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A great deal is happening in London and the country this seasonFor starters, there s the witch who tried to poison Kate at the Royal College of Wizards There s also the man who seems to be spying on Cecelia Though he s not doing a very good job of it so just what are his intentions And then there s Oliver Ever since he was turned into a tree, he hasn t bothered to tell anyone where he isClearly, magic is a deadly and dangerous business And the girls might be in fear for their lives if only they weren t having so much fun I first read this book a bajillion okay, fifteen years ago and remembered nothing about it which makes sense, since I was like nine When I found this hiding on my shelves, I decided to give it another visit, since I was in a terrible slump, and OMG I cannot recomment this DELIGHTFUL little treat of a bookIt s Regency fun with ADDED MAGIC and hilarious, wonderful narrators Kate and Cecelia, cousins and best friends, exchange letters in an alternate 1817 England where young men run th I first read this book a bajillion okay, fifteen years ago and remembered nothing about it which makes sense, since I was like nine When I found this hiding on my shelves, I decided to give it another visit, since I was in a terrible slump, and OMG I cannot recomment this DELIGHTFUL little treat of a bookIt s Regency fun with ADDED MAGIC and hilarious, wonderful narrators Kate and Cecelia, cousins and best friends, exchange letters in an alternate 1817 England where young men run the risk of turning into trees and beaux may be stolen by young ladies gifted in sorcery Seriously, this book SPARKLES it s so full of life and so charming and vivid and hilarious, and the heroines are so fiendishly clever and sensible and are always stepping in when their love interests bungle everything God, I love this book All the stars ever It s an instant mood lifter and a classic for a reason.Fuller review TK A magical marquis, his suspicious friend, and a pair of strong willed and mischievous young ladies get entangled in Regency era England Their story is told entirely in epistolary form, as lifelong friends Kate and Cecilia exchange letters Kate is experiencing her first Season in London, while Cecy is left home in the country But life gets unexpectedly complicated when both Kate and Cecy meet up with Thomas aka the Mysterious Marquis and his friend James, who are trying to stop a dark magica A magical marquis, his suspicious friend, and a pair of strong willed and mischievous young ladies get entangled in Regency era England Their story is told entirely in epistolary form, as lifelong friends Kate and Cecilia exchange letters Kate is experiencing her first Season in London, while Cecy is left home in the country But life gets unexpectedly complicated when both Kate and Cecy meet up with Thomas aka the Mysterious Marquis and his friend James, who are trying to stop a dark magical plot that endangers them all Vauxhall and vouchers to Almacks are mixed with spells that turn people into trees and a magical blue porcelain chocolate pot This novel is noteworthy for having its genesis in a Letter Game between the two authors, each of them writing to the other in the character of one of the girls, and neither of them knowing what the other would be writing back to in response to their latest letter With some post game trimming and polishing, they actually ended up with a publishable novel.Given that each author was writing as a specific character, it s interesting that both of the girls voices sounded so much alike to me It was a little difficult to distinguish between Kate in the city and Cecy in the country, except that Cecy has discovered she has some magical skills and Kate has somehow found herself in an engagement of convenience Notwithstanding the post game editing, I could also see several bits and pieces of the plot that didn t really lend themselves to the work as a whole, and the plot occasionally got a little confused and muddled and I don t think it was just me However, the story overall is a fun, light Regency, with some nice bits of magic and witty dialogue between the characters Some of the humor was truly delightful, like when Cecy writes to Kate Aunt Elizabeth and I called at the vicarage yesterday and spent a stimulating afternoon listening to the Reverend Fitzwilliam discourse on the Vanities of Society and the Emptiness of Worldly Pleasures Aunt Elizabeth hung on every word, and we are to return and take tea on Thursday I am determined to have the headache Thursday, if I have to hit myself with a rock to do it.There are even a few deeper moments, like when Kate is examining a magical chessboard with enameled pieces I bent close to admire the detail of the white queen s cloak I could see the black tipped ermine and jumped Oh, it moved I exclaimed for as I watched, the queen had taken a step to her left, to a black square, where her cloak showed to best advantage As I stared, the white knight beside her stepped aside politely to clear the next square That s not a proper knight s move, I protested They re just wandering around at random Lady Sylvia smiled This is the King s pride and joy, she explained, but the enchantment merely animates the pieces It doesn t instruct them in the finer points of play How dreadful, I replied, to be caught up in a game and have no idea of the rules It s not a plight unique to this chess set, Lady Sylvia observed dryly.A light read, but clever and enjoyable, with just a little romance One of my all time favorite books, Sorcery and Cecelia started out as a letter game between two brilliant writers The authors clearly enjoyed themselves and the resulting novel is a joy to read, both as a story and as a window into the fun experienced by to marvelous authors Set in Austen like 1817 England, which just happens to have some very polite magic rolling around, the plot is largely driven by excellent characterization, two strong heroines, and a great deal of humor There are several One of my all time favorite books, Sorcery and Cecelia started out as a letter game between two brilliant writers The authors clearly enjoyed themselves and the resulting novel is a joy to read, both as a story and as a window into the fun experienced by to marvelous authors Set in Austen like 1817 England, which just happens to have some very polite magic rolling around, the plot is largely driven by excellent characterization, two strong heroines, and a great deal of humor There are several ditty like romances, and a tidy little ending that makes for an amuse bouche of a read tasty and bite sized There are two follow up books, however, this one stands beautifully alone Highly recommended A perfectly charming little epistolary tale with a number of problems This is the story of Kate and Cecelia does this spelling of the name bother anyone else I had to type that name three times before I got it right, it seem so unnatural two cousins who are seperated for a few months while one experiences the London Season, and the other stays on their country estate, and write letters back and forth to each other Kate falls into the path of an evil magician, Cecelia trips over related mag A perfectly charming little epistolary tale with a number of problems This is the story of Kate and Cecelia does this spelling of the name bother anyone else I had to type that name three times before I got it right, it seem so unnatural two cousins who are seperated for a few months while one experiences the London Season, and the other stays on their country estate, and write letters back and forth to each other Kate falls into the path of an evil magician, Cecelia trips over related magical problems of her own plotting and hijinx to follow Appropriate males are found to counterpart them, and we re off The good bits The wannabe Jane Austen voice was fairly good, there were several witty one liners that were laugh out loud worthy, there were some truly excellent capers, and I appreciated the spirit of both the young ladies Also, it really does captivate you and for the most part sweep you away I finished this book in a matter of a few hours If you shut your brain off and enjoy it as a light, fluffy, delicious bon bon, its wonderful.The problems The authors wrote this by doing The Letter Game in which the participants write letters to each other in character You re not allowed to discuss the plot at all, it just has to unfold organically In this particular case, the authors began to coordinate the plot towards the end so as to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion, but other than that, it is obvious that this was not planned very well as a book The plot doesn t fit very well together, at least one of the romances is ridiculous, and there s a good deal of world building that is left out understandable since the book is in epistolary form, between members of the same family though its never made clear how they are related and the authors wouldn t see the need to do a bunch of exposition I do feel that some compromise between reader enjoyment and realism could have been made, though Another thing that bothered me it seemed like the authors did all of their research out of Georgette Heyer and a basic reference guide to the times and grabbed random bits And they were wincingly, pompously, and embarrassingly proud of dropping clunky bits of historical slang, information, and characters into the text These two bit, apparently rather low on the social register characters go to intimate parties at the Countess de Lieven s and Lady Jersey makes it a point to talk to them and of course they use her nickname, because they are such close, personal friends Both male characters totally know the Duke of Wellington Its kind of like people writing out a Star Wars roleplay, and insisting that their characters are just like the ones from the movies and they re best buddies, and going around saying, Oh, so Luke and I were hanging out the other day and expecting this to impress everyone It was simplistic and unrealistic.Oh and speaking of unrealistic the tones that these girls wrote their letters in They re supposed to both be adolescent females, and they both have the voices of thirty something year old women with 20 years of world weary experience behind them except when they need to be adorable and naive for our male characters, or enthuse over clothes One of them actually refers to her sister, one year younger than her, as the poor child Having said all that though I did order the next two books in the series as soon as I finished this one So no matter how cranky the above stated problems made me must ve not bothered me that much