Short Story: The Disastrous Début of Agatha Tremain

The last thing Agatha Tremain wants to do is leave her solitary study of magic behind to make a glittering social début in London. When she’s forced into town by her sinister aunt, though, she discovers she’s not the only girl who doesn’t fit in there – and everything she’s ever believed about magic may be wrong.

A witty, romantic Victorian fantasy novelette about a girl determined to claim her own power…and the unexpected romance that she finds along the way!

Published as an ebook at all major online retailers on February 14, 2018.

Previously published as “The Unladylike Education of Agatha Tremain” in the anthology Willful Impropriety: 13 Tales of Society, Scandal and Romance and in Inscription Magazine.



At the age of sixteen, Agatha Tremain let down her skirts, pinned up her hair, and set herself to running her father’s household. Her first step was to forge her father’s signature and dismiss her hated governess. Miss Blenheim left with her perfectly straight nose held high in the air, trailing bitter premonitions of disaster like wriggling serpents in her wake.

Agatha’s second step was to teach herself magic, using the books in her father’s library as her guides. The first time Agatha entered the library to find an introductory text, her father looked up at her with vague approval from his customary seat by the fireplace. When Sir Jasper’s eyes focused on the book she took from the shelves, though, his normally mild face darkened into anger.

“Do take great care with that work, my dear. There are no fewer than five different points of contention in his arguments, and three outright fallacies. I should hate to see you taken in by such folly.”

“I’ll take care, Papa,” Agatha promised. She stepped off the wooden stepladder, brushing dust off her fingers. “I shan’t believe anything without proper evidence.”

“I’m very glad of it. But, I say…” Sir Jasper blinked. “I don’t mean to be rude, but are you permitted to be in here at all? I thought that creature Blaggish — Blagmire—”

“Miss Blenheim?” Agatha waited for his nod. “I sent her packing this morning. I’m old enough to look after myself now.”

“What a relief. I never could abide that woman.” He began to subside back into his chair, but an expression of sudden surprise halted him mid-movement. “Good Lord, I am hungry. Have I missed luncheon, by any chance?”

“You’ve been in here for two days, Papa.” Agatha sighed. “I’ve ordered a hot supper for you. The servants should bring it shortly.”

“Oh, good. I was afraid I might have to leave.”

Her father settled happily back into his book. Agatha pulled up a second armchair beside him. Carelessly crushing her skirts beneath her, she set her booted feet upon the footstool in front of the fire and began to read with a feeling of vast contentment…

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