The Twelfth Enchantment was a treasure to discover in an airport bookstore and read. It is definitely an Austenite novel with a magical twist. David Liss gives us a world that is fascinating yet touches on the depressing and dangerous times of the 19th century. For people who love this time period of literature Liss has written the prose for Regency England but weaved an intriguing adventure riddled with compelling and engaging characters. Liss must have had fun introducing “bad girls” and an enjoyable portrait of Lord Byron. Is he the good guy or the bad guy? Lucy, our heroine, definitely tries to rival Elizabeth Bennet’s place in history. (As a spoiler there are actual Austen characters in this novel!) Plus, you have to love a book that has an attacking tortoise.
The Twelfth Enchantment is definitely a romantic historical with a magical and gothic twist. There was a moment when I was reading the novel and I just started laughing because it was hilarious to think that a novel that was structured and almost an homage to Jane Austen also talked about Lord Byron pissing in the corner of his run down castle and the heroine was trying desperately to not listen to his splashing.
I would recommend this novel to lovers of Jane Austen, Jonathan Strange, Deborah Harkness, and Katherine Howe. They share that wonderful gothic and historical flair and are more beloved with each read. I am excited to see what Liss will write us in the future.