The Wolf Mirror by Caroline Healy
Cassie throws the first punch in a brawl at Winchester Abbey Girl’s School. Her subsequent suspension is a glitch in Cassie’s master plan; Finish School/Get Job/Leave Home (and never come back). As punishment her mother banishes her to Ludlow Park, their creepy ancestral home. In the dark of a stormy night Cassie finds herself transported to 1714, the beginning of the Georgian period. With the help of a lady’s maid and an obnoxious gentleman, Mr Charles Stafford, Cassie must unravel the mysterious illness afflicting Lord Miller. If Lord Miller kicks the bucket the house goes to Reginald Huxley, the brainless cousin from London. Cassie’s task is to figure out who is poisoning the Lord of Ludlow without exposing herself to the ridicule of her peers, getting herself committed to the asylum or worse, married off to the first man who will have her. Cassie must learn to hold her tongue, keep her pride in check and reign in her rebellious nature – because the fate of her entire family, for generations, rests on her shoulders.
Meanwhile, Lady Cassandra Miller frantically searches for her smelling salts or her trusted governess Miss. Blythe, whose soothing advice she would dearly love. Instead Cassandra finds some woman and a boy squatting in the Ludlow mansion; her father, her lady’s maid and all the servants have magically disappeared. Tell-a-vision, the In-her-net, horseless carriages and women wearing pantaloons; Cassandra is afraid that she might have inhaled fowl air causing her to temporarily lose her senses. Only when both girls can get over their pride, societal prejudices and self-importance will they be able to return to their rightful century. Until then, they are free to wreak maximum damage on their respective centuries.
This YA novel, The Wolf Mirror by Caroline Healy, was an interesting read. The idea of the book intrigued me and the author did a pretty good job detailing the differences between present-day and the early 18th century. Cassie and Cassandra were interesting characters - I would have loved more interaction with Lady Cassandra in present-day, as I think the humor level of her trying to fit in would have been worth the extra word count. I do understand the book was about Cassie, and really her issues, but developing Lady Cassandra would have been worth it.
I don't read many YA novels, so I'm not sure how they typically flow, but this novel seemed to skip pertinent information - or assume you already knew something. The author was fond of introducing plot twists and new characters without leading them in, which I found confusing at times.
Overall, I think most of the characters were well-developed and the story was cute and entertaining. I enjoyed the time travel and learning about the early 18th century. I must say, I second Cassie's issue with showing covered ankles! I did enjoy the final chapter as the author wrapped up the story and tied the remaining story lines up. I give this book 3.5 stars.
About the author: Caroline Healy is a writer and community arts facilitator. She recently completed her M.A. in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queen’s University. She alternates her time between procrastination and making art.
In 2012 her award winning short story collection A Stitch in Time was published by Doire Press. Fiction and commentary has been featured in publications across Ireland, the U.K. and more recently in the U.S. Caroline’s work can be found in journals such as Wordlegs,The Bohemyth, Short Story Ireland, Short Stop U.K., Five Stop Story, Prole, Literary Orphans and the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice
Her debut Y.A. novel, Blood Entwines was published by Bloomsbury Spark in August 2014 and she is in the process of writing the second book in the series, Blood Betrayal, as well as a short story collection, The House of Water.
She has a fondness for dark chocolate, cups of tea and winter woollies.
(More details can be found on her website www.carolinehealy.com)
The Wolf Mirror
written by Caroline Healy
expected publication February 2017