When the Emerald disappears one stormy night, Newt sets off to recover it. Her plan entails dressing up as a man, mustache included, as no well-bred young lady should be seen out and about on her own. While in disguise, Newt encounters the handsome but shrewd Major Harnett, who volunteers to help find the missing Emerald under the assumption that she is a man. Once she and her unsuspecting ally are caught up in a dangerous adventure that includes an evil sorceress, Newt realizes that something else is afoot: the beating of her heart.
In Newt’s Emerald, the bestselling author of Sabriel, Garth Nix, takes a waggish approach to the forever popular Regency romance and presents a charmed world where everyone has something to hide.
This book was light, fluffy, and thrilling – just what I needed to get out of my reading slump. Newt’s Emerald follows the adventure of Lady Truthful, who has just recently turned eighteen. However, just when her father the Admiral brings out a family heirloom, the Newington Emerald, to pass it onto her, strange weather creeps in, taking the emerald along with its departure. Thus begins an exciting journey to find the emerald in a regency setting with touches of magic scattered about. Even more exhilarating is the fact that Truthful will be dressing up as a man to aid in her search for the emerald!
‘But I don’t think…’ said Truthful. ‘I’m not sure… do you think I can be disguised as a man?’
‘Bah! The disguise itself is nothing,’ replied Lady Badgery. ‘A little sorcery, a bandeau pulled tight… it is the behaviour that is most difficult… that is, according to accounts… or so I believe.’
Newt’s Emerald isn’t really that long, and definitely set at a quick pace. I know I as a reader was turning the pages in anticipation to whatever happens to Truthful next. Truthful decides to have her Season early in order to search for the emerald, and it’s amusing to see her switch from a debutante at day to a religious Frenchman at night. (She’s disguised as her French cousin to ward off suspicions.) Not too long into her search, and Truthful stumbles upon the help of a certain army officer… or is he? All is not what it seems! While Truthful meets with the officer Charles as her cousin Henri, Charles isn’t exactly too forthcoming with his real identity either. Soon enough, their combined search turns them towards a sorceress who uses malignant magic.
Given the light nature of the book, we don’t really delve too deep into the magic or politics. However, readers do see the slight espionage going on, as during this time the British are still trying to keep Bonaparte from attacking. This adds for a little subplot that corresponds nicely with the story behind the missing emerald, and sudden appearance of characters like Charles.
Lady Truthful is definitely goals. She grew up with brother-like figures, the Newington-Lacy’s, and was taught some pretty “manly” (during the time) things. I loved seeing her in action, like punching a pirate or breaking free from a barrel (yup, some wild adventures going on). At the same time, she could be a spoiled and polished lady as well. I also enjoyed the rest of the characters like her aunt (who assists with her costume) and the Newington-Lacy brothers. There is also a light romance in the book that is plenty adorable.
All in all, Newt’s Emerald was a particularly diverting book with fun, lovable characters and a hilarious adventure that was quick and to-the-point. The abrupt ending left me stupefied for a second just because it was so sudden, but other than that I highly enjoyed it! There were some predictable moments throughout the story, yet even so, I still enjoyed the refreshing, magical regency read.