Set in a magic world that resembles Victorian London, with a few fairies hanging around for good measure, we first meet protagonist Nimira while dancing with a troupe of “trouser girls”. Nirmira is a noble-born foreigner from the exotic land of Tassim. After losing her mother and seeing her father disgraced, Nimiria is forced to dance for low wages and even lower respect. Then her knight in shining armor arrives- the handsome, wealthy and recently widowed Hollin Perry. He hires Nimira to sing with his enchanted automaton on piano accompaniment. A life of leisure with a handsome man as her benefactor seems like the perfect path until Nimira discovers the automaton is haunted. Add to that the dark forbidding Perry estate, the nasty, suspicious housekeeper and curious, frightening wonders Nimira finds when she arrives, readers are all set for a deliciously dark exploration into this world of magic.
The most intriguing character in the story is Erris, the automaton- a clockwork man who, when wound, plays any song set in front of him. It is no surprise that as soon
as he is alone with Nimira he comes to life, grunting and gesturing. Unafraid like the other girls Hollin has hired, Nimira immediately attempts communication. She discovers Erris is a fairy prince trapped inside the machine. This fresh scenario set inside a familiar plot is what makes this novel worth picking up.
Dolamore's style also sets her apart. Mimicking her 19th Century setting, her prose has a hint of Bronte with a current fast-paced speed. Teens who may not yet be ready to tackle the likes of Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice, would do well to start with Magic Under Glass. The book is short enough to read in a weekend (just under 200 pages) and is appropriate for some middle grade readers as well. Any conflict in the book is usually verbal and the one time the housekeeper strikes out at our protagonist
the worst that happens is a stinging burn. For those that like a gritty visceral look into the magic world, this book is not for you. Like her prose, the characters are delicate, civil and just plain nice to each other. As far as epic world building goes, this book sets it's sights elsewhere. Though one won't explore new worlds, the familiar one presented here allows you to concentrate on character and plot. If you like a little fantastical sprinkled into your English tea party, this is your book.
Overall, I did enjoy the read, which can be found on Amazon. Dolamore has a sequel, Magic Under Stone, slotted for April 2012. I think it will be worth the $8.99 to see where Dolamore takes us.