Sorcery & Ceceila -or- The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
Husband bought this book this past Christmas after having heard an NPR segment on it. I'll admit, I'm horrible about reading books that other people give me (that I didn't specifically request). My TBR list is so long that unless people full well know that I'm looking for a particular book (like last week when I playfully posted on Facebook asking who was buying me this book, and my best friend responded that it'll be at my house this week. I'm so spoiled), I tend to see it as more a gift of obligation, a chore I must now participate in. Although I've never come out and said this, I think other people realize this about me because people NEVER give me random books that I didn't request. Hm... wonder what kind of signals I'm giving off.
This is the second such purchase Husband has made of this type. Yeeeeeears ago, he gifted me The Thirteenth Tale. It took me years to finally get around to cracking it open... and that was only because I was unemployed and had made my way through the rest of my collection and was desperate. And given my completely and totally enjoyable experience with that book, you'd think I'd come to trust Husband.
But I still raise and eyebrow when he handed me a book I did not recognize. And I read a bunch of other books before finally picking up Sorcery & Cecelia.
This book was thoroughly charming. A combination of Pride & Prejudice and Harry Potter (you know, before Harry Potter was a thing), the story of these cousins and the adventures they encounter as the social season continues is both interesting and whimsical. But the most fascinating part of this book is in how it came to be. Two friends created the story of Cecy and Kate strictly by writing letters to each other in character. They got to know the others character solely through the previous letters received and neither knew what direction the story would go. This epistolary (literary works written in the form of letters) format kept the story moving and the suspense continued throughout the last page. This story was adorable while maintaining a strong message about the power of women.
After 17 years together... I really should learn to trust Husband more.
A great deal is happening in London this season.
For starters, there's the witch who tried to poison Kate at Sir Hilary's induction into the Royal College of Wizards. (Since when does hot chocolate burn a hole straight through one's dress?!)
Then there's Dorothea. Is it a spell that's made her the toast of the town--or could it possibly have something to do with the charm-bag under Oliver's bed? And speaking of Oliver, just how long can Cecelia and Kate make excuses for him? Ever since he was turned into a tree, he hasn't bothered to tell anyone where he is! The girls might think it all a magical nightmare . . . if only they weren't having so much fun