Monday, August 25, 2014

Sorcery and Cecelia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot

Just when I begin to despair of whether I have read all the good books, I find something new and delightful. It really is a joy to live in a world of so many imaginative and talented authors!

While browsing through a local science fiction and fantasy store, I came across this enchantingly titled volume. The text on the back intrigued me, and my adopted big brother who was with me insisted on purchasing it for me. I'm quite glad he did, because I have enjoyed every minute of reading this book and could hardly wait to finish so that I could recommend it to my blog readers!

There are many books that are presented as "Jane Austen with Magic" but I must say, "Sorcery and Cecelia" by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Steverner is the first one I've read that really feels like it could have been written in Austen's voice. Well, Cecelia and her cousin, Kate, are more mischievous than Elinor Dashwood, but I do think they'd be marvelous friends with Catherine Moreland.

"Sorcery and Cecelia" is an epistolary novel, consisting of a letter exchange between Cecelia in the country and Kate in the city. The girls stumble upon a magical conspiracy full of aggravating young men, mysterious charms, false betrothals, and a brother turned into a tree. Plus, of course, that enchanted chocolate pot...

(I quite want a proper chocolate pot now, thank you very much.)

The girls' voices are charming and witty, their escapades betraying true intelligence and a talent for magic, which they pursue under the wary eyes of a pair of stern maiden aunts - but are even aunts all that they appear?

With Regency and Victorian magical and steampunk alternative worlds being so popular these days, I had assumed that this book was penned recently. Imagine my surprise when I discovered it is actually older than me - perhaps why I enjoyed it so much, as it didn't fall prey to the modern tropes in the genre. Furthermore, it was actually born of a letter exchange between the two authors, each writing in one girl's voice. The plot was not developed ahead of time, and they did not intend it to be a book until they concluded the adventure and realized it really worked quite well and with a tad of editing could be presented to the masses. (The entire story is related in the back of the book - at least in the edition I had).

If you have the least inclination for humorous magical stories with intriguing adventures, mysteries and romances, I heartily urge you to track down a copy of this novel. I already have the other books in the series reserved at the library and can hardly wait to continue the adventures of Kate and Cecelia!

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