The Magicians and Mrs. Quent by Galen Beckett
Seriously, this is like 3 books. And they're each pretty different.
Part one is VERY Pride and Prejudice. Almost too much. I mean, you've got the awful cousin that the house is entailed to (very Mr. Collins) and the grand lady whose patronage he seeks/has who (in a positively Lady Catherine manner) insists that conversations not be had so quietly and so far away from her. You also have the whole "taking ill at the affair the young woman has been invited to so that she has to stay a few days" thing.
You also have the young gentleman of too much fortune, making a match a disastrous thought. Though, really, he somehow resembles an Oscar Wilde rascal (you know, the one that Rupert Everett always plays sooooo well) more than Mr. Darcy.
Now don't get me wrong, I love PandP, but if that's what I want, that's what I'll read... or I'll pop disc 2 in... hmmmm Colin Firth.... I wonder if my kids would mind if we watched that instead of Playhouse Disney....
Part two is a bit Jane Eyre. Not too much, thankfully. Though the shift in style is enough to disorient the reader. (Parts one and three are third person, part two is first.)
Part three feels fabulously original. Well, as original as you can get in the "solve the problem, save the world" vein. :D
One overall frustration, though, was the sometimes way to obvious plugging fantasy names in place of the Greek and calling it Tharosian. Kinda.... lazy... in terms of writing. I totally understand that it's a way easy pitfall to get stuck in. Worldbuilding in writing can be really tricky. But really? Saying that "planet" is from the Tharosian word for "wanderer"... yeah. The word planet is from the Greek for wanderer. See what I mean?
But, in spite of it all, I really liked the book. (The irritation of the nonoriginal stuff keeps be from giving it the full 5 stars, but still.)
In the spirit of being better about including summaries, here's what the Reader's Choice pamphlet has to say on the matter--
"Set in an alternate fantasy world, The Magicians and Mrs. Quent has overtones of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. Ivy Lockwell, the bookish eldest of three daughters, is desperate to save her magician father from the madness that has overwhelmed him. Taking employment as a governess, she hopes to find a key to save him while working for the mysterious Mr. Quent."
Okay, now that I've typed all that, it strikes me that it's not, in fact, a fabulous summary. Sigh.
The characters are interesting; the storyline is quite good. There will be a sequel! Which I'm excited about.
The idea of the lengths of days and nights constantly varying would drive me absolutely batty. Really. Wouldn't it drive you nuts to have to consult a book to find out how long the night was going to last?