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Uncommon Charm

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A Champagne Gothic! Three days after I was expelled from the Marable School for Girls, our poor Simon arrived. In the 1920s gothic comedy Uncommon Charm, bright young socialite Julia and shy Jewish magician Simon decide they aren't beholden to their families' unhappy history. Together they confront such horrors as murdered ghosts, alive children, magic philosophy, a milieu A Champagne Gothic! Three days after I was expelled from the Marable School for Girls, our poor Simon arrived. In the 1920s gothic comedy Uncommon Charm, bright young socialite Julia and shy Jewish magician Simon decide they aren't beholden to their families' unhappy history. Together they confront such horrors as murdered ghosts, alive children, magic philosophy, a milieu that slides far too easily into surrealist metaphor, and, worst of all, serious adult conversation.


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A Champagne Gothic! Three days after I was expelled from the Marable School for Girls, our poor Simon arrived. In the 1920s gothic comedy Uncommon Charm, bright young socialite Julia and shy Jewish magician Simon decide they aren't beholden to their families' unhappy history. Together they confront such horrors as murdered ghosts, alive children, magic philosophy, a milieu A Champagne Gothic! Three days after I was expelled from the Marable School for Girls, our poor Simon arrived. In the 1920s gothic comedy Uncommon Charm, bright young socialite Julia and shy Jewish magician Simon decide they aren't beholden to their families' unhappy history. Together they confront such horrors as murdered ghosts, alive children, magic philosophy, a milieu that slides far too easily into surrealist metaphor, and, worst of all, serious adult conversation.

30 review for Uncommon Charm

  1. 5 out of 5

    charlotte,

    quiet, slice-of-life type historical fantasy, it was so lovely check out my full(er) review on ig Rep: Russian Jewish sapphic mc, Jewish gay mc, Jewish butch lesbian side character, Russian Jewish sapphic side character, gay side character CWs: past domestic abuse, implied past sexual abuse quiet, slice-of-life type historical fantasy, it was so lovely check out my full(er) review on ig Rep: Russian Jewish sapphic mc, Jewish gay mc, Jewish butch lesbian side character, Russian Jewish sapphic side character, gay side character CWs: past domestic abuse, implied past sexual abuse

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Effervescently witty and delicious with dark edges, like a Nancy Mitford story with more diversity and magic. The narrator, Julia, is 16 and finally starting to question the unspoken rules and shadowy history of her glittering 1920s community, just as her new best friend Simon is starting to question the rules and limits of his own magic by studying with Julia's ruthless magician mother. Some of the truths they find out are empowering, some are tragic, and they're all teased out so elegantly and Effervescently witty and delicious with dark edges, like a Nancy Mitford story with more diversity and magic. The narrator, Julia, is 16 and finally starting to question the unspoken rules and shadowy history of her glittering 1920s community, just as her new best friend Simon is starting to question the rules and limits of his own magic by studying with Julia's ruthless magician mother. Some of the truths they find out are empowering, some are tragic, and they're all teased out so elegantly and elliptically that I think it might take a second read for me to be absolutely certain that I've got it all straight - but that's not a critique, because I know I'll enjoy that second read, where I put all the seemingly casual details from the opening together to prove which of my theories is right. CW for the clear implication of abuse in a backstory (not the narrator's own story but one she's ferreting out and takes very seriously, as she should). Really, really clever and fun, and I'd love to read more in this setting.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dante Luiz

    "Uncommon Charm" has a fitting title, as it is odd and charming indeed. I liked reading a calmer fantasy, and the story uses its novella format very well—I love reading them, but a story feeling like an overexpanded short story or a crammed novel are my biggest literary pet peeves, and this didn't happen here at all. I also really liked Julia, and I'm glad the story embraced her more as the protagonist towards the end (as much as I liked her relationship with Simon, I thought he didn't shine as m "Uncommon Charm" has a fitting title, as it is odd and charming indeed. I liked reading a calmer fantasy, and the story uses its novella format very well—I love reading them, but a story feeling like an overexpanded short story or a crammed novel are my biggest literary pet peeves, and this didn't happen here at all. I also really liked Julia, and I'm glad the story embraced her more as the protagonist towards the end (as much as I liked her relationship with Simon, I thought he didn't shine as much as her). Thank you to the authors for providing an ARC.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Abi Walton

    I am really loving this year's Neon Hemlock novellas for 2022. This is the second one this month which I have devoured, and just like Let The Mountains be my Grave, Uncommon Charm kept me hooked in a time when I have no time for reading I am really loving this year's Neon Hemlock novellas for 2022. This is the second one this month which I have devoured, and just like Let The Mountains be my Grave, Uncommon Charm kept me hooked in a time when I have no time for reading

  5. 5 out of 5

    Siavahda

    3.5, rounded up.

  6. 4 out of 5

    A.

    Charming n delightful !!!!!! But there are sooooooo many ideas and intrigues in this book and then it just kinda ends. I want more!!!!!! Functions best as a proof of concept imo

  7. 5 out of 5

    M. A. Blanchard

    When I started this book, which is labelled on the publisher’s website as a “gothic comedy,” I wondered if there might be such a thing as a truly gothic story with a light and gladsome heart. This novella is certainly built of all things gothic—the great old houses, brimming with mystery and menace; the weight of dark and tragic pasts; the sense of something inexorable and inevitable building—and yet its fundamental sweetness and good humour subvert these classic tropes into something new. This When I started this book, which is labelled on the publisher’s website as a “gothic comedy,” I wondered if there might be such a thing as a truly gothic story with a light and gladsome heart. This novella is certainly built of all things gothic—the great old houses, brimming with mystery and menace; the weight of dark and tragic pasts; the sense of something inexorable and inevitable building—and yet its fundamental sweetness and good humour subvert these classic tropes into something new. This isn’t to say that Uncommon Charm is not possessed of gravity. Indeed, its frothy silliness and the acidly comedic voice of its narrator quite belie the heft of its themes, such that said themes slowly creep up on readers and catch them all unaware. This only serves to heighten the novella’s effect. As always, I do not want to say too much in this review and spoil any of the story. I will say, though, that this is a lovely read for people who like stories about characters escaping cycles and refusing to be weighed down by the burdens of a past with which they did not have any involvement. This is, too, a lovely story about friendship, family, and learning to fully inhabit one’s own life while taking care not to neglect the other lives one impacts. Funny and touching in equal measures, Uncommon Charm is both a pleasurable diversion and a genuinely thoughtful meditation on the value of choice and self-determination. I received a free digital ARC of this title from the publisher to cheer me up when I was sick with COVID-19 (thanks, dave, it really did cheer me up). All opinions are my own, though I am undeniably a Neon Hemlock fangirl and probably not very objective about their titles.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alex (soulfullyalex)

    Thank you so much to the author for an eARC of this title. I really enjoyed this book. It was quiet and cozy, and was exactly what I needed. I have really been loving cozy, soft books that are just a soft place to land. I loved Julia and Simon. Julia was wild and so much fun. I loved that she was just absolutely herself regardless of what anyone thought about her. Simon was quiet and shy, but I loved watching him slowly open up to Julia and for them to develop a beautiful friendship together. Thi Thank you so much to the author for an eARC of this title. I really enjoyed this book. It was quiet and cozy, and was exactly what I needed. I have really been loving cozy, soft books that are just a soft place to land. I loved Julia and Simon. Julia was wild and so much fun. I loved that she was just absolutely herself regardless of what anyone thought about her. Simon was quiet and shy, but I loved watching him slowly open up to Julia and for them to develop a beautiful friendship together. This was a short little story with so much heart. It honestly did not go in the direction that I expected it to, but I really enjoyed that. I loved watched the two friends explore their worlds and lives together, and confide in each other. The magic in this story was also so interesting and mysterious. I really loved how that mystery and magic was so normal and natural but kept mysterious in a lot of ways. I have really been enjoying books that give me those slice-of-life feelings, and this was no different. I loved seeing snippets of Julia and Simons lives and how they learned and grew together. Overall, the vibes of this book were impeccable and I loved it. Rating: 4.5/5 stars

  9. 5 out of 5

    August

    Am I biased about this book? Completely. I have been indulged in visiting the universe of Julia, Simon, and the Family K for two decades now, so any opportunity to return to this subtle and breathless place is one I will seize willingly. Uncommon Charm is infinitely charming for taking the common and tipping it, just so, to allow a curious viewer to see the sparkle off the facets. A hungry reader may find that they go away from reading this book believing, in fact, in magic. (P.S. This only took Am I biased about this book? Completely. I have been indulged in visiting the universe of Julia, Simon, and the Family K for two decades now, so any opportunity to return to this subtle and breathless place is one I will seize willingly. Uncommon Charm is infinitely charming for taking the common and tipping it, just so, to allow a curious viewer to see the sparkle off the facets. A hungry reader may find that they go away from reading this book believing, in fact, in magic. (P.S. This only took me so long to read because I wanted to savor it and realized I had library books nearly due that I wanted to get through. This book was delicious to experience a few chapters at a time, though I found myself cruising through the latter half in a single evening.)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Dang

    A witty and charming gothic story featuring a sapphic main character and her gay best friend, and just so much representation! This is a story set in the 1920s, following a girl who has been expelled from school and has returned home where she meets her new best friend Simon, a magician. Together they will test Simon’s magical limits as well as uncover dark family secrets and ghosts. This was a charming read that just sucked me right in. Our protagonist Julia is very likable, she’s charming and A witty and charming gothic story featuring a sapphic main character and her gay best friend, and just so much representation! This is a story set in the 1920s, following a girl who has been expelled from school and has returned home where she meets her new best friend Simon, a magician. Together they will test Simon’s magical limits as well as uncover dark family secrets and ghosts. This was a charming read that just sucked me right in. Our protagonist Julia is very likable, she’s charming and fun and Simon was a sweet best friend. Brimming with mystery, magic, and tragic pasts as well as hope well humor and sweetness, this was such a lovely read and I would highly recommend it!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Wagner

    Chaotic magic mixes with the decadence of Russian aristocracy in this sparkling tale. While there are darker depths beneath its facets, a witty narrator and a host of drawing room adventures give this a brilliance and verve that will brighten your heart and keep you turning pages through to the very end. The best way to describe it? Charming. Utterly charming!

  12. 4 out of 5

    mar

    loved this entirely!! the magic system, the characters, the jewishness, the queerness, the froth of the setting punctuated by lurking darkness. absolutely the most fun i've had reading anything in ages. loved this entirely!! the magic system, the characters, the jewishness, the queerness, the froth of the setting punctuated by lurking darkness. absolutely the most fun i've had reading anything in ages.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Uudenkuun Emilia

    There was certainly charm to this, but the writing felt a bit vague to me at times - perhaps it was just me reading this during a heat wave, but I was often a bit confused as to the characters' motivations and what precisely was going on. There was certainly charm to this, but the writing felt a bit vague to me at times - perhaps it was just me reading this during a heat wave, but I was often a bit confused as to the characters' motivations and what precisely was going on.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Vin

    Short and sweet.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Ford

    Charming is the right word! This is not typically my genre but I was captivated by Julia right away. I'd love to read more about this family! Charming is the right word! This is not typically my genre but I was captivated by Julia right away. I'd love to read more about this family!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    A charming, enchanting read!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Charming, gorgeous, funny, I wish there were more of this novella!!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Frances

    Sweetly charming, I think. :)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

  20. 5 out of 5

    rosie

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lira

  22. 4 out of 5

    Isaurathewriter

  23. 5 out of 5

    júlia

  24. 4 out of 5

    Gail

  25. 5 out of 5

    Holly

  26. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

  27. 4 out of 5

    Other Rachel

  28. 4 out of 5

    Roseanna Pendlebury

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carl

  30. 5 out of 5

    Elias Eells

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