Goodreads: Kat, Incorrigible
Series: Kat #1
Kat Stephenson’s family lives just on the edge of polite society, thanks to their mother’s not-so-secret witchcraft. Her Stepmama has spent years trying to mold Kat and her two sisters into proper young ladies, hoping time will erase the community’s memories. But then Kat discovers her mother’s magic mirror and her sister Angeline finds their mother’s old spell books. Can they find a way to save their older sister Elissa from marriage with a villain?
“I was twelve years of age when I chopped off my hair, dressed as a boy, and set off to save my family from impending ruin.
I made it almost to the end of my front garden.”
Kat, Incorrigible is a delightful book set in an alternate-Regency era where magic exists–but proper young ladies do not practice. Kat Stephenson’s mother was a witch, however, so it is, or course, only a matter of time before Kat and her sister Angeline discover her old books and enchanted artefacts. Wild adventures ensue as the two try to save their sister Elissa from sacrificing herself in marriage to the old Sir Neville, rumored to have killed his last wife. Two girls practicing magic they cannot control can only end in disaster!
Though readers and critics seem to associate the book with Jane Austen due to the time period it is set in, the book has little to do with Austen. It does not offer a witty critique of the upper classes of society. Instead, it delights in showing a twelve-year-old girl flaunting all the rules of propriety and attempting to fight various magical members of society all by herself. As the story progresses, the events become increasingly dramatic–maybe even melodramatic. I think Austen would have died before she wrote some of these scenes. But that isn’t to say they aren’t rather funny.
It stands to reason that we do not see much of society since Kat is only twelve and not yet in society. The focus, then, is more on her family. I loved her relationship with them, from her avowed love of her good-for-nothing brother (because he is her brother, after all) to her frequent spats with her sisters–even though they know they are all on the same side. Even her relationship with her father (absentminded) and her Stepmama (tense) develop more depth over the course of the story as she comes to know them a little better. In the end, the family may have its flaws and they may disagree, but they always support each other–and that is beautiful.
Yes, I think some of the events of this story are ridiculous. And, yes, some of the twists are incredibly predictable. Still, it is a fun read. It never tries to take itself seriously, only to make readers laugh. As a humorous play on the social mores of the Regency era, it is ultimately successful.