MJPutney_DarkMirror_800Dark Mirror Returns!

by Mary Jo

Authors cherish our books because we love them, since it takes love to keep working when a story turns feral.  But all is forgiven when the book is finished and alive.  This is why I'm so pleased to be reissuing my Dark Mirror Young Adult trilogy with a terrific new set of covers designed by the amazing Kim Killion. (I liked the original cover as well, which is below, but the new ones are more dynamic.)

The series was partially inspired by the parallels between the Napoleonic and World War. In both eras, Britain stood alone against a Continental tyrant who wanted to conquer the world.  The English Channel saved the British Isles from invasion, but it was a near run thing.

I've always loved fantasy and I've enjoyed writing stories that include magic and the challenges of wielding it. In an era of Harry Potter popularity, I had the contrarian idea that it would be fun to write about a school that didn't teach magic, but tried to suppress it because aristocrats despised it.

 

My first story on that theme was THE MARRIAGE SPELL (not currently available, though I will release it eventually.)  I'd intended that book to launch a new series, but my publisher wasn't interested in continuing with it, so I moved to Kensington to write straight historical romance with no magic.

But I still liked the idea of a series set at an anti-Hogwarts school.  Then one of my editors suggested that it would make a good YA series. Bingo!   A whole new series would give me the chance to use the parallels between the Regency and WWII.  To connect those eras, I'd have to use time travel. I'm not particularly fond of time travel books, but if that's what it takes to make a story work, I'll do it. <G>

 The series was published under the name M. J. Putney to indicate that it wasn't what I usually write, but honorable characters and their adventures are typical of my stories, and people who started Dark Mirror rather warily have ended up telling me that they loved it.  (This is an argument for how important an author's voice is.  If you like my historical romance voice, you may well like my young adult paranormal historicals!)                     

Dark Mirror, first in the series, establishes the world and the characters. The DarkMirror--Final HIGH REZprotagonist is sixteen year old Lady Victoria Mansfield.  Horrified to find that she has  reviled magical abilities, she vows to conceal them, but she is forced to reveal her budding talents to save a life. She's rewarded for her courage by being banished to Lackland Abbey, a grim school where magically gifted young aristocrats are sent to be 'cured' of their appalling talents.

Tory is determined to be cured as quickly as possible so she can return home to what remains of her normal life, but her exile becomes her destiny when she find Merlin's Irregulars, a secret group of students who work together to master their abilities, and who are sworn to serve their country. 

Tory makes friends, falls in love, and discovers a time portal to 1940 Britain, where her country is being hammered by Nazi forces.  Though terrified,  Tory leads a group of her friends to the future, where they must use their power to save their country, even if it means facing danger from the guns of Dunkirk….

Dark Passage will be released on August 26 and Dark Destiny will be published on September 23rd.  Both are available for preorder. Print and audio versions of all three books will be released soon, but here's a sample of the Dark Mirror.

Somersetshire, England, 1803

            Lady Victoria Mansfield flew high, high over her family’s estate.  Arms and legs outstretched, long skirts fluttering around her knees as she gloried in her freedom and in the soft, scented wind.

             She laughed with delight as she saw the familiar Somersetshire hills from above.  Here was the vast stone length of her home, Fairmount Hall, there the beautiful gardens that ran to the bluffs. Waves crashed far below and gulls soared at Tory’s height, their cries haunting. 

            She swooped down to investigate the round stone dovecote.  Doves squawked in protest when she flew inside.  Startled, she almost plunged to the ground.

            Concentrate on staying aloft.  With a giddy rush, Tory swooped up again, soaring through the door of the dovecote and into the sky.  Perhaps she should fly to the nearby estate of the Harford family.  The Honorable Edmund Harford was the eldest son and heir to his father’s title and property. 

            She’d always admired Edmund.  He was back from university for the summer and she wanted him to see that she had grown.  Perhaps he’d think she was almost as pretty as her older sister, Sarah.

            Tory banked into the wind and turned east toward the Harford estate. 

A horrified cry shocked her awake. 

Jolted from sleep, Tory realized she was floating a yard above her rumpled bed, terrifyingly unsupported.  Her mother, the Countess of Fairmont, stood in the door, her expression horrified. “Victoria,” she breathed. “Oh, please, no!”

            Tory glanced up into the canopy above her head.  A spider had spun a web in the corner, and the ugly creature was looking right at her. 

She shrieked and crashed down on the bed, her breath whooshing out as she flopped onto her stomach.  Shaken and afraid, she pushed herself up with her arms.  She couldn’t really have been flying!  “What…what happened?” 

            “You were flying.”  Her mother closed the door, her white-knuckled hand locked around the knob.  “Don’t ever do that again!” she said, voice shaking.  “You know how society feels about mages.  How…how your father feels about them.”

            “I can’t be a mage!” Tory gasped, shocked by the impossibility of her mother’s words. “I’m a Mansfield.  We’re not magical!” 

At least, not that Tory had ever heard.  Seeing the countess’s guilty expression caused her to ask incredulously, “Mama, have there been mages in our family?” 

Such a thing wasn’t possible.  It just wasn’t!  Magic corrupted, and she wasn’t corrupt.  Yes, she’d felt herself changing as she grew to womanhood.  Strange dreams, new desires.  But those were just growing pains.  Not magic!

            Tory refused to believe her mother could be a mage.  Lady Fairmount was considered the greatest lady in the county, an example to all well-born young ladies.

And yet… guilt was written plain as day on the countess’s lovely face.  When she refused to reply, Tory’s world began to crack beneath her. 

“Do you have magical ability?” she said, shocked and desperately unwilling to believe such a thing.  Yet looking back…  “You always knew what we were doing.  Geoff and Sarah and I thought you had eyes in the back of your head.” 

            “There were rumors,” her mother whispered, tears shining in her eyes.  “About my Russian grandmother, Viktoria Ivanova.  The one you’re named for.  She died when I was very small so I didn’t really know her, but…it’s possible she brought mage blood into the family.”

            Tory’s namesake had poisoned the blue-blooded Mansfield family with magic?  And Tory might suffer for that?  It wasn’t fair

Feeling utterly betrayed, she cried, “How could you not warn me?  If I’d known I might have magic, I could have guarded against it!” 

            “I thought you children had escaped the taint!  I have very little power.  Scarcely any at all.  It seemed better not to worry you about what was such an unlikely possibility.”  Lady Fairmount was literally wringing her hands.  “But…you look rather like Viktoria Ivanova.  You must have inherited some of her talent.”

Tory wanted to howl.  Voice breaking, she said, “I’ve never floated like this before.  It’s just a freak, something that will never happen again, I swear it!”

The countess looked deeply sad.  “Magic appears when boys and girls grow to adulthood.  It’s hard to suppress, but you must try, Victoria.  If your father finds out, he’ll certainly send you to Lackland.” 

Tory gasped in disbelief.  Though children of the nobility who had magic were often sent to the prison-like school called Lackland Abbey, surely she wouldn’t be forced to leave her friends and family!  “You’ve managed to hide your power from everyone, and so can I.  I’m another whole generation away from Viktoria Ivanova,”  Tory drew a shaky breath.  “No one will ever know about me, either.”

            “The ability to fly is not minor magic,” her mother said, expression worried.  “You may find it harder to hide your abilities than I have.”

            “I wasn’t flying!” Tory protested.  “I always toss and turn when I’m sleeping.”  Knowing how feeble that sounded, she continued, “If I am cursed with magic, I’ll learn to control it.  You always said I was more stubborn than Geoffrey and Sarah put together.” 

            “I hope you succeed,” her mother said sadly.  “If your ability becomes known, I don’t think I’ll be able to save you from Lackland Abbey.  God keep you, my child.”  Silent tears fell unchecked as she backed from the room, closing the door behind her. 

Leaving her daughter alone in a shattered world.

MJPutney_DarkPassage_800Here are a couple of quotes:

"Absolutely riveting…Putney creates a vivid historical fantasy and delivers a page turning read." 

            RT Book Reviews

"I loved it! Dark Mirror begins a charming Regency paranormal time-travel saga featuring Tory (Lady Victoria), a clever and talented young woman who discovers her magical strength and helps a band of gallant young mages travel in time to save the world. Exciting, adventurous, romantic, and delightful!”

NY Times bestselling author Jennifer Ashley

Dark Mirror was nominated by YALSA ( the Young Adult Librarian Association) as one of the best YA novels of the year.

Dark Mirror also includes "Fallen from Grace," a bonus short story set in the Dark Mirror MJPutney_DarkDestiny_800world. I'll be giving away a copy of Dark Mirror to one person who leaves a comment between now and Tuesday midnight. (Sorry, US only.)

Mary Jo, hoping you'll give the story a try, and that you enjoy it!

110 thoughts on “”

  1. I have all my original copies! I have always enjoyed these books. They are typicallt “you” even though they aren’t your typical novels.

    Reply
  2. I have all my original copies! I have always enjoyed these books. They are typicallt “you” even though they aren’t your typical novels.

    Reply
  3. I have all my original copies! I have always enjoyed these books. They are typicallt “you” even though they aren’t your typical novels.

    Reply
  4. I have all my original copies! I have always enjoyed these books. They are typicallt “you” even though they aren’t your typical novels.

    Reply
  5. I have all my original copies! I have always enjoyed these books. They are typicallt “you” even though they aren’t your typical novels.

    Reply
  6. Mary Jo, what an enjoyable excerpt! I like YA novels, and this is a wonderful series’ release. The new covers are riveting.

    Reply
  7. Mary Jo, what an enjoyable excerpt! I like YA novels, and this is a wonderful series’ release. The new covers are riveting.

    Reply
  8. Mary Jo, what an enjoyable excerpt! I like YA novels, and this is a wonderful series’ release. The new covers are riveting.

    Reply
  9. Mary Jo, what an enjoyable excerpt! I like YA novels, and this is a wonderful series’ release. The new covers are riveting.

    Reply
  10. Mary Jo, what an enjoyable excerpt! I like YA novels, and this is a wonderful series’ release. The new covers are riveting.

    Reply
  11. Good morning, Mary Jo!
    Thanks for reminding me about this wonderful, touching series…I think it’s about time for me to re-read it.
    And I DO hope The Marriage Spell will be available again at some point, because it’s one of my all-time favorites of yours, right up there with Spiral Path and Silk and Secrets, which (happily for other readers) are already available.
    Cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  12. Good morning, Mary Jo!
    Thanks for reminding me about this wonderful, touching series…I think it’s about time for me to re-read it.
    And I DO hope The Marriage Spell will be available again at some point, because it’s one of my all-time favorites of yours, right up there with Spiral Path and Silk and Secrets, which (happily for other readers) are already available.
    Cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  13. Good morning, Mary Jo!
    Thanks for reminding me about this wonderful, touching series…I think it’s about time for me to re-read it.
    And I DO hope The Marriage Spell will be available again at some point, because it’s one of my all-time favorites of yours, right up there with Spiral Path and Silk and Secrets, which (happily for other readers) are already available.
    Cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  14. Good morning, Mary Jo!
    Thanks for reminding me about this wonderful, touching series…I think it’s about time for me to re-read it.
    And I DO hope The Marriage Spell will be available again at some point, because it’s one of my all-time favorites of yours, right up there with Spiral Path and Silk and Secrets, which (happily for other readers) are already available.
    Cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  15. Good morning, Mary Jo!
    Thanks for reminding me about this wonderful, touching series…I think it’s about time for me to re-read it.
    And I DO hope The Marriage Spell will be available again at some point, because it’s one of my all-time favorites of yours, right up there with Spiral Path and Silk and Secrets, which (happily for other readers) are already available.
    Cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  16. P.S. I agree! These YA series covers are gorgeous, compelling, and probably irresistible. I know I’d have bought them on the strength of your name plus the cover art.
    More cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  17. P.S. I agree! These YA series covers are gorgeous, compelling, and probably irresistible. I know I’d have bought them on the strength of your name plus the cover art.
    More cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  18. P.S. I agree! These YA series covers are gorgeous, compelling, and probably irresistible. I know I’d have bought them on the strength of your name plus the cover art.
    More cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  19. P.S. I agree! These YA series covers are gorgeous, compelling, and probably irresistible. I know I’d have bought them on the strength of your name plus the cover art.
    More cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  20. P.S. I agree! These YA series covers are gorgeous, compelling, and probably irresistible. I know I’d have bought them on the strength of your name plus the cover art.
    More cheers,
    Faith

    Reply
  21. I read the series while cooped up during the pandemic, Mary Jo, and really enjoyed it. Hope the new covers bring in lots of new readers!

    Reply
  22. I read the series while cooped up during the pandemic, Mary Jo, and really enjoyed it. Hope the new covers bring in lots of new readers!

    Reply
  23. I read the series while cooped up during the pandemic, Mary Jo, and really enjoyed it. Hope the new covers bring in lots of new readers!

    Reply
  24. I read the series while cooped up during the pandemic, Mary Jo, and really enjoyed it. Hope the new covers bring in lots of new readers!

    Reply
  25. I read the series while cooped up during the pandemic, Mary Jo, and really enjoyed it. Hope the new covers bring in lots of new readers!

    Reply
  26. Thanks so much for this fascinating post. the covers are lovely. I have always wished I could fly.
    Hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  27. Thanks so much for this fascinating post. the covers are lovely. I have always wished I could fly.
    Hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  28. Thanks so much for this fascinating post. the covers are lovely. I have always wished I could fly.
    Hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  29. Thanks so much for this fascinating post. the covers are lovely. I have always wished I could fly.
    Hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  30. Thanks so much for this fascinating post. the covers are lovely. I have always wished I could fly.
    Hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

    Reply
  31. Sue, how cool that you have the original editions of the series! I’m glad you think that the stories are ‘me’ even though I usually write different things. I thought the books sounded like me, but I’m not the best judge *G*

    Reply
  32. Sue, how cool that you have the original editions of the series! I’m glad you think that the stories are ‘me’ even though I usually write different things. I thought the books sounded like me, but I’m not the best judge *G*

    Reply
  33. Sue, how cool that you have the original editions of the series! I’m glad you think that the stories are ‘me’ even though I usually write different things. I thought the books sounded like me, but I’m not the best judge *G*

    Reply
  34. Sue, how cool that you have the original editions of the series! I’m glad you think that the stories are ‘me’ even though I usually write different things. I thought the books sounded like me, but I’m not the best judge *G*

    Reply
  35. Sue, how cool that you have the original editions of the series! I’m glad you think that the stories are ‘me’ even though I usually write different things. I thought the books sounded like me, but I’m not the best judge *G*

    Reply
  36. Camille, I hope you enjoy the series. It take time for Tory to adjust to her ability to fly, but it serves her well through the series.
    Your name has an unusual spelling. Maltese, possibly?

    Reply
  37. Camille, I hope you enjoy the series. It take time for Tory to adjust to her ability to fly, but it serves her well through the series.
    Your name has an unusual spelling. Maltese, possibly?

    Reply
  38. Camille, I hope you enjoy the series. It take time for Tory to adjust to her ability to fly, but it serves her well through the series.
    Your name has an unusual spelling. Maltese, possibly?

    Reply
  39. Camille, I hope you enjoy the series. It take time for Tory to adjust to her ability to fly, but it serves her well through the series.
    Your name has an unusual spelling. Maltese, possibly?

    Reply
  40. Camille, I hope you enjoy the series. It take time for Tory to adjust to her ability to fly, but it serves her well through the series.
    Your name has an unusual spelling. Maltese, possibly?

    Reply
  41. Mary Jo! These books sound wonderful! I liked both of The Dark Mirror covers but it’s always good to update your wardrobe.

    Reply
  42. Mary Jo! These books sound wonderful! I liked both of The Dark Mirror covers but it’s always good to update your wardrobe.

    Reply
  43. Mary Jo! These books sound wonderful! I liked both of The Dark Mirror covers but it’s always good to update your wardrobe.

    Reply
  44. Mary Jo! These books sound wonderful! I liked both of The Dark Mirror covers but it’s always good to update your wardrobe.

    Reply
  45. Mary Jo! These books sound wonderful! I liked both of The Dark Mirror covers but it’s always good to update your wardrobe.

    Reply
  46. I loved this series and remember waiting anxiously for each to come out.
    I wish you had continued with the Marriage Spell genre.

    Reply
  47. I loved this series and remember waiting anxiously for each to come out.
    I wish you had continued with the Marriage Spell genre.

    Reply
  48. I loved this series and remember waiting anxiously for each to come out.
    I wish you had continued with the Marriage Spell genre.

    Reply
  49. I loved this series and remember waiting anxiously for each to come out.
    I wish you had continued with the Marriage Spell genre.

    Reply
  50. I loved this series and remember waiting anxiously for each to come out.
    I wish you had continued with the Marriage Spell genre.

    Reply
  51. I totally agree. I loved the Dark Trilogy and I adored the Marriage Spell. Maybe the time would now be ripe to try Fantasy Romance again?

    Reply
  52. I totally agree. I loved the Dark Trilogy and I adored the Marriage Spell. Maybe the time would now be ripe to try Fantasy Romance again?

    Reply
  53. I totally agree. I loved the Dark Trilogy and I adored the Marriage Spell. Maybe the time would now be ripe to try Fantasy Romance again?

    Reply
  54. I totally agree. I loved the Dark Trilogy and I adored the Marriage Spell. Maybe the time would now be ripe to try Fantasy Romance again?

    Reply
  55. I totally agree. I loved the Dark Trilogy and I adored the Marriage Spell. Maybe the time would now be ripe to try Fantasy Romance again?

    Reply
  56. To quote a favorite author, “I’m not particularly fond of time travel books”, but since that author is YOU, Mary Jo, and since the parallels between the Napoleonic Wars and WWI and II are also fascinating, I will be starting Dark Mirror tonight and have pre-ordered the others in the series. I’m also on vacation with my sister and niece, both of whom love time travel stories, and who are now ordering their own copies. We’ll be having regular discussions on the beach, I am sure!

    Reply
  57. To quote a favorite author, “I’m not particularly fond of time travel books”, but since that author is YOU, Mary Jo, and since the parallels between the Napoleonic Wars and WWI and II are also fascinating, I will be starting Dark Mirror tonight and have pre-ordered the others in the series. I’m also on vacation with my sister and niece, both of whom love time travel stories, and who are now ordering their own copies. We’ll be having regular discussions on the beach, I am sure!

    Reply
  58. To quote a favorite author, “I’m not particularly fond of time travel books”, but since that author is YOU, Mary Jo, and since the parallels between the Napoleonic Wars and WWI and II are also fascinating, I will be starting Dark Mirror tonight and have pre-ordered the others in the series. I’m also on vacation with my sister and niece, both of whom love time travel stories, and who are now ordering their own copies. We’ll be having regular discussions on the beach, I am sure!

    Reply
  59. To quote a favorite author, “I’m not particularly fond of time travel books”, but since that author is YOU, Mary Jo, and since the parallels between the Napoleonic Wars and WWI and II are also fascinating, I will be starting Dark Mirror tonight and have pre-ordered the others in the series. I’m also on vacation with my sister and niece, both of whom love time travel stories, and who are now ordering their own copies. We’ll be having regular discussions on the beach, I am sure!

    Reply
  60. To quote a favorite author, “I’m not particularly fond of time travel books”, but since that author is YOU, Mary Jo, and since the parallels between the Napoleonic Wars and WWI and II are also fascinating, I will be starting Dark Mirror tonight and have pre-ordered the others in the series. I’m also on vacation with my sister and niece, both of whom love time travel stories, and who are now ordering their own copies. We’ll be having regular discussions on the beach, I am sure!

    Reply
  61. Katja–Sadly, my historical fantasy novels didn’t sell very well, which is the bottom line in any business. Some people loved the combination of history and magic as much as I did, but more people didn’t. So I returned to straight historical romances, which more of my readers prefer. I have cats to feed and need to be practical!

    Reply
  62. Katja–Sadly, my historical fantasy novels didn’t sell very well, which is the bottom line in any business. Some people loved the combination of history and magic as much as I did, but more people didn’t. So I returned to straight historical romances, which more of my readers prefer. I have cats to feed and need to be practical!

    Reply
  63. Katja–Sadly, my historical fantasy novels didn’t sell very well, which is the bottom line in any business. Some people loved the combination of history and magic as much as I did, but more people didn’t. So I returned to straight historical romances, which more of my readers prefer. I have cats to feed and need to be practical!

    Reply
  64. Katja–Sadly, my historical fantasy novels didn’t sell very well, which is the bottom line in any business. Some people loved the combination of history and magic as much as I did, but more people didn’t. So I returned to straight historical romances, which more of my readers prefer. I have cats to feed and need to be practical!

    Reply
  65. Katja–Sadly, my historical fantasy novels didn’t sell very well, which is the bottom line in any business. Some people loved the combination of history and magic as much as I did, but more people didn’t. So I returned to straight historical romances, which more of my readers prefer. I have cats to feed and need to be practical!

    Reply

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