Dark Mirror: A Novel by M. J. PutneyDark Mirror: A Novel by M. J. Putney

Dark Mirror: A Novel

byM. J. Putney

Paperback | March 1, 2011

Pricing and Purchase Info

$20.62 online 
$32.99 list price
Earn 103 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store

Out of stock online

Not available in stores


Lady Victoria Mansfield, youngest daughter of the earl and countess of Fairmount, is destined for a charmed life. Soon she will be presented during the London season, where she can choose a mate worthy of her status.

Yet Tory has a shameful secret-a secret so powerful that, if exposed, it could strip her of her position and disgrace her family forever. Tory's blood is tainted . . . by magic.

When a shocking accident forces Tory to demonstrate her despised skill, the secret she's fought so hard to hide is revealed for all to see. She is immediately exiled to Lackland Abbey, a reform school for young men and women in her position. There she will learn to suppress her deplorable talents and maybe, if she's one of the lucky ones, be able to return to society.

But Tory's life is about to change forever. All that she's ever known or considered important will be challenged. What lies ahead is only the beginning of a strange and wonderful journey into a world where destiny and magic come together, where true love and friendship find her, and where courage and strength of character are the only things that determine a young girl's worth.

Dark Mirror is M.J. Putney's first young adult novel, and it's enthralling-an historical fantasy that's both fast-paced and deeply moving.

M. J. Putney is the author of the young adult fantasy novel Dark Passage. As Mary Jo Putney, she is the New York Times bestselling author of historical romances. M. J. is fond of reading, cats, travel, and most of all, great stories.
Title:Dark Mirror: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.72 inPublished:March 1, 2011Publisher:St. Martin's PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0312622848

ISBN - 13:9780312622848

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very interesting I really enjoyed the writing in this, and the pace was so fast which I think had something to do with why I finished it so quickly. Every chapter starts right in the action and there is no time wasted. The story was very unique and like nothing I had read before, although rather short. And I really enjoyed the female lead, Tory. In a lot of YA romance today the female leads tend to be too ordinary, probably to encourage the readers, "This could happen to you too." But its rather unrealistic that a powerful, handsome prince or vampire will fall in love with an unremarkable girl. There was this awesome moment where Tory started to realize that the tall, dark, and handsome stranger was giving her too much attention, and instead of blushing and getting all flustered, she said, "Is it my imagination, or do you often watch me in a way that is not casual?" Haha, I love her for that! She is so gutsy. The main downside to this book is the romance and the romantic interest, Allarde. He catches her eye almost immediately and we know that that is the setup to making him the romantic interest of the book. But then it takes several chapters before they meet, and then they have very few interactions. Their relationship doesn't start to develop until over half way through the book. But that isn't a bad thing if you're not reading it for the romance. It focuses mostly on Tory's adventure for the first half, and that's ok. Once the romance does start, it is sweet, but underdeveloped and rushed. As is Allarde. I don't feel like we really know him as a character, only as an extension of Tory. It is unfortunate that I have found so few YA romance as fully and realistically developed as in The Iron King. But, Allarde has potential and I look forward to discovering his character more in Dark Passage.
Date published: 2018-01-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Nice Mix of Historical Fiction and Magic M.J. Putney's YA debut Dark Mirror sends the Dark Passage series off to a solid start, easily blending historical fiction and the wonders of magic! Rich with beautiful descriptions of early nineteenth century England and another time period I have no intention to disclose so you can be surprised to learn it yourself, it's a novel which will simply pull you back in time! In a time when magic is strictly considered only for commoners, it is highly frowned upon for the nobility to possess such magical abilities. So when Lady Victoria "Tory" Mansfield is forced to reveal her recently discovered talents as a mage in a heroic effort, she's immediately sent to Lackland Abbey, a reform school where she'll learn to suppress her abilities among other young members of aristocracy until she can re-enter high society once again. But once Tory arrives at Lackland Abbey, she'll find herself questioning everything she ever believed in and that magic isn't easily something you just hide away... I liked the growth shown in Tory over the course of the novel, from a girl who only did what she was told and what her parents expected her to do... to an independant young woman who was not afraid to be herself and take charge of the situation. She was well-rounded and kind to others, and even self-sacrificing at times if it meant she could help someone. Just as readers are introduced to a world a of magic, so too is Tory. So it was a learning process for the both of us as Tory comes to understand the gift that magic really is... instead being something to be ashamed of like she had always believed. While I did enjoy reading Dark Mirror, there were still some areas I found rather weak. The romance between Tory and Allarde unfolds very quickly and after only a handful or interactions, these two characters found themselves falling for each other. A bit more flirtation and depth would have been nice to really give me something that was more believable. I would have also liked some more tension in the novel and greater conflicts for Tory and her friends to overcome as the challenges which did arise seemed solved rather easily... Although elements such a romance, history, magic, and even time traveling are not new, M.J. Putney combines them in a wonderful way that is very much original. Dark Mirror will proved to be an enjoyable read which will easily pass the time! I'm hoping that some of the characters which faded in the background of the story will make a return along with Tory and company in the next novel, Dark Passage, which is due to be released later this year. You can also read this review at: http://midnightbloomreads.blogspot.com/2011/03/dark-mirror-by-mj-putney.html
Date published: 2011-03-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Dreaming of Books Review (May Contain Spoilers) M.J. Putney’s YA debut takes place in regency England where there magic in the world which is commonly used by the lower classes but is shunned by the elite and upper class. When Lady Victoria Mansfield accidentally reveals her powers, her father is quick to protect the family reputation and sends her off to Lackland Abbey, a reform school for privileged children. There they learn to suppress their magical abilities and hopefully one day be able to return to their families. The reason Tory’s powers were exposed in the first place was because she did something very heroic and it ended up saving a life. The result was disappointment and disgust from her father, friends and neighbours and also society but she doesn’t regret it one bit. It really shows what kind of character she is--strong, brave and self-sacrificing. Cynthia who is Tory’s roommate is pretty much the opposite. They get off on the wrong foot but by the end there’s a big turnaround with her character. Two characters that I wanted to more of was Elspeth and Allarde. Elspeth Tory become friends at Lackland and she was present through a lot of the story but her character wasn’t a big focus and mostly left in the background. There is an eventual romance between Tori and Allarde. The first time they’re introduced there’s a spark between the two and an instant connection. My problem was that there wasn’t enough interaction between the two until the later half of the book so the romance didn’t feel believable to me and I just wasn’t feeling it. With the title of “Dark Mirror” and also having a mirror on the cover I knew the mirror would be an important object in the story. It’s a time travelling story but instead travelling back in time Tory and some of her fellow students are able to travel to the future and help England in the time of WWII. Tory and her friends do manage to use their magic to help out and by the end most of the loose ends are tied up so I’m curious to see where M.J. Putney will take the story in the next book as it is the first book in a series.
Date published: 2011-03-06

Read from the Book

DARK MIRROR (CHAPTER 1)England, 1803Lady 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 doorway, 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 wellborn young ladies.And yet … guilt was written as plain as day on the countess’s lovely face. When the countess 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 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 prisonlike 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.Tory struggled not to panic. She couldn’t go to Lackland Abbey. Even when students were cured and sent home, they were considered tainted, like the madmen at Bedlam Hospital.Uneasily she remembered a story whispered by her best friend, Louisa Fisk. The daughter of a baron from nearby Devon had been sent to Lackland after her family discovered she was a mageling. The girl had been betrothed from birth to the son of a family friend, but the betrothal had been broken immediately.When the girl finally left Lackland, she’d been forced to become a governess. A year later, she walked off a cliff.Tory’s bedside candle cast enough light to reveal her dim reflection in the mirror opposite her bed. The rest of the family was tall and blond, while Tory was petite and dark-haired. The countess always said her dark hair, slim build, and slightly tilted eyes had come from her Russian grandmother. Tory rather liked her exotic looks. It was horrible to know they might have come with despicable magical ability.But the magic didn’t show. With her wide eyes and a glossy night braid falling over the shoulder of her lace-trimmed white nightgown, she looked like any normal, harmless schoolroom girl.Her gaze traveled around her bedroom. Her beautiful, grown-up room, redecorated as a present for her sixteenth birthday because Mama had said she was a young lady, and a lady’s room might make her less of a tomboy.Tory loved the rich moldings, the elegant rose-patterned brocade upholstery, the carved walnut posts that supported the matching brocade canopy of her bed. It was the bedroom of a young lady who would soon be presented to society and would have her pick of the most eligible young men in England.Her mother had given her this beautiful room but failed to warn her that she might be cursed with magic. It was damnable!Tory shivered, wanting nothing more than to crawl into bed and pull the covers over her head. But she must discover if she truly did carry the taint of magic.She sat on the edge of her bed and imagined herself flying as she had in her dream. She felt a fluttering in her midriff, but to her relief, nothing happened. She remained solidly on the bed.But was she trying hard enough? She closed her eyes and thought of herself floating in the air. She concentrated so hard that her head began to ache. Still nothing.She wasn’t a mage. It was some kind of misunderstanding!Then the inner fluttering stabilized with a silent click. Dizziness—and Tory shrieked as her head bumped a yielding surface. Her eyes snapped open and she saw that her head was pushing into the bed’s brocade canopy.Shocked, she fell, bouncing from the edge of the mattress onto the soft Chinese carpet. Knees bruised, she got to her feet and tested herself again. This time she kept her eyes open as she consciously sought that inner change.Click! She rose from the carpet with alarming speed. Too fast!With the thought, her movement slowed and she floated gently up to the ceiling. She felt light and no longer afraid as the air supported her as softly as a feather mattress.For an instant, excitement blazed through her. She could fly!Her pleasure vanished instantly. Wielding magic was vulgar. Dishonorable, even. Noble families like Tory’s were the descendants of kings and warriors. Mages were mere tradesmen like blacksmiths and seamstresses. A Mansfield would rather starve than go into trade.Yet the pulse of magic that held her in the air felt so good. How could it be evil?Her lips tightened. Teachers and vicars invariably said that feeling good was the mark of sin. She must never fly like this again.But before she put magic away forever, Tory wanted to explore her amazing, appalling new ability. She tried to swoop across the room as she’d done in her dream, but the best she could manage was drifting a little faster.She looked down onto the top of her bed’s canopy. Ugh! Dead bugs. She’d tell a maid to take the canopy down for cleaning.Tory drifted along a wall until she reached one of the carved angels set in each corner of the room. This close, she saw patches where the gilding had peeled away from the wood. The bare spots weren’t visible from floor level.She wasn’t really flying, she decided. Not like a bird, not like a Turk on a flying carpet. But she could float safely and control her direction and speed if she concentrated.Her new ability wasn’t very useful, apart from allowing her to get books from the top shelves in her father’s library. Tiring, Tory descended too fast and banged hard on the carpet.She winced as she rubbed the stinging sole of her right foot. She must take more care in the future.…No! She would never fly—float—again. Doing so was wrong, and exhausting as well. Tory could barely manage to climb the steps up into her bed.Tory rolled into a ball under the covers, shivering despite the warm night. It was impossible to deny the truth. She, Lady Victoria Mansfield, youngest of the Earl of Fairmount’s three children, had been cursed with magic from her unknown great grandmother.But she wouldn’t let it ruin her life. She wouldn’t!DARK MIRROR Copyright © 2011 by Mary Jo Putney, Inc.

Editorial Reviews

"Absolutely riveting. Putney creates a vivid historical fantasy and delivers a page-turning read." -RT Book Reviews

"Putney, an award-winning adult romance author, keeps the pace fast, adds a dash of suspense and shines a friendly light on history while providing plenty of entertainment in her first novel for teens." -Kirkus Reviews