Steadfast (The Elemental Masters #9) by Mercedes Lackey
Katie Langford, a contortionist and dancer in the circus flees an abusive marriage and finds shelter with a clan of Travelers. Here she learns that she apparently is a drabarni, she has magic. After consultation with the clan matriarch she decides to go to Brighton, hopefully far enough away from the circus path to be safe.
Lionel Hawkins, an Air Magician, is ensconced at the Palace Music Hall in Brighton as a leading act. Using various personas he is a fixture unlike others of his kind.
Jack Prescott the doorman is a wounded ex soldier from Boer War and a Fire Magician.
Katie ends up as Hawkin's assistance. It turns out that she is an untrained possessor of fire magic.
Katie has been referred to as an Edwardian 'sleeping beauty'. Edwardian yes, but 'sleeping beauty?' Really? That possibility just didn't occur to me. Maybe I'm having an off day or maybe it's too tortuous a path to pursue.
Of course the fiend of a husband, the brutal Dick turns up and Katie's life looks like it will degenerate into the previous hell she has known.
However, this time Katie has friends.
I must admit I was very taken with the all powerful fire elemental that appears to her.
I am puzzled about the help that didn't materialize from the Elemental Masters. There is an expressed opinion between Lionel and Jack that the masters don't bother much about the less powerfully gifted group of mages. Still I felt that this divide between the powerful and the not so powerful somehow goes against the loftier ideals we've seen expressed in previous novels.
A non taxing read.
Fans of Lackey like me will read this even though it is more than a tad predictable.