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March 16, 2011

M.J. Putney: Lady Victoria Addresses You

Posted by jordana
Putney, MJ_CREDIT Eileen Buckholtz.JPGdark mirror.jpgIn M.J. Putney's DARK MIRROR, magic is not revered, it is despised. When Lady Victoria's secret is revealed, she is sent to a place to be cured of her abilities. Today, will play audience to Lady Victoria Mansfield, as she shares with us the start of her story.
DARK MIRROR by M. J. Putney
England, 1803
Good day, my friends.  I’m Lady Victoria Mansfield, which sounds very grand, but really, my friends all call me Tory.  When I reached my 16th birthday, my thoughts turned to making my London debut, which would not only be delightful, but give me the chance to survey the Marriage mart to find the best possible husband. 

As the daughter of an earl, I could look very high, but I’d rather have a love match like my sister Sarah.  Of course, she’s tall and blond and beautiful and I am short and dark and—I look well enough, but beautiful?  No. 

For years I rather fancied Edmund Harford, heir to the estate next to my father’s, and he was starting to show interest in me.  It would be a decent match, and our families would approve.  But before that could happen, I should make my bow in London.

Then came the Dreadful Incident that ended life as I knew it.  I’d been raised as a proper young lady, meaning I despised mages and considered that magic was a rather vulgar skill that could be hired when necessary.  It would certainly never, ever be practiced by a man or woman of good birth.

I was truly horrified when I discovered that I had magic.  Apparently my Russian great grandmother was suspected of magical power, though of course no one would talk about such a thing.  But there I was, floating above my bed after a flying dream, and unable to deny that my blood was tainted with magic.
I was able to conceal my despicable talent for a time, but then came the Dreadful Incident, and I was revealed as a mage in front of every important person in the county.  My father, the Earl of Fairmount, always does the proper thing, and in this case, that meant sending me off to Lackland Abbey the very next day. 

The abbey exists to cure magically cursed young members of the aristocracy.  I’d heard of it, of course, but it never occurred to me that would ever end up exiled there!

At first I hated Lackland and wanted nothing more than to leave.  But then I discovered the Irregulars—students who embrace their magic, and swear oaths to use their power to defend Britain.  With Napoleon just across the English Channel and slavering to invade England, that’s in a compelling goal. 

As the descendant of warriors, I believe I have a duty to help my nation in any way I can even though I am only a girl.  Among the Irregulars, I found friendship, and the handsome and enigmatic Marquess of Allarde, the highest rank student at Lackland, looking at me when he thinks I’m unaware.  I find myself looking back, though doing so makes me feel very fast.

If I embrace my magic, I shall lose all chance to return to the life I knew and loved.  I was still wondering what to do when terror catapulted me into another time and place where England faced another threat across the channel.  Magic has largely been forgotten, but these Englishmen in 1940 desperately need powers like ours.

Can my friends and I help?  We’re about to find out…..