Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot
Patricia C. Wrede and
It’s 1817 in an England where one can attend investitures at the Royal College of Wizards. Kate, a young lady of not terribly rich family, is going to London for her first Season, while her cousin Cecy has to remain in the country. Almost immediately Kate is nearly killed when she stumbles into a trap meant for the mysterious Marquis of Schofield, while Cecy is baffled by her new neighbor, a shy young girl with a strange power over men, and by a young man determined to spy on them at every opportunity. The two girls plunge into an exploration of the incidents that they soon discover to be related.
Overall, this was a fairly good book. It’s entirely in the form of letters between Kate and Cecy, written in a bubbly, Jane Austen-lite style that is not brilliant but quite enjoyable. Wrede and Stevermer draw their world with a convincing level of detail, and the balance of humor, action, and romance is just about perfect. If I have any complaint, it’s that I couldn’t see much difference between Kate and Cecy–in fact, Sorcery and Cecelia accomplishes the almost unheard-of feat of making the love interests more interesting than the main characters. Still, Kate and Cecy are spunky and sympathetic characters that you want to root for; and the book as a whole just had that peculiar momentum of enthusiasm that made me read it practically in one sitting, grinning all the way.
Morally, there’s not a lot to be said about this book. Bad people do bad things. Good people want to stop bad things getting done. It’s not deep, but it’s perfectly healthy. There’s also no objectionable content, so it’s appropriate for anyone who can enjoy it.