Monday, August 13, 2012

Sorcery & Cecilia: Or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot

I forgot to mention that for me, the weekend is Saturday-Monday since I only work Tuesday-Friday.  Therefore I am excused for my tardiness in posting my review.  ;)

An interesting tidbit about the authors and the creation of this book, before I begin:

Patricia Wrede (who wrote such lovely books as Dealing with Dragons and Searching for Dragons) and Caroline Stevermer (who wrote A College of Magics and River Rats) began this story as a letter game.

The Letter Game is a gloriously fun way to concoct a story, since you write from the perspectives of the characters and further the plot from their letters to each other.

In this Letter Game (which is simply correspondence between cousins in the novel), Kate and Cecilia are bemoaning the fact that one of them is in London (coming out in Society) while the other is in the country.  A faint whiff of magic unites them in the purpose of uncovering several secrets revolving around their neighbors.

The story twists and bends and finally intertwines, and all resolves in a highly satisfying conclusion.

I love re-imaginings and alternate histories, and this one did not disappoint.  Think Jane Austen (romantic mix-ups, high society, wit and hilarity) and Magic (of the old children's literature type -- Mary Poppins or Bedknobs and Broomsticks).  A delightful, charming mix of laugh-out-loud hijinks and capers with a dash of thrilling intrigue, peppered with romance and sorcery.

I am thrilled to discover that there are two more books in the series (published in 2004 and 2006) and I intend to beg the library for them in short order.

And just for the fun of it, here's a taste of the epistolary style:

"...I wish Aunt Elizabeth were not so set against my having a Season this year.  She is still annoyed about the incident with the goat, and says that to let the pair of us loose on London would ruin us both for good, and spoil Georgy's chances into the bargain.  I think this is quite unjust, but there is no persuading her.  (I believe the fact that she would have been obliged to share a house with Aunt Charlotte, should she and I have come to London this year, may have contributed to her decision.)"

Isn't that charming?  It reminds me (maybe because they chose a similar font) of Joan Aiken at her best -- The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.

Have you read Sorcery & Cecilia?  Do these few sentences intrigue you?  What alternate history fascinates you?

I'll see you Wednesday for a new weekly segment -- until then!


  1. So, I was reading some of your past posts, and you promised more on Harry Potter/Hufflepuff, but I haven't seen any! When is it coming? ;-)

  2. Hi Lissa! Thanks for remembering -- I'm halfway through Goblet of Fire so a post is probably happening sometime next week. :D

    I've got tons of notes! Crazy how much Hufflepuff is present -- who knew?!