Young Ivy Lockwell, the unmarried daughter of a family stricken with poverty after her magician father went mad, travels from her home in Invarel, a mirror of Austen-era London, to become a governess at the country estate of Heathcrest, a Bronte-analogue complete with mysterious Rochester stand-in, Mr. Quent. As a woman, she is forbidden to perform magic and consoles herself with the study of magical history, discovering an ancient story still working its will on the world. Treading a fine line between homage and unoriginality, Invarel occasionally sparkles with descriptions of illusionist shows and quasi-fascist government activity, but Heathcrest is lifted part and parcel from Jane Eyre, and Beckett relies too much on references to that work to fuel emotional arcs and reader attachment. (Aug.)
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