The truth is that, when I'm reading for pleasure, a quiet corner of my brain counts off Goodreads stars. And for the first half of the book my starcount hovered around three. Prose: pleasant, a little too smug with its Austenite stylings. Plot: compelling, but a bit heavy-handed.But then it so happened that I didn't want put the book down until I finished it. And in fact, I was charmed to revisit all those Jane Austenesque and Susanna Clarkeish characters again, and not too put off by the liberties taken with Mary Crawford and Lord Byron. And while the "third way" philosophy of the book reminded me too much of first-year-grad-student philosophizing, I have to commend the book for its careful consideration the period's culture clashes, particularly concerning the limitations of mobility and finances that even a magical unmarried woman would negotiate.So, four stars, and now I threaten to undo the virtue of Buying a New Paperback from a Brick-and-Mortar Store by offering to lend this book to any Jane or magical fiction fans that want a pleasure read.