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The Twelfth Enchantment

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3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  2,214 Ratings  ·  436 Reviews
Lucy Derrick is a young woman of good breeding and poor finances. After the death of her beloved father, she is forced to maintain a shabby dignity as the unwanted boarder of her tyrannical uncle, fending off marriage to a local mill owner. But just as she is on the cusp of accepting a life of misery, events take a stunning turn when a handsome stranger—the poet and notori ...more
Hardcover, 403 pages
Published August 9th 2011 by Random House
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(showing 1-30)
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karen
Aug 22, 2011 karen rated it liked it
lemme crank this out before the hurricane steals all my power!

elizabeth already took care of all the austen allusions in this book - which is good of her, because i sure didn't get any of them. austen ladies - someday i will understand you, i promise! but i am here to mostly focus on the byron stuff, cuz that's what i do.

i always thought that david liss was a veryserious author, and the men (almost exclusively men) asking for his books always looked veryserious, so this rather lightweight tale o
...more
Deborah Harkness
A wonderful book. Highly recommended to fans of Jane Austen, as well as fans of Jonathan Strange.
C.W.
Mar 11, 2017 C.W. rated it really liked it
David Liss has written some amazing novels about intrigue and machinations in historical eras, featuring men trying to salvage their honor and/or make a fast buck off the suffering of others. In "The Twelfth Enchantment", he employs a different tactic: a female lead, Lucy Derrick, who finds herself plunged into a mysterious world of magic and evil in Regency England.

The premise is undoubtedly enticing. Built on a foundation of the Jane Austen-heroine-with-nothing, Lucy is penniless, orphaned, es
...more
Wealhtheow
Aug 29, 2012 Wealhtheow rated it liked it
This was an interesting--and unexpected--twist on Pride&Prejudice. Before the book even begins, the character based on Elizabeth dies, leaving her father and sisters at a loss. The Jane analog is thus coerced into marriage to pseudo Mr.Collins, and the Lydia analog's reputation is ruined when she runs off with the pseudo Wickham. Years later, Lydia--named Lucy Derrick here--is living a miserable existance as an unwanted poor relation. The only bright spot is her new friend Mary Crawford, a b ...more
Mo
Part ‘Pride & Prejudice’, part ‘Dracula’, part ‘Harry Potter’… mostly rubbish.
Emily
Aug 22, 2011 Emily rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
This book is a little disappointing on its own merits, but considering it's by the excellent David Liss, it's quite disappointing indeed. (And I notice that many of the readers who are giving it positive reviews aren't readers of his earlier work.)
"There are forces in motion. Dangerous forces. Chief among these are what people are apt to call fairies or elves. Do not laugh, for this is serious." (154)
This advice is difficult for a fan of Liss's previous work: bloodily concrete adventures of men
...more
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Now this is what I call an inventive magical fantasy. This is the novel I wanted when I started The Magicians. Set in 1811 in Nottingham, the story follows Lucy Derrick, a young woman who has lost everything when her father died, leaving her penniless. Forced to live with a relation who resents her, Lucy finds herself engaged to a cold mill owner, her reputation smarting when one night, none other than Lord Byron shows up at her uncle's house, calling for her to break her engagement.  In the mid ...more
Angelc
Jul 16, 2011 Angelc rated it really liked it
Shelves: already-own-read
So, I admit, the reason I wanted to read this book is because I love all things Lord Byron. I assumed he wouldn't really be in the book much, but I was wrong. Byron was actually a pretty central character in the story. The author took a lot of liberties with a real historical figure, some of it worked for me, some of it didn't. It didn't bother me at the beginning, but things got very, very strange at the end and I started to wonder why he didn't just invent a purely fictional character. Nonethe ...more
E
Jul 11, 2011 E rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh historical fiction, with pelisses and carriages, and magic! How I love you! Didn't know David Liss had this in him! yay!

Extended review here
Joe
Dec 04, 2012 Joe rated it did not like it
avid Liss has been one of my favourite contemporary writers since I discovered his debut novel, A Conspiracy of Paper in 2000.

I was surprised that his latest book, released last year, The Twelfth Enchantment (Random House,) fell under my radar.

But after I read it, my surprise turned to disappointment.

Whether it’s the early days of the London Stock Exchange, the 1722 general election in England, or even the formation of the National Bank in America, most of Liss’ novels tend to be historical mys
...more
Jo Anne B
This was a big let down. I recently read "The Conspiracy of Paper" by David Liss and loved it. I was really looking forward to this book but for some reason as soon as I started reading it, I knew it was not going to be good. The writing was juvenile, bland and unpoetic for this time period piece, unlike in his former book. The only thing this book has in common with his other work is that both stories involve searching for missing papers. Others have compared this to Jane Austen and that could ...more
Christy B
Sep 20, 2011 Christy B rated it really liked it
Miss Lucy Derrick is a young woman in Regency England who is living with her uncle, who does not want her there. And trust me, she does not want to be there either, but she has no choice. While there, a particular ordinary day becomes extraordinary when a deranged young man arrives at her uncle's door, demanding Lucy's audience. He tells her not to marry the man she's engaged to, a Mr. Olsen, and then proceeds to collapse.

This sets off a series of events that changes Lucy's life forever, change
...more
Matthew
Aug 29, 2011 Matthew rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
I would probably give this a 2 1/2 stars. It had some interesting ideas in it and the setting had some potential, but the writing was really, really bad. I was shocked to find out this author had multiple books under his belt, as well as an award, because his writing was almost amateurish.

First off, the historical elements of the book never seem natural. It always feels like he's including stuff just because he read about it in a book, as opposed to using those elements to create a realistic set
...more
Diane S ☔
Sep 03, 2011 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
3.5 Set in the regency period Lucy has been defrauded of the money left to her by her father and is at the mercy of her uncle. Enter Lord Byron, Shelly, Beau Brummel, magic, the Rosecrans
and romance. Unlike anything that Liss has written, love his historical fiction, yet it is entertaining if a bit farfetched. But I enjoyed it.
Christine Nolfi
May 28, 2013 Christine Nolfi rated it it was amazing
The Twelfth Enchantment provides a satisfying blend of the magical with historical events in a well-crafted book.
Maia B.
There's quite a bit of Jane Austen here. There's also quite a bit of something a lot like Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. There's also quite a bit more mediocrity than can be found in either of them.

Jane Austen: the creator of six basically perfect novels, a writer still wildly popular, the inspiration for more sequels, prequels, spin-offs, and rip-offs than any other writer ever. Jonathan Strange etc: a clever, intelligent, funny, thought-provoking novel with depth, well-researched, well-wri
...more
Wendy Bousfield
Jan 01, 2014 Wendy Bousfield rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy

After the death of their father leaves his daughters penniless, Lucy is forced to live with an unpleasant distant relative and his vicious housekeeper, Mrs. Quince. Lucy seeks independence and financial security through marriage to an exploitative mill owner, Mr. Olson, whom she neither loves nor admires. A dreary visit from her fiancé is interrupted by the appearance of a beautiful, disheveled man (Lord Byron, we later learn), who proclaims that Lucy must not marry Mr. Olson and says, enigmatic
...more
Mark
May 22, 2012 Mark rated it liked it

David Liss is one of my favorite authors, and I reluctantly give this one less star than I normally would, because I felt he tried overly hard to tap into the current Harry Potter-Twilight-Da Vinci Code mania for magic and otherworldly creatures without giving up on his usual strengths in historical fiction, and I'm not sure the marriage made for one of his most successful efforts.

Nevertheless, I stayed with the book all the way through, because he is that good a writer -- strong characters, goo
...more
Misty
Now, this one is not strictly a Jane Austen retelling, I know. But it is set in Regency England, and it does use a certain Mary Crawford (of Mansfield Park) as a character, so I feel completely justified in including it here. I read a pretty early copy, which I think may have detracted from the book (it sometimes felt a little scattered and I wanted some editing and trimming), but I'm going to set that aside on the assumption that these things were improved (though I guess you never know).  On t ...more
Farin
Aug 26, 2011 Farin rated it it was amazing
David Liss and I don't exactly have the best track record: I've tried to read The Devil's Company twice, and both times I had to concede defeat. There was something about the pace and the constant digressions in the narrative that prevented me from getting completely involved in the story. Needless to say, I was a little wary when I picked up The Twelfth Enchantment, but it sounded like a very different book, and several authors and bloggers I respect enjoyed it, so while the East Coast was bunk ...more
Diane Goldman
Nov 19, 2015 Diane Goldman rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!

Author David Liss turns Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" on its head, brings in the effects of the Industrial Revolution on ordinary working people, has the characters practice magic as if it is real, and throws in some historical characters such as Lord Byron and William Blake. It does hang together!

So, what do I mean about turning P & P on its head? It takes place after the events in P & P, and the characters are different - still the sisters (though Liss eliminate
...more
Ssjustice
Aug 24, 2011 Ssjustice rated it it was ok
Lucy Derrick is a young woman with no money and a bleak future. The death of her father has forced her to live with a cold-hearted uncle and his malicious housekeeper. A youthful indiscretion has made her nigh unmarriageable, and her sole suitor is a detestable local mill owner. Her fortune takes a turn, however, when a bewitched Lord Byron appears at her door to deliver a cryptic message: "You must gather the leaves." Helped by a local gentlewoman "knowledgeable" in magic, Lucy breaks Byron's c ...more
Staci
Jul 14, 2011 Staci rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011-reads
First thought after closing the book: "That was just silly!"

I thought this book would be so much better than it turned out. After reading the synopsis, it sounded like a great fantasy book set during Regency England (a time period which I adore)and right about the time of the industrial revolution. The reader gets a lot of information about how bad the mills are and the how evil the owners treat their workers. At times I felt as if I was being clobbered over the head with all the morality and ho
...more
Michael
DL is one of my favorites. One of the best out there. Brilliant. I went and got Twelfth Enchantment as soon as it came out. Same as I do anything he writes. And when I was in the store I bought The Coffee Trader and A Spectacle of Corruption for my dad, which is a big deal because it's hard to find something so great that I think he will feel the same way. Bridging generations and all that... I hate to say it. I really do. But I did not like this one at all. I suppose it's meant for teenage girl ...more
Alysa
Sep 19, 2011 Alysa rated it really liked it
Wow! I just loved this book! If you love Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell (North and South) and Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell) you should read this. I was surprised to learn that the author was a man, he wrote Lucy so well. Although not a fan of sequels as a rule, I'd love to read more about Lucy. Jane Austen characters abound and the more you know of her books, the more you will enjoy this. So many people seemed so irritated by this book and never having read any of the author ...more
Elizabeth
Jul 06, 2012 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Blake and Byron; Luddites and the philosopher's stone; mills and revenants; curates and Rosicrucians; the world Austen made and the darkness of the world that hides beneath it — I find it almost impossible to express how much I enjoyed this wonderful book. I began reading it last night and read late into the wee hours, then finished it early this afternoon, completely and utterly absorbed in the world it presented.

Lucy Derrick is living out an unhappy ending to an Austen novel in the shadow of t
...more
Kati Bowditch
Jul 13, 2011 Kati Bowditch rated it really liked it
Won this as a Goodreads First read.

A wonderful, light romp through the darkness of Victorian life with a dash of magic thrown in. The book follows one young woman of reduced means trying to make her way. An unwanted marriage looming she receives a strange visit one night that sets off a series of events that have her learning independence and taking note of the larger world around her. Add to that a whole aspect of alchemy and the fun begins!

I definitely enjoyed this book with it's mesh of indu
...more
Beth
Sep 15, 2011 Beth rated it did not like it
I really liked David Liss' book, The Coffee Trader. But I found The Twelfth Enchantment to be completely non-gripping. I could hardly find the energy to drag my eyes across the pages.

Lucy Derrick is orphaned and compelled to live with an uncaring uncle in Nottingham. Although she had no knowledge that magic, fairies, ghosts, etc., she soon learns of her own talents with magic and gets caught up in a struggle between the common working man and a new world of machine power.

I wanted to like the no
...more
Mari
I enjoyed this very much actually, but there was something about it that is keeping me to a three star rating. Maybe I've read too much Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen. (Is there even such a thing as too much Georgette Heyer or Jane Austen?) It was very satisfying personally, but I was in the mood for this type of book. Witty historical romances are very comforting for me, and when I need one, I'm willing to read with my critical eye mostly turned off. What my mostly asleep critical eye did catc ...more
Kate  Maxwell
Finally, I picked up this book which has been sitting on my shelf for way too long. I quite enjoyed it. Take Mary from Mansfield Park, pseudo characters from Pride & Prejudice, add a dash of poets and throw in some magic, and you have an entertaining read. It was quick-paced and enjoyable. I learned a little bit about the Luddite movement to boot. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to add some magic, intrigue, and little bit of Jane Austen.
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I am a novelist living in San Antonio, Texas, though, for the record, I am not from Texas. I just live here. I have four novels published: A Conspiracy of Paper (which won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel) and A Spectacle of Corruption were both national bestsellers. They are set in 18th century London and feature Benjamin Weaver, a Jewish former pugilist, thief-taker for hire. Weaver will be ...more
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“What had passed between them had been real and true and lived. Not like the silly infatuation she had felt for [him] when she was 16, or the foolish attraction she’d felt. Theirs had been a true love. Forged and built and earned.” 6 likes
“Lucy absently thanked him and at once began to consider which among her gowns would be best suited for a midnight adventure to a gothic castle.” 2 likes
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