Magic Below Stairs by Caroline Stevermer

54378745Lynn: This beguiling book is set in the same world and with some of the same characters as one of my favorite series that began with Sorcery and Cecelia or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot (Houghton 2003). Written by Stevermer with Patricia Wrede the books are set in an alternate regency England where magic works. Think Georgette Heyer meets Diana Wynne Jones. Magic Below Stairs (Penguin/Dial 2010) written just by Stevermer features 11-year-old Frederick recruited from a miserable orphanage to become a footman in the magician Lord Schofield’s home. Unbeknownst to Frederick, a brownie, Billy Bly, has taken a liking to him and aids with small bits of magical assistance, including making Frederick unparalleled in his skill with Lord Schofield’s cravats. But bigger magic is at work in the form of a nasty leftover curse that will bring great harm to the magician. Frederick teams up with Billy to thwart the curse and save the magician in a most satisfying conclusion.

This thoroughly engaging book stands quite nicely on its own but is also a treat for fans of the series with its below stairs inhabitants’ perspectives. This really is a charming romp and the door is clearly open for more magical adventures with Frederick, his feisty friend Bess and Billie Bly. I can’t wait.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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