Kat, Incorrigible

Kat, Incorrigible

by Stephanie Burgis, Barnaby Ward


View All Available Formats & Editions
Usually ships within 6 days


Now in paperback, the first installment of a Regency era trilogy starring a feisty heroine with a taste for adventure.

Twelve-year-old Katherine Ann Stephenson has just discovered that she’s inherited her late mother’s magical talents, and despite Stepmama’s stern objections, she’s determined to learn how to use them. But with her eldest sister Elissa’s intended fiancé, the sinister Sir Neville, showing a dangerous interest in Kat’s magical potential; her other sister, Angeline, wreaking romantic havoc with her own witchcraft; and a highwayman lurking in the forest, Kat’s reckless heroism will be tested to the utmost. If she can learn to control her new powers, will Kat be able to rescue her family and win her sisters their true loves?

In this charming blend of Jane Austen–era culture, magical whimsy, and rollicking adventure, readers will find a true friend in the refreshingly unladylike Kat Stephenson.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416994473
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 04/05/2011
Series: Kat, Incorrigible Series , #1
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
Lexile: 740L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

Stephanie Burgis grew up in East Lansing, Michigan, but fell in love with Regency England when she discovered the novels of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. The author of Kat, Incorrigible; Renegade Magic; and Stolen Magic; she decided to be a writer when she was seven and sold her first short story when she was fifteen. Stephanie lives with her husband, fellow writer Patrick Samphire, their son, and their dog in Wales. Visit her at StephanieBurgis.com.

Read an Excerpt


I was twelve years of age when I chopped off my hair, dressed as a boy, and set off to save my family from impending ruin.

I made it almost to the end of my front garden.

“Katherine Ann Stephenson!” My oldest sister Elissa’s outraged voice pinned me like a dagger as she threw open her bedroom window. “What on earth do you think you’re doing?”

Curses. I froze, still holding my pack slung across my shoulder. I might be my family’s best chance of salvation, but there was no expecting either of my older sisters to understand that. If they’d trusted me in the first place, I wouldn’t have had to run away in the middle of the night, like a criminal.

The garden gate was only two feet ahead of me. If I hurried . . .

“I’m going to tell Papa!” Elissa hissed.

Behind her, I heard groggy, incoherent moans of outrage—my other sister, Angeline, waking up.

Elissa was the prissiest female ever to have been born. But Angeline was simply impossible. If they really did wake the whole household, and Papa came after me in the gig . . .

I’d planned to walk to the closest coaching inn, six miles away, and catch the dawn stagecoach to London. If Papa caught up with me first, the sad, disappointed looks I’d have to endure from him for weeks afterward would be unbearable. And the way Stepmama would gloat over my disgrace—the second of our mother’s children to be a disappointment to the family . . .

I gritted my teeth together as I turned and trudged back toward the vicarage.

Angeline’s voice floated lazily through the open window. “What were you shouting about?”

“I was not shouting!” Elissa snapped. “Ladies never shout.”

“You could have fooled me,” said Angeline. “I thought the house must have been burning down.”

I pushed the side door open just in time to hear my brother, Charles, bellow, “Would everyone be quiet? Some of us are trying to sleep!”

“What? What?” My father’s reedy voice sounded from his bedroom at the head of the stairs. “What’s going on out there?”

My stepmother’s voice overrode his. “For heaven’s sake, make them be quiet, George! It’s past midnight. You cannot let them constantly behave like hoydens. Be firm, for once!”

I groaned and closed the door behind me.

Like it or not, I was home.

I squeezed through the narrow kitchen and tiptoed up the rickety staircase that led to the second floor. When I was a little girl and Mama’s influence still lingered in the house, each of the stairs had whispered my name as I stepped onto them, and they never let me trip. Now, the only sound they made was the telltale creak of straining wood.

The door to Papa and Stepmama’s room swung open as I reached the head of the first flight of stairs, and I stopped, resigned.

“Kat?” Papa blinked out at me, peering through the darkness. He held a candle in his hand. “What’s amiss?”

“Nothing, Papa,” I said. “I just went downstairs for some milk.”

“Oh. Well.” He coughed and ran a hand over his faded nightcap. “Er, your stepmother is quite right. You should all be in bed and quiet at this hour.”

“Yes, Papa.” I hoisted the heavy sack higher on my shoulder. “I’m just going back to bed now.”

“Good, good. And the others?”

“I’ll tell them to be quiet,” I said. “Don’t worry.”

“Good girl.” He reached out to pat my shoulder. A frown crept across his face. “Ah . . . is something wrong, my dear?”


“I don’t mean to be critical, er, but your clothing seems . . . it appears . . . well, it does look a trifle unorthodox.”

I glanced down at the boy’s breeches, shirt, and coat that I wore. “I was too cold for a nightgown,” I said.

“But . . .” He frowned harder. “There’s something about your hair, I don’t quite know what—”

My stepmother’s voice cut him off. “Would you please stop talking and come back to bed, George? I cannot be expected to sleep with all this noise!”

“Ah. Right. Yes, of course.” Papa gave a quick nod and turned away. “Sleep well, Kat.”

“And you, sir.”

I tiptoed up the last five steps that led to the second-floor landing. The doors to Charles’s room and my sisters’ room were both closed. If I was very, very lucky . . .

I leaped toward the ladder that led up to the attic where I slept.

No such luck. The door to my sisters’ room jerked open.

“Come in here now!” Elissa said. I couldn’t make out her features in the darkness, but I could tell that she had her arms crossed.

Oh, Lord.

“‘Ladies don’t cross their arms like common fish-wives,’” I whispered, quoting one of Elissa’s own favorite maxims as I stalked past her into their room.

Elissa slammed the door behind her.

“Give us light, Angeline,” she said. “I want to see her face.”

Angeline was already lighting a candle. When the tinder finally caught and the candle lit, the sound of my sisters’ gasps filled the room.

I crossed my arms over my chest and glared right back at them.

“You—you—” Elissa couldn’t even speak. She collapsed onto her side of the bed, gasping and pressing one slender hand to her heart.

Angeline shook her head, smirking. “Well, that’s torn it.”

“Don’t use slang,” Elissa said. Being able to give one of her most common reproofs seemed to revive her spirits a little; the color came flooding back into her face. With her fair hair and pale skin, I could always tell her mood from her face, and right now, she was as horrified as I’d ever seen her. She took a deep, deep breath. “Katherine,” she said, in a voice that was nearly steady. “Would you care to explain yourself to us?”

“No,” I said. “I wouldn’t.” I lifted my chin, fighting for height. I was shorter than either of my sisters, a curse in situations like this.

“What is there to explain?” Angeline said. “It’s obvious. Kat’s finally decided to run off to the circus, where she belongs.”

“I do not!”

“No?” Angeline’s full lips twisted as she looked at me. “With that haircut, I don’t know where else you hoped to go. Perhaps if you hid behind all the other animals—”

“Shut up!” I lunged for her straight across the room.

Their bed was in the way. I hit my knees on it, then flung aside my sack and crawled across the bed to get to her. Angeline’s taunting laughter made my vision blur with rage. I landed on her, punching blindly, and kept on fighting even after she’d shoved me down onto the bed and wrapped her arm around my neck, half strangling me.

“Stop it!” Elissa shrieked.

Something heavy hit the other side of the wall: Charles signifying his displeasure. Across the stairwell, a door opened. Footsteps approached. A firm knock sounded on the door.

We all froze. We knew that knock.

“You’ve done it now, haven’t you?” Angeline whispered into my ear.

“Cow,” I whispered back.

“What’s happening in there?” our stepmother demanded, through the door.

Angeline shoved me off the bed and onto the floor. When I tried to stand up, she put one hand on my newly short hair and pushed me straight back down. “Stay where you are!” she hissed. “She mustn’t see you like this.” She looked across the bed at Elissa. “You try to fob her off.”

Elissa was already moving for the door, her face suddenly angelic and serene. “I’m coming, Stepmama,” she called. “Just a moment.” She stopped just short of the door and whispered, “Put that light out! Quick!”

Angeline blew the candle out and threw herself back into bed, pulling the covers up to her chin.

I huddled on the cold floor in the darkness while Elissa opened the door.

“What do you think—”

“We are so sorry for the noise, Stepmama,” Elissa murmured. “Angeline had a fright and fell out of bed.”

“All that screaming . . .” Stepmama’s voice drew nearer. I could imagine what was happening, even though I couldn’t see it: She was poking her sharp nose into the room, peering around in hopes of mischief. It was her never-ending quest: to prove to Papa how incorrigible we all were. Just like our mother had been.

“Angeline had a terrible nightmare,” Elissa said, and I was amazed by how well my saintly sister could lie when she was properly motivated.

“Perhaps I should come in and look things over,” Stepmama said.

“Ohhh . . . ,” Angeline moaned from the bed. Angeline, unlike Elissa, never found any difficulty in lying. “Oh, my poor stomach . . .”

Stepmama sighed and started forward. “If you’re ill, I’d better—”

“I was ill,” Angeline said. “All over the floor.”

“Oh.” Stepmama came to an abrupt halt. “Where—?”

“Do watch where you step,” Elissa said sweetly. “I haven’t had a chance to clean it up quite yet, so—”

Stepmama’s feet shuffled back hastily. “Well,” she said. “Well. I’m sure that you’ll feel better after a good night’s sleep, Angeline. But see that you girls take care of the mess first. And no more noise!”

The door closed, and her footsteps moved away. I stayed frozen until her bedroom door had opened and closed again on the other side of the stairwell. As I finally moved, my hand slipped on the wooden floor and slid across two familiar, oddly shaped books hidden just beneath the bed.

I knew those books. They weren’t supposed to be here. They were supposed to be locked away with the rest of our mother’s keepsakes, where Papa and Stepmama hoped we would all forget that they had ever existed. Just like Mama herself.

I started to pick them up, then stopped. Now wasn’t the time to ask either of my sisters provocative questions.

“Whew.” I stood up and stretched to relieve my cramped muscles as Angeline relit the candle. “Well, I’d better go up to bed and sleep now, as Stepmama said, so—”

“Don’t even think about it,” said Angeline. Her arm shot out and grabbed the back of my jacket, pinning me to the side of the bed. “Open up her pack, Elissa. Let’s see what Kat was planning to take away with her.”

“I’m not a thief,” I muttered.

Angeline threw me a look of amused contempt. “I never thought you were, ninny. I just wondered what sort of practical provisioning you’d made to prepare for your journey.”

“Journey?” Elissa said. Her voice came out in a gasp. “What journey?”

“Oh, for heaven’s sake,” said Angeline. “What else did you think she was doing, dressed up as a boy and heading out in the middle of the night? She was running away, weren’t you, Kat?”

I gritted my teeth and stood silent under her grasp.

“You couldn’t—why—” Elissa collapsed onto the bed. “Whatever would make you do such a thing? How could you even think—?”

“I didn’t have a choice!” The words burst out between my gritted teeth. “It was the only way I could stop you from being an idiot!”

“Me?” Elissa stared at me.

“If you’re trying to fool us with one of your wild stories—,” Angeline began.

I glowered at her. “And you. You were going to let her do it!”

“Do what?” said Elissa. “What is she talking about?”

“I heard Stepmama!” I said to Elissa. “She was positively gloating about it to Papa. All about how she’d managed to save the whole family by selling you off to some horrible old man. And you hadn’t even told me! You two never tell me anything! I knew if I tried to argue, you wouldn’t pay any attention, so—”

“Oh, Lord,” Angeline said. “I knew if she found out—”

“At least I was going to do something about it.” I swung on Angeline. “You were just going to let her sacrifice herself.”

“And what exactly was your plan?” Angeline asked. “Once you’d fitted yourself out like a monkey—”

“I was going to London,” I said. “I knew if I ran away, there would be such a scandal that Stepmama wouldn’t be able to sell Elissa off. And once I was there . . .” I half closed my eyes, to see my dream past my sister’s skeptical face. “There are thousands of jobs a boy can get in London. I could sign on to a merchant ship and make my fortune in the Indies, or I could be a typesetter at a newspaper and see every part of London. All I’d have to do is get work, real work, earning money, and then I could send part of it home to you two, so at least you could both have real dowries and then—”

“Oh, you little fool,” Elissa said, and the words came out in a half sob. “Come here, Kat.” Angeline let go of me, and I crawled over the bed to Elissa’s warm embrace. She wrapped her arms around me, and I felt her tears land on my short hair. “Promise me you won’t ever do anything so rash and unnecessary ever again.”

“But—” My voice came out muffled against her nightgown.

Angeline spoke from behind me. “How long do you think you would have survived in London on your own, idiot? And who do you think would have hired you, coming from the countryside with no references, no one who knows you to give you a good word, no skills or experience—”

“I have skills!” I said.

“Not the sort that get young men hired,” Angeline said implacably. “And when they found out you weren’t really a boy . . .”

Elissa shuddered and tightened her arms around me. “It isn’t to be thought of,” she said. “The danger you would have been exposed to—”

“The danger she would have walked straight into, without even thinking twice,” Angeline corrected her.

“I could have taken care of myself,” I said. “Charles taught me how to box and fence last year when he was sent down from Oxford for bad behavior.”

“Charles is a fool,” said Angeline, “and I wouldn’t be surprised if he isn’t half as good at boxing or fencing as he claims to be.”

The three of us sat for a moment in depressed silence, acknowledging the truth of that.

Elissa sighed. “But the point is, darling, it isn’t necessary for you to save me.”

“Who else is going to do it?” I struggled up out of her embrace. “I am not going to let you sell yourself off just so Stepmama can buy us all dozens of new gowns and seasons in London and—”

“And keep our brother from being sent to debtors’ prison,” Angeline said evenly.

I snorted. “You should know better than to listen to Stepmama’s moans. She’s just hysterical about—”

“It’s true,” said Elissa. “I saw the evidence myself. Papa borrowed everything he could to pay off Charles’s dreadful gambling debts, but he couldn’t cover all of them. If we can’t come up with the money to pay the rest within two months, poor Charles will have to go to debtors’ prison.”

“‘Poor Charles,’ my foot,” said Angeline. “Going to debtors’ prison is exactly what Charles deserves.”

I looked from Angeline to Elissa. “But surely—”

“If Charles goes to debtors’ prison, we will all be ruined,” Elissa said. “None of us would ever receive an eligible offer of marriage after that. You know our family is already considered . . . well . . .” She bit her lip.

“I know,” I said. Stepmama was only too ready to remind us, anytime one of us forgot. There were plenty of people in Society who would always look at us askance just because of our mother, no matter how properly we behaved or what our dowries were. It was one reason why I had decided long ago not to bother behaving properly. “But that can’t be enough to make you marry an old man! Whoever he is.”

“Sir Neville Collingwood,” Angeline said. “One of the wealthiest men in England. You can see why Stepmama chose him, can’t you?”

“He’s not so very old, Kat,” Elissa said. She clasped her hands together and looked down at them. “I don’t think he can be above forty, and—”


“And Stepmama says he is supposed to be quite handsome.”

“Supposed to be? She hasn’t even met him herself?”

“We’ve been very fortunate even to gain this one opportunity.” Elissa’s voice sounded strained. “Stepmama has good relations, you know.”

“Ha,” I said.

“Well, she has connections, at any rate,” Elissa said. “It was through them that she found out that Sir Neville is coming into Yorkshire—and that she arranged for us to meet him.”

“Sir Neville will be part of a monthlong house party at Grantham Abbey, thirty miles from here,” Angeline said briskly. “Stepmama has arranged for all of us to be guests there as well, because everyone knows that Sir Neville is looking for another wife.”

“Another?” I repeated. “What happened to his first one?”

“That doesn’t matter,” Elissa said. She was knotting her fingers so tightly together now that her knuckles had turned white. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for me. For all of us. Sir Neville is . . . he is . . .”

“He is so wealthy, he could pay off all Charles’s debts for the rest of his life, without even noticing,” Angeline said. “And since Papa and Stepmama can’t keep Charles locked up in the house forever, it makes a great deal of sense for at least one of us to have a husband like that.”

“I don’t mind, Kat. Truly,” Elissa said. “I always wanted to marry a man who could help my family. Sir Neville is a great man in Society.”

I frowned at her. “Then why do you look so miserable?”

“Never mind that.” Angeline put one hand on Elissa’s knotted fingers, and for a moment I felt completely shut out as they looked at each other with sympathetic understanding.

“What is it?” I said. “What aren’t you telling me this time?”

“Nothing, darling,” Elissa said. “Just go up to bed now. We’re all too tired to talk properly. Come back in the morning before breakfast, and I’ll fix your hair. And please, don’t worry about me anymore. I am perfectly happy. Truly.”

“But . . .” I stood up slowly, still frowning at my two sisters and trying to guess the secret I could feel hanging between them. “If you marry Sir Neville, do you think he’ll give Angeline a dowry?”

“I hope so,” said Elissa.

“It doesn’t matter whether he does or not,” Angeline said, and flashed me a dangerous smile. “I have my own plans for that.”

Ha. At least that gave me one clue.

Perhaps Angeline and Elissa wanted to play at keeping more secrets from me, but I would wager anything that there was one secret Angeline hadn’t dared to share with our sweet, proper oldest sister.

I’d recognized the books hidden underneath Angeline’s side of the bed. They were Mama’s old magic books.

Now all I had to do was figure out what Angeline was planning to do with them.

If my plan had worked, I would have woken upthe next morning in a stagecoach heading toward London, with a whole new life waiting to unfold before me. I would have breakfasted on apples and cheese with the passengers around me, heard all their stories, and been halfway adopted as an honorary nephew into all their families by the time we reached London.

Instead, I had to face my own family.

I walked into the breakfast room at eight o’clock, and Stepmama’s jaw fell wide open, exposing a mouthful of mashed toast.

“Katherine Ann Stephenson!” she uttered in a dreadful tone. “Whatever have you done to your hair?”

I dipped a curtsy to Papa and made my way to the sideboard, where bread and jam and kippers were laid out. “I like it,” I said. I did, too, especially now that Elissa had straightened out the crooked edges. After one morning without the bother of hairpins, I was ready to keep my hair short for life.

“I thought something was different,” Papa said, with quiet satisfaction. “Good morning, dear.”

“George!” Stepmama flung down her napkin. “For heaven’s sake. Your daughter has just chopped off all her hair. Is ‘I thought something was different’ really all you can say?”

“Not all her hair, surely.” Papa peered up at me from behind his book. “Ah, no. No, there’s still a bit left. It’s rather . . .” He frowned thoughtfully. “It’s rather boyish, actually.”

“Quite,” Stepmama said. “That is exactly my point. Aren’t you going to ask her how she could do such a thing without even asking your permission?”

Papa said tentatively, “Did you ask my permission, Kat?”

“Kat’s new haircut is quite stylish, don’t you think?” Elissa said softly. “She looks just like the model in the Mirror of Fashion now.”

“But with a rather higher-cut décolletage,” Angeline said dryly. Mischief sparked in her eyes as she slid a glance at our stepmother. “What did you think of that latest style, ma’am?”

“Oh!” Stepmama shook her head. “None of my stepdaughters will ever appear in public with such low-cut gowns as I saw in that journal. It is absolutely shocking what young ladies in London nowadays are up to. In my day . . .”

“Shocking indeed,” Angeline murmured, and winked at me.

You might have thought, if you didn’t know my sisters, that I could have just asked Angeline straight out about Mama’s magic books.

But I knew better. If Angeline even suspected that I knew about the books, she would find them a new and better hiding place before I could even get the question out of my mouth. Then she’d devise one of her diabolically cunning punishments for my nosiness, and that was the last thing I wanted. No, I’d have to work the mystery out for myself.

Luckily, Stepmama took Elissa and Angeline out directly after breakfast to shop for fabric for new gowns—to impress Sir Neville, I supposed. There was only enough room in the gig for two people to travel with her to the fabric shop in the village, and no one asked if I wanted to be one of them. They knew better.

As soon as the gig rattled out of sight, I hurtled upstairs, hiking up my skirts and taking the creaking old steps two at a time. Charles let out a groggy roar from his room at the noise, but I ignored him. I headed straight for Angeline and Elissa’s bedroom.

They ought to be gone for at least two hours. But if anything went wrong . . . I imagined Angeline’s expression if she caught me reading the books. I shuddered.

I would have to hurry.

I darted into the room and over the bed to Angeline’s side. When I passed my hand underneath, all I felt was the bare wooden floor. Where had they gone?

I lay down to peer under the bed. Aha. She’d only pushed the books deeper in. I wriggled underneath, choking on dust, and emerged a moment later, holding them both. Victory!

A sneeze caught me by surprise. Then another one. I almost dropped the books. When I finally stopped sneezing, I glanced down and groaned. I was completely covered in dust, all the way across the front of my white gown. If Stepmama saw me like this, she’d throw a fit. And if Angeline saw me . . .

If Angeline saw me, she would know exactly what I had been up to. Curse her! Had she planned it this way? No, surely not—even Angeline couldn’t be that devious. But still, whether she’d planned this warning system or not, I knew I’d just lost half an hour from my reading time. First I’d have to put the books back exactly where I’d found them. Then I’d have to change my gown and wash the telltale dust from this one, all before the others came home from their shopping trip.

I gritted my teeth and ran out of the room before I could lose any more time.

I didn’t go to my own windowless attic room. That wouldn’t be nearly safe enough. Instead I hurried back downstairs and out the back door, heading for my favorite lookout spot—the old oak tree behind the vicarage, overlooking the graveyard. From my perch in the tree, I’d be able to spot Stepmama’s gig from half a mile off as it came circling back up the winding road from the village.

I clambered up the wide, knobbly trunk and settled comfortably into the crook of one of the big central branches. My legs dangled in the air, and I kicked off my shoes, letting them fall to the grass. Through the ground-floor window of the vicarage, I could see Papa reading one of his hundreds of old books. A fresh breeze ruffled the leaves of the oak tree and set the yew trees in the graveyard to swaying gently. The road beyond was empty beneath the bright blue summer sky.

I adjusted my shoulders against the rough bark of the tree trunk and opened the first book.

A Diary of Magick, I read, in looping purple handwriting. Olivia Amberson’s Own Book.

Amberson had been Mama’s maiden name. That was one of the only things I knew about my mother. She’d died ten days after I was born, and a nursemaid raised me for the first few years, until my sisters were old enough to take over. I would have been more grateful to them if it hadn’t left them so smugly convinced, no matter how old I grew, that I was still a mere child.

Papa never talked about Mama. It wasn’t until he’d married Stepmama, though, that I’d realized Mama had been a disgrace. It was the first time I’d ever felt close to her memory. I was always in trouble, too.

Stepmama always said that it was a great trial to be the wife of a clergyman, especially one with such a poor income as Papa. She only hated it for the lack of money, though, which meant the lack of fashionable clothing, London townhouses, and scandalous gossip at close hand. It must have been even harder for Mama to be a clergyman’s wife, since she was a witch.

Elissa wouldn’t talk about Mama anymore—she had been seven years old when Mama died, but the memories still made her too melancholy, she said. Angeline told me once, though, about the disaster that happened when Papa’s patron, Squire Briggs, was invited to tea at the vicarage, two months before I was born. Angeline was only five at the time, but she said she had never forgotten it.

“Mama got distracted as she poured the tea,” Angeline told me. A smirk pulled at her full lips as she remembered. “Papa and Elissa were both so appalled, but I thought it was hilarious.”

“What did she do? Did she spill the tea?”

“Oh, no. Nothing like that.” Angeline leaned close to whisper the words in my ear, even though Papa and Stepmama were safely occupied with the accounting books in the next room. “Mama was trying so hard to concentrate on making polite conversation with Squire Briggs, because it was so important for Papa’s future, that she forgot to use her hands to pour the tea!”

“You mean—”

“The teapot just rose up in the air all on its own and poured for everyone while she talked. You should have seen Squire Briggs’s face! He turned purple and started to choke. And Mama still didn’t realize . . .” Angeline bit her lip, holding back a laugh. She was meant to be tutoring me in French, as a punishment for both of us, so we couldn’t let Stepmama hear us giggling together.

“Poor Mama,” Angeline said. “She was trying so hard to help Squire Briggs stop choking, and Papa started stuttering hopelessly, he was so horrified, and that teapot just kept on pouring absolutely perfectly, without a single spill, until Papa lunged forward and grabbed it himself, and then the tea spilled all over his lap and the floor and . . . I laughed so hard, I thought I would die.”

“And then what happened?”

Angeline’s face hardened. “After that, Squire Briggs wouldn’t come back to tea again as long as Mama was alive. He had already offered to give Papa a second living, but after that teatime, he changed his mind. And Mama . . .” Angeline looked away, setting her jaw. “Mama wept for a week.”

I shivered in the oak tree now, remembering Angeline’s story as I looked at my mother’s lovely, looping hand-writing.

There used to be a miniature portrait of Mama in the sitting room, when I was a little girl, but Stepmama had locked it away with the rest of Mama’s things, magical or otherwise, in a cabinet none of us were allowed to open. There’s no use in reminding the neighbors of old problems, she’d said. She had already cut down all of Mama’s roses from the back garden by then; they were a scandal too. Apparently, roses weren’t supposed to be able to bloom red all year long. But I had loved them anyway. My sisters used to take me out to sit underneath the oak tree on fine days when I was little, and the rich, sweet fragrance of the roses had filled the air with magic.

I hadn’t remembered Mama’s roses for a long time.

I took a deep breath and turned the page.

I have decided to begin as I mean to go on, no matter how Ominous the Dangers, my mother had written. Tho’ it must be kept Secret from my closest companions and even my own Colleagues, I cannot let Ignorance, Prejudice, or Pride hold me back any longer from exercising all the Talents I have been given. I shall teach myself first how to enchant Inanimate Objects.

Well, I understood why she’d meant to keep her witchcraft a secret—if it hadn’t been for the fact that she’d married a clergyman, she would have been completely cast out of Society for it, and as it was, she had still caused a scandal. Marrying her had ruined Papa’s career. But that was because she hadn’t kept the magic a secret after all. From all the stories I’d heard, she hadn’t even tried very hard. Surely someone who really wanted to keep her witchcraft secret wouldn’t have blatantly enchanted the roses in her garden, would she? And what on earth had she meant by “Colleagues”? Mama’s family might not have been wealthy, but she had definitely been a lady—and ladies, as Elissa was always ready to remind me, did not work for a living, no matter how dire their circumstances.

I let out a long breath and turned the page. I didn’t have time to waste worrying about any of that, no matter how tempting it might be. I was after my sister’s secrets right now, not my mother’s—and enchanting inanimate objects, like Mama’s self-pouring teapot, wouldn’t get Angeline her dowry.

I skipped through the pages of Mama’s first failures and final successes, as she experimented with creating her own spells. She’d learned more and more difficult tricks as she’d progressed, but nothing practical like turning copper to gold. Half of Mama’s spells were meant to make herself look prettier or to make her twice-turned, hand-me-down gowns look new. I even found a love spell—and next to it, circled and surrounded by tiny hearts, a name: George. My father’s name.

I flicked quickly past that page, feeling my cheeks heat up.

It had been at least an hour since I had begun to read, and the sun had risen high in the sky above me. I couldn’t see the gig in the distance yet, but I knew I didn’t have much time left. I flipped faster and faster through the pages.

I was concentrating so hard, I didn’t even notice the footsteps coming toward me from the graveyard.

The first I knew of it was when my stockinged feet, swinging in the air, brushed right against a man’s beaver hat and knocked it to the grass. I almost fell off my branch in surprise. Both of Mama’s diaries dropped from my hands, six feet down onto the grass, next to a moving pair of dirt-covered Hessian boots. My gaze went up past the boots, up mud-spattered pantaloons and a dark blue coat that looked like it had once been expensive, before it had all been covered in dirt. The man who wore the clothes—and the dirt—was a complete stranger.

“Who are you?” I asked. The words blurted themselves out of my mouth. If Angeline had been there, she would have said something smooth and courteous and subtly amused in greeting. If Elissa had been there, she would have been too proper to speak to a strange gentleman at all without a proper introduction. Then again, neither of my sisters would have been caught off guard in the first place by sitting in a tree without her shoes on.

The man underneath me had kept walking forward even after I kicked his hat off. He hadn’t even paused to look up at me, or to pick up his hat. But when I spoke, he stopped walking and shook himself as if he were shaking off a cloud of gnats.

“I am Frederick Carlyle,” he said in a strange, flat voice. He was still looking straight ahead at the vicarage, so I couldn’t see his face, only the back of his dark blond hair. He was dressed like a gentleman, but from the look of his hair—not to mention the state of his clothing—it had been some time since he’d seen a valet, or a comb. “Here to study with Miss Angeline Stephenson’s father,” he said.

“With An—you mean with Papa? Mr. Stephenson?”

He still didn’t turn. “Here to study with Miss Angeline Stephenson’s father,” he repeated. “I have brought my first quarter’s payment with me.”

“Ah . . . good?” I slid down off the tree. It was awkward, since I couldn’t let my skirts ride up in front of him. I landed hard on a sharp stone, stumbled, and barely missed stepping on Mama’s books. I snatched them up and tried to flatten the crumpled pages with one hand. Later I would probably panic about the damage, but right now I was too curious to feel scared.

“How do you know Angeline?” I asked the back of the gentleman’s head.

He swung around, and I saw his face for the first time. It was alight with hope. “Is Miss Angeline truly here? Are you Miss Angeline?”

“No!” I said. “Of course not. I’m just Kat.” I stared at him. He was young—about the same age as Charles, I thought, so probably no more than twenty. Handsome, too, I supposed, if he hadn’t looked so vacant. I frowned, looking at his blank blue eyes. Maybe “vacant” wasn’t the right word, after all. Maybe “entranced” would be more accurate.

Something about that started an ominous tugging in the back of my mind. Entranced . . . But before I could think it through, I heard a rattling sound behind me and something worse—familiar voices floating through the still air. I spun around.

“Oh, the devil!”

I had been the one too entranced to think straight. I hadn’t been keeping my lookout.

Stepmama’s gig was on the road just beneath us, less than two minutes’ drive away. Even as I watched, it turned onto the final curve.

The full implications hit me with a thud. I stared down at the books in my hands. Half the pages had been bent in the fall, and the whole middle section of the first diary was crumpled. Even if I put both books back exactly where I’d found them, Angeline would never be fooled. She would know the moment she opened them exactly what had happened.

I wondered if it was too late to run away after all. The boys’ clothes were still in the attic, where I’d left them. Maybe, if everyone else was absorbed in greeting our strange visitor, they wouldn’t even notice I was missing. And this Frederick Carlyle, whoever he might be, certainly seemed to be excited about meeting Angeline, so that should distract her at least a little while, until . . .

“Is Miss Angeline in that gig?” he asked hopefully.

“Yes,” I said unhappily. “So I really need to go and—no, wait! She’ll be here in just a moment. You don’t need to go chasing after it, Mr. Carlyle—Mr. Carlyle! Stop!”

I threw myself in front of him to hold him back. He walked straight into my raised arm, heading for the hedge around our garden that overlooked the road, a full fifteen feet below.

“It’s too high!” I said. “You’ll break your legs if you jump that. What’s your hurry, anyway? It’s not as if you’ve ever even met her, so—”

Oh. Suddenly it all clicked into place. Mama’s magic books tingled in my hands as I regarded them with newfound respect.

“Miss Angeline Stephenson,” Frederick Carlyle murmured. He sounded like a bleating calf being led to the slaughter, but a blissful smile curved his lips.

Now I knew why he had seemed entranced.

“Come inside,” I said soothingly. “Why don’t I bring you a cup of tea? Then you can brush yourself off before you meet Angeline. You want to make a good impression on her, don’t you?”

He frowned, as if it were a difficult concept to grasp. “Miss Angeline is coming here? Inside this house?”

“She is,” I said. “I’ll show you in. I want to be there with you when she arrives.”

I couldn’t hide the books from Angeline, or keep her from finding out that I’d looked at them. But I had something better than secrecy now.

I had the perfect opportunity for blackmail.

Copyright (c) 2011 by Stephanie Burgis

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions for Kat, Incorrigible

1. How do the sisters’ personalities differ from one another? What dominant characteristics does each sister possess? How do the sisters help one another based on their strengths and weaknesses?

2. Why does the Stephenson family have such a close bond, even with Charles, who almost ruins the family with his gambling? What role does their father play in the family?

3. Kat and Angeline are both concerned that Elissa will find out they are dabbling in magic. Why is Elissa adamantly against magic? What role does their mother play in Elissa’s attitude?

4. Why is Stepmama so insistent that the girls behave appropriately? What is she ashamed of, and what does this say about her priorities? Why is she willing to marry them off to someone for money instead of love? How does Stepmama’s outlook change by the end of the book?

5. What is the difference between being a Guardian and being a Witch? Why is being a Guardian considered more powerful? Why do Guardians consider witchcraft beneath them?

6. On Kat’s first visit to the Golden Hall, why is she defensive and unwilling to accept her inheritance as a Guardian? Why does she eventually change her mind and accept Mr. Gregson’s offer as a tutor?

7. Kat does everything she can to abandon the golden mirror; why does it always comes back to her? Why does Kat want to return the mirror?

8. Kat’s first evening at Grantham Abbey proves to be entertaining and informative. What does she do that causes embarrassment to her family and to her? What does she learn that will later prove helpful?

9. Why does Mr. Gregson’s appearance at Grantham Abbey unsettle Kat? Why is she so untrusting of him? How does he finally prove to her that he is worthy of her trust? How does Lady Fotherington treat Kat, and why?

10. What does Kat learn about her mother from Mr. Gregson? Why doesn’t she share the information with Angeline and Elissa?

11. What is the truth behind Sir Neville’s attitude toward his brother, Mr. Collingwood? What does Mr. Collingwood know about his brother’s affairs that Sir Neville would prefer to keep secret? How is the truth finally exposed?

12. Why does Mr. Collingwood pretend to be a highwayman? What is Kat’s motivation for helping Mr. Collingwood escape from the party? How does her help turn into a hindrance?

13. What does Kat learn about her powers that bring her peace? How does she use these powers to win her sisters their true loves and save her family from ruin?

14. Is Kat really incorrigible? Why or why not?

15. Kat is from 19th Century England. How is she distinct from a modern heroine? How does author Stephanie Burgis use the Regency Era setting as a backdrop to her unique story? How does she combine elements of history and fantasy?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Kat, Incorrigible 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
Avim More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. Kat is the perfect heroine; she's got magical powers but is still very human. She makes mistakes and while she does end up "saving the day," she does it her own way and by using the resources available to her. Stephanie Burgis includes just the right amount of history, realism, and fantasy in this tale. As a librarian, I definitely recommend this book to my 5th and 6th grade students. It is a story directed more towards girls than boys but there are some boys who would enjoy it as well. There's just enough challenging vocabulary in the book to push students to learn more while keeping them entertained. I eagerly await more "Unladylike Adventures of Kat."
lalawe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What could be more fun than a story about a spunky 12-year-old who gets herself into trouble and then figures her way back out? Kat is a wonderful character - spunky, headstrong, and, like the title says, incorrigible. Like a previous reviewer said, the dialogue is quick and funny. The plot moves along quickly enough to keep interest, though the end was definitely more action-packed than the beginning.Overall, quite delightful and funny. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for the rest in the series.Note: I received this book as a free ARC.
rhonda1111 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book. it was fun adventure about 12 year old Kat trying to save her family and find out she has magic. oldest sister Elisza was willing to wed a older man to save her family. angeline is a witch trying to save her family but her spells have problems.stepmother trying to marry off eliza.thier is balls highway robber, magic mirror. it was a entertaing book.
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I got an ARC of the book through the Amazon Vine program. This is one of those books that looked really cute and I was dying to read it last year, but then the release was delayed so I feel like I was waiting forever to read it. When I finally got around to reading it I thought it was cute and fun, but also a bit boring at parts. I think maybe since my expectations were so high I was left a bit disappointed.The book is set in Victorian England, Kat lives were her brother, two older sisters, stepmother, and father. One of Kat's older sisters is being forced to marry to help pay off the family's gambling debt (caused by her brother Charlie). Kat has an idea to help her sister, but then she finds out that her middle sister Angeline has an even better plan. Angeline is trying to use Kat's mother's spellbooks to come up with a solution. Things get complicated when Kat falls into a compact mirror of her mother's and finds out that she is a Guardian who is supposed to hunt down witches. Will they be able to sort everything out and save Kat's eldest sister from a horribly unfortunate marriage?This book was very much like Pride and Prejudice with a little magic and mayhem thrown in. It is super cute and fun but at times it was also a bit predictable and slow. Kat is your typical "I don't like this Victorian lady stuff" kind of girl; she wants to be a boy and wants nothing to do with proper behavior. Her sisters are more typical Victoria ladies; her eldest sister is pretty vanilla and only wants to sacrifice her happiness for the good of the family. Her middle sister Angelina had the most spunk of them all and is fun to read about.I am not sure if it was just my mood or what, but despite all of the magic and Guardian and witch stuff, I found the plot to be pretty bland and had trouble staying focused on the story. By the time I got to the end of the book instead of wanting more, I was thinking "well, glad I am done with that". By the end of it all I kind of wished I had just re-read Pride and Prejudice, instead of read this. I am having trouble pinpointing exactly what bored me about this book; I think it was mostly the predictability, the simple writing style, and the over-cuteness of it all. Burgis's writing style is easy to read, but at the same time lacks much description.The book ends well enough, although it is clear that this book is mainly an introduction to Kat and her family and that there will be many books to come.Overall it was okay. I really wanted to love this book; but I ended up finding the characters to be stereotypical, the plot predictable, and parts of the book just plain boring. It does look like the story will get more interesting and complex in future books. People who like Victorian novels with a plucky girl lead might like this book. It reminds of Price and Prejudice with a bit of magic and mayhem thrown in. I personally just had trouble getting engaged in the story and relating to the characters, so I probably won't be reading any more of these books in the future.
skstiles612 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Shortly after Katherine, Kat for short, is born her mother passes away. Her father remarries. There step-mother would not normally have made the vicar her first choice, but since she was nearing the age of a spinster she chose to marry him. She wants everything and everyone one to be very proper the way society says they should be. Anytime there is an idyllic setting like this you know it is going to be busted to pieces. First we have Charles who racks up more and more debts that their father must repay. Then we have the three girls. Elissa is the oldest. Her step-mother arranges for her to marry a much, much older, and wealthy man, Sir Neville. Sir Neville supposedly killed his last wife. Elisse is actually in love with Sir Neville¿s younger brother. She is the type of duty who is willing to put duty before love. Then we have Angeline the middle child. She is full of spit and vinegar as my grandmother would have said. She tends to be a bit rebellious. She doesn¿t want a catastrophic arranged marriage. Having discovered a set of magic books she casts a spell that will bring her true love to her. This poses its own problems that she can¿t seem to fix. Then we have Kat. Kat wants to be adventurous, she wants to be socially right. But Kat is Kat and she sees she has a duty to fix her family, to save them. She finds a golden mirror that had belonged to the mother she never knew. She learns that she has inherited her mother¿s magic, (yes her mother was a witch) and the Order of the Guardians want her to become a Guardian. She is more determined to learn the magic that will save her family. This is a very funny read. I liked Kat because she was a plucky young girl who felt the weight of her family¿s problems and decided she had to be the one to fix them. I also like Angeline because she was a no nonsense girl. She wasn¿t going to wait around until life happened to her she was going to create her life. Even though things didn¿t quite go her way. There was not much to know about Charles as there is not much background on him. Maybe we will learn more in the next book. Elisse was my least favorite. She was the one who was willing to sacrifice what she wanted to help the family. My mother said I disliked her because she reminded me of my old self. Constantly walked on so others could be happy. She may be right. I saw some of Kat in the new me so I like to think if I found balance that maybe in future installments so will Elisse. I am thrilled to have read and reviewed this book and look forward to sharing it with my middle school students.
girlsgonereading on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Although she is an American, Stephanie Burgis proclaims a love of all things British-especially the great Jane Austen. Using that as a catalyst, Burgis created Kat, Incorrigible.Kat lives in Austen¿s time, but unlike Elizabeth Bennet Kat is a witch. Magical powers run in her family, and Kat uses her Austenesque proclivity for trouble to save her sisters from marrying the wrong man. Sounds cute, right? Wrong. I was bored silly.The problem with this scenario for me was the plot structure. True, Kat is action packet. But ironically that is really the problem. Burgis jumps from one action to another so quickly (using magic) that I frequently missed what had just occurred.Similarly, Kat goes from inner dialogue to action back to dialogue without references as to what is in Kat¿s head, what is real, and what is magic. I kept wondering how a middle schooler (the novel¿s intended audience) would follow all these maneuvers.But mostly, my problems with Kat, Incorrigible were created by sheer lack of interest. The characters were all two dimensional, including the heroine herself, and I didn¿t really like any of them.Perhaps the greatest issue is that I don¿t love this genre. I never read books for middle schoolers, and Kat did not sway me to try another one again soon. I was disappointed with Kat, Incorrigible, and I might have to watch Pride and Prejudice to get over it.
fyrefly98 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: Miss Katherine Stephenson's family teeters at the edge of respectable society, despite her stepmother's best efforts to secure good marriages for Kat's elder sisters. But Kat's mother openly practiced magic, which is hardly an occupation of a lady of quality, and that scandal still clings to the family. What's worse, Kat seems to have inherited her mother's talent for magic, and now must use it to save her family. Her sister Angeline has been dabbling in love spells herself, with disastrous results, and her eldest sister Elissa is considering a match with the much-older Sir Neville, a wealthy widower whose first wife died under mysterious circumstances. Kat's not trying to get in trouble, but somebody has to protect her sisters from their own decisions, and it looks like it's all up to Kat.Review: Kat, Incorrigible was a wonderfully charming little fantasy of manners, which is a subgenre that I enjoy more and more the more I read of it. This book felt like a combination of Magician's Ward, Sorcery & Cecelia, and the Flavia de Luce books, although geared to a younger age set, and it was just as much fun as any of those. I hesitate to use the word "romp" for fear of cliche, but it really feels appropriate here; there's plenty of sneaking around in crumbling abbeys and being threatened by highwaymen to go along with the period dresses and society etiquette and marriage negotiations. It was a little predictable in places, but overall, it was the perfect light-hearted read to improve my mood after a long day.The book is being marketed as a mid-grade book, although I think that may be skewing a little young. There's certainly nothing thematically inappropriate for mid-grade readers, but a lot of the charm of fantasy of manners books comes from being at least somewhat conversant with the conventions of Regency literature, which I don't know that many mid-grade readers are. (I may be overgeneralizing based on my personal experience; I certainly wasn't reading Austen or Heyer at that age, although it wouldn't surprise me too much to hear that some girls are.) In any case, Kat, Incorrigible doesn't have any of the stylistic issues that normally put me off mid-grade books, and I think it would appeal to YA readers as well. 4 out of 5 stars.Recommendation: If you like fantasy of manners, this one's a fun addition; if you like Regency novels but are not normally a fantasy reader, I think Kat, Incorrigible would be a light and easy introduction to the genre.
kmartin802 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a charming middle grade story of an alternate Georgian England where magic is real. Kat is determined to save her older sister from a loveless marriage to the evil Sir Neville. She learns that she has magical talent which complicates things because magic is not socially acceptable. Kat is a intrepid, 12-year-old who never runs out of schemes to save her sister or to help both of her sister's end up with the men who are perfect for them. Wonderful characters in a familiar Gothic setting.
Bookworm_Lisa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The word that came to mind when I finished this book was "Fabulous!".Kat is an extremely precocious twelve year old girl, who is more than a witch and has an incredible personality. She is so strong willed and stubborn that she gets into pretty funny situations. She is one of those characters that you can't help but like and cheer on. She has a strong and abiding love and loyalty to her family.Kat has inherited her mother's magical abilities. She is a guardian, she can perform magic without spells. She finds herself in possession of her deceased mother's mirror. She can't get rid of the mirror no matter how hard she tries. The mirror is magic and takes her to a hall, where she meets two guardians who tell her about her magical inheritance and her responsibility to be tutored to be a guardian.She is resistant. That is putting it mildly. But when circumstances get tough and threaten her family. She realizes the potential that being a guardian entails. She knows the good that she can do for the witch community if she takes her inheritance.For me the writing flowed well. When you become enraptured in a story, it's hard to get too technical. I cannot stress enough that I loved this story.This is a great book. It is appropriate for children and adults. I received a copy of this book from Simon & Schuster's galley grab. It is scheduled for publication on April 5, 2011. Yes, I have already pre-ordered a hard copy of this book. I want to share this one with my kids.
bell7 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kat Stephenson is the daughter of a vicar and a witch, a fact that has left the family poor and just on the edge of good society, despite her Stepmama's wishes to the contrary. Her oldest sister, Elissa, is promised to be married to Sir Neville, a rich older man whose first wife died under mysterious circumstances. But Kat is determined to help Elissa out of this marriage, whether her sisters Elissa and Angeline want her help or not.This story introduces a series that promises to be fun and inventive children's fantasy, set in or around the Victorian era in England. Kat is a fun and witty heroine to follow, if a bit precocious for a twelve-year-old: "I tried to raise just one eyebrow, like Angeline. They both came up together, so I had to settle for looking surprised instead of sardonic" (98). Unfortunately, the tale suffers a bit from too much set up, with only tantalizing glimpses of what may be further explored in sequels. I'll be impatiently waiting to see if that is true.
C.Ibarra on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kat is the youngest of the widowed vicar¿s three daughters and the constant bane of her stepmother¿s existence. When Kat discovers she has inherited her mother¿s gift for magic she hopes she can find a way to solve her family¿s financial woes that doesn¿t involve her older sister marrying the frightening Sir Neville. The only catch is the magic is off limits so she can¿t let anyone know about her new found talent. Kat manages to stir up all kinds of trouble along the way. I have a list of things that seems to draw me to certain books. This list just happens to include magic, a strong-minded heroine, a historical time period, or an England setting. Kat, Incorrigible had ALL of these. This book was like my dream read come true. Oh how much do I adore this book! It was truly a breath of fresh air. Don¿t let the cartoon cover fool you. This is a book that can easily appeal to fantasy and magic fans of all ages. The precocious Kat is one of the most delightful heroines I¿ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Her hijinks never failed to entertain. The secondary characters contained the perfect amount of quirkiness. I have a soft spot for eccentric characters and this little book was packed full of them. I loved the unique qualities each of the three sisters possessed and when you put them all together the sibling banter was so much fun. There is also a brother who I hope we¿ll get to meet as this series continues. The plot was a perfect mix of action and entertaining dialogue. I didn¿t want to see it end! I can¿t rave enough about this amazing book. I¿m so glad it is a series debut and not a standalone novel. I can¿t wait to tag along on more of Kat¿s wild adventures. If I get give it a rating higher than 5 stars I would. This is my newest favorite book!
beserene on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received an ARC of this novel ages ago but didn't get around to reading it until practically the last day of vacation this summer. Frankly, I wish I had read it sooner, because it would have gone a long way toward cheering me up.Cheer is exactly what this little children's fantasy novel is made of. It is one of those homage-to-Jane-Austen types, but instead of worrying about being imitative, it simply swipes her era and sensibilities and then runs rollicking away with them. The writing is a bit loose, bordering occasionally on the sloppy, and the characterizations are often ri-di-cu-lous, but that is largely the point: this is simply laugh-out-loud fun.If ever you wondered what Jane Austen might have been like as a twelve year old girl who could, by the way, do magic, this will satisfy your inner child. Those looking for respect, accuracy, attention to detail, or elaborate romance should look elsewhere, but I can heartily recommend this to those who want to giggle madly while reading about floating teapots and inconvenient highwaymen. A jolly playground romp, in crinolines.
GRgenius on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Olivia Amberson, a lady with much talent and grace, passed away many years ago leaving behind a husband, a son, three lovely daughters ...and a legacy yet to be fully uncovered. But as most secrets go....you can't ever keep them fully quiet for long. As the girls were growing into self sufficient young ladies, the secret continued to bubble just below the surface waiting for just the right moment to present itself...which comes in the form of Elissa's impending wedding to Sir Neville. An older and odious choice for this proper lady, the match is set to secure the families finances (expunging the debt racked up by their dear brother) and continue the care of their family...supposedly. Yeah, let's just say that the girls aren't the only ones in this story with a secret. All will be well though if Kat, the youngest of the girls, has anything to say about it....and believe me she WILL have her say. With a little luck, a pinch of magic, and a large amount of wits....it just might...it maybe could...okay. There's a slim chance things could turn out for the better...and a slim chance is sometimes all that fate needs.Enough with the rambling, let me break this one down for you. Kat (Katherine Ann Stephenson) is as incorrigible as the title implies. Her relationship with her sisters is at best loving, at worst explosive but more often than not hilarious...in a good way. It's great to see siblings who aren't out to get each other for a change...at least not intentionally. Elissa the eldest, acts as a mother figure of sorts to her fellow sisters and is about to take one for the team as any good "mother" would. The middle sister, Angeline, creates some antics of her own trying to solve their problems but comes to realize eventually that family and truth are what matters most....truth in word and in love. (That'll explain itself in the book...) In short, the sisters are a handful and the addition of a magical heritage does not go far in dampering their precociousness....much of which adds fuel to the already brightly burning fire of a story.The plot itself may seem somewhat familiar with stories of old (young girl forces to marry for money and society in lieu of love) but trust me when I say that the fun is in the details and the way this story twists itself about, one can't help but be entertained. The author has a way of leading you directly to the next point of interest so you can easily glimpse the connections being created but stops just short of literally spelling it out. She allows you to finish connecting the dots so you stay right on track and never lose pace. All in all, a great read for all ages. I'd love to see what would happen should the author choose to continue the story....after all there are so many more adventures to have, I'm sure this group of lively characters could enthrall us once again with their life and times....not t mention if you know who gets out of you know where... (oh wait...you don't know...well, consider another mystery to be solved upon reading)
LauraMoore on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wow, I cannot remember the last time I read a middle grade story, probably since I was 10 years old or so, but WOW!! after reading this I may need to seriously pick some more out, because otherwise I would feel like I am seriously missing out!! I honestly don't even know why I recieved the ARC from Simon and Schuster, but not only was I shocked when I recieved it in the mail, but I also LOVED the story.This book had the right amount of everything, from fantasty, to drama, to comedy, etc. It was a pleasent mixture of everything you'd want to find in a book. Kat was an amazing 12 year old narrator, and I absolutly adored her character, she was cute, comical, and very smart for her age. The story itself was interesing and I wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen next. The only thing I can say about this book that would be of a critque nature would be that I felt that some of the word choices were a little bit advanced for a middle grade book, It was fine for me, but I think some 10 years old might have trouble with some of the terms, but then again it's been a long time since I was 10 years old, so maybe they arern't as advanced as I think they might be for someone of the age group.All I can say is definitely go pick up this book, you will not be dissapointed!! I cannot wait to see what else Stephanie Burgis has in store for us and for Kat.
foggidawn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kat, Incorrigible (originally published as A Most Improper Magick in the UK) by Stephanie Burgis was fun, but lacking in depth and originality. It's a Regency fantasy that reminded me at times of Sorcery and Cecelia (though S&C is definitely the better of the two). Twelve-year-old Kat Stephenson longs for adventure, but her stepmother and her two older sisters insist on proper behavior. During the course of this novel, Kat discovers that she has inherited a rare magical talent from her mother. She also attends a house party with said stepmother and sisters, and foils a dastardly plot or two. I do wonder a bit at the historical accuracy of that particular situation -- I've never made a serious study of Regency customs and etiquette, but every Regency romance I've ever read (and my mother loves the things, so I read many during my teen years) suggests that it would be the height of bad manners to bring a schoolgirl uninvited to a house party, and furthermore that it would be highly unlikely that said schoolgirl would then be allowed to dine with the other guests and even attend a ball at the local assembly rooms. Perhaps, since this is fantasy, the author felt she could get away with more lax social rules -- but it felt a little off to me. I also felt like this entire book was setting up for a series, but I didn't love it enough to want to read on in the series. (I also don't see why the American publisher felt they had to change the name, but that's a minor quibble.)All in all, it was a fun read, not a waste of time, but not one that I would necessarily recommend, unless it sounds like something you would just love.
keristars on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had many recommendations for Sorcery & Cecelia, saying that I would probably love it, since I like historical fiction and magic and YA and everything. But I hated it. It felt too contrived and awkward and like it was trying to force the issue of it being a Regency story with constant, affected references to cultural bits or persons from the period.Then someone mentioned A Most Improper Magick, or, Kat, Incorrigible to me as being more my speed. I saw the cover art and figured if the story was nearly as cute/fun, it would be worth a try. I'm so glad I did! Kat, Incorrigible is everything that Sorcery & Cecelia wasn't.On its own merits, I like Burgis's book, even without comparing it to another book I didn't like. It's light-hearted and cute, but still grounded in reality (as much as can be expected for a historical fantasy with magic, at least!). There's a tongue-in-cheek nature to some of the scenes, but maintains the Regency setting.I loved that the book is distinctly set in the Regency era (1805ish) without going overboard with hammering that fact home. When Kat and her sister complain about a third sister possibly being married off in order to bring money to the family, rather than allowing her to marry for love, I rolled my eyes - because that idea was only just emerging in the period this book takes place, with the Romantics. But not a page later, the sisters acknowledge that fact (in a roundabout sort of way) and giggle about reading Gothic novels - in a very natural sort of way, but still underscoring the setting.The plot of the story is fairly simple but I liked that while Kat is the point-of-view character, she isn't the only one who gets to be heroic. I loved that I could easily envision the entire novel as being told from the point of view of her elder sister Angeline, and it would be an equally strong narrative, because not all the exciting things or secrets happen to Kat. For example, while Kat gets the fancy Guardian magic inheritance (this shouldn't be a spoiler!), it is Angeline who inherits the skill for witchery.The fact that both Kat and Angeline could be strong narrative points of view for equally interesting/engaging stories, yet not at all identical, makes this book stand out amongst many others of its kind. Plus, I really like Kat and how she is a 12-year-old with problems suitable for a girl her age. She was very realistic to me, especially with the way she sometimes sounds older than her age, only to act like a kid - exactly like the 12-year-olds I know. The sibling rivalry worked very well, too, amongst the sisters.Kat, Incorrigible is an enchanting, fun, delightful book and I am so glad I read it. I'm looking forward to getting to read the second in the series, and I recommend this one for anyone who enjoys YA novels in the historical fantasy genre.
dibbylodd More than 1 year ago
Full disclosure--I want to be Kat! What fun. She struggles with who and want she is or can be and does wonderful things along the way. She goes against the social mores of her time--cuts her hair, climbs trees, has thoughts of her own! Scandalous! This is a delightful story mixing period aspects with magic with irresistible young ladies. All in all, great fun!
Aylaeri More than 1 year ago
Run, don't walk, to your nearest B&N (or just order now) and get Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis. Jane Austen meets Harry Potter (sort of) all through the eyes of a 12 year old girl. It kept me up way too late last night! Light, funny and worth reading by adults and children alike (I was going to give it to my niece but I think I'm just loaning it. . . .). Books 2 & 3 are next on my "to buy" list :-)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago