Newt's Emerald by Garth Nix
Kindle edition, 2013. ASIN B00GLT344I.
(Age: 11+) Recommended. Historical. Magic. 18 year old Lady Truthful Newington sets out for London after the Newington emerald, a family heirloom, disappears. On the brink of being brought out into the fashionable world in her first season, she knows that she can't search for the emerald as a young woman so in the disguise of a young man around town, she risks her life in an effort to recover it.
Nix has written a sparkling Regency novel, with the addition of a touch of magic, in the tradition of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen, both of whom he acknowledges in the author's note at the end of the story. Add in a dash of adventure in the vein of Patrick O'Brien, (also acknowledged) and the story is a winner for readers.
This story is a wonderful, feel-good tale that brings the Regency period to life for younger readers who may then want to go on and read other stories in this period. There are plenty of adventures, a slight romance and sparkling conversation.
Truthful is an intrepid young heroine who manages to outwit Charles, the often obnoxious hero, her cousins are suitably swashbuckling in their misguided ideas for regaining the emerald and the addition of a powerful magical stone and a sword-stick wand make for a deliciously light and amusing read.
Readers may also want to read Nix's wonderful Abhorsen chronicles after getting a taste of Newt's Emerald.