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Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot Paperback – September 1, 2004
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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"A cult epistolary fantasy . . . Beguiling."--Kirkus Reviews
"Older girls who have outgrown Harry Potter will like their slightly rebellious natures, the magical twists and turns, and especially the humor and quick pace."--The San Diego Union-Tribune
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It's an epistolary novel, where the story is told in letters between two friends and cousins when one (Kate) is hauled into London for her season while Cecy stays home and finds things are a bit more interesting than she expected.
This is basically the Regency world of Heyer, if Heyer had written a Regency world that included magic. Each author took a character, so you get a clear idea of each character.
It's also pretty funny, especially when the two get involved in magical doings with all sorts of consequences, including a couple of young men. As with Heyer's work (and Austen's) there are several romances, including one that is somewhat unexpected, a bit of kerfuffle and a happy ending.
Read it when you want a well written Regency or fantasy (or both) with a happy ending, engaging characters and a lot of fun along the way.
In short, I've loved everything of Wrede's I've encountered. Sorcery and Cecelia in particular.
The concept is clever. The presentation is fun, with the women writing back and forth to each other. Their "voices" are distinct and their correspondence is very chatty at times. I like that part.
However, I feel as if the author tried to bring too many elements into the story. And, at times, I felt like I was reading a mix of irrelevant "news" and... well, kind of an information dump. It's not that the clues were dropped heavy-handed, but sometimes the context was a little jarring. It's difficult to explain, but -- for me, anyway -- those elements broke up the flow of the reading.
I recommend this book, anyway, as a clever approach... and sort of a mash-up of Regency and cozy mystery, with some metaphysical and Gothic elements thrown in.
Regency purists may flinch at the mix. Though this book is light, it's not Marion Chesney's style. It's a little more contemporary (modern) and kind of fun. However, it has a "first book" feeling to it, though the innovative concepts make up for the occasional disconnect in style.
The magic elements propel the plot and are very satisfying for readers who love romance with a touch of real magic.
On the subject of romance. It may be just the spate of books I've read recently, but I am sick and tired of pages and paragraphs of sizzling sparks, intense looks and brooding smirks - a pitiable condition in my view - ad infinitum ad nauseam. This book handles two romances gently with just the right amount of swooning. And, what a pleasure it is to read a book from authors who can manage this.
I enjoyed this thoroughly and encourage you to try it, too.