When Cynthia takes a parcel round to her neighbour’s, little does she know she’ll never see her parents again. Miss Hatfield tricks her into drinking a drop from the Fountain of Youth and Cynthia become immortal. She has become the seventh Miss Hatfield but first, she must complete a task; to retrieve a painting from 1887. And immortality always comes with a price.
This is Anna Caltabiano’s second novel, written by the age of seventeen! She should be praised for a light and enjoyable Victorian tale, with a dash of fantasy. However, based on the blurb, I expected more of a focus on the fantastical but once Miss Hatfield has travelled back, she’s there for the long term. Her immortality might sway her final decision but she could be any imposter in a Victorian home.
Saying that, I liked the imposter story. She’s attempting to steal a painting from the Beauford household when she is mistaken for Mr Beauford’s niece. She goes along with it, as does his son, Mr Henley, who is quite taken with the mystery of it all. She does seem to fit quite well in the time, I would have liked a little more awkwardness on her part, trying to adjust to a different way of life. Maybe that’s why Anna chose to take her from the 50’s and not now. Less of a culture shock.
I felt the writing improved as the story progressed. It could be argued that the simplistic voice of the first few pages is that of the young Cynthia, as the sixth Miss Hatfield does say her speech and mannerisms were aged too. The style suits a prim and proper young lady of the turn of the century. However, the case falls through a bit when you remember Cynthia was displaced from the 1950’s.
The Seventh Miss Hatfield is published by Gollancz and will be available in hardback and ebook editions from 31st July 2014. Pre-orders on the ebook are only £1.99 (offered by a variety of retailers including Hive) so make sure you order early! Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.
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Shelve next to: Soulless by Gail Carriger + The Falconer by Elizabeth May
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.