but ultimately, I was bored. I couldn't bring myself to care about any of the characters or the plot. Nothing inspired any stirrings of interest; if I was the type to DNF books, I would've done so within the first 50 pages of Dark Mirror.The magical abilities that Tory and her friends have weren't even interesting, which I didn't think was possible. Talk about some of the lamest magical powers ever. One guy is an expert at moving clouds around; one girl specializes in heating things; one guy is particularly good at finding things. LAME. And they seriously thought they were going to be able to take on Napoleon's army with these powers? Don't get me wrong, it's noble and all that they want to fight for England, but they were clearly delusional.I disliked the writing as well but I'm not sure I could put into words exactly what didn't work for me. It seemed a bit amateurish, though I know that's not true because M.J. Putney is a fairly experienced author. I guess I thought the writing was too simple and bare. I'm not saying I need writing to be extremely flowery and detailed all the time, but I like to be able to experience more fully the surroundings, the plot elements, and the characters' personalities than Dark Mirror allowed me.One thing that I was impressed by was the setting: not one, but two historical settings were involved, 1803 and WWII. M.J. Putney demonstrates a great amount of knowledge of the eras, though I would've preferred had she not stated this knowledge so matter of factly in the novel. If she had interwoven the historical information more seamlessly into the plot (something that Rick Yancey, author of The Monstrumologist Series, does very well), then I would've been truly impressed.