Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot

Written by: Patricia C. Wrede, Caroline Stevermer

Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot Book Cover
A great deal is happening in London and the country this season.

For 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 is.

Clearly, 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!
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Sorcery amp Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot Reviews

Julie
I wonder what's so natural about the pairing of Jane Austen-esque Regency romantic comedy and magic -- because this book reminded me incredibly of Mary Robinette Kowal's Shades of Milk and Honey, or a lighter/fluffier Susanna Clarke. (In fact, I might follow this up with my long-awaited JS&MN reread, maybe?) Or even Gail Carriger's Soulless, though that one's in the Victorian era; also an appropriate comparison, considering I noticed on GR just now that Carriger cites this as one of her favo I wonder what's so natural about the pairing of Jane Austen-esque Regency romantic comedy and magic -- because this book reminded me incredibly of Mary Robinette Kowal's Shades of Milk and Honey, or a lighter/fluffier Susanna Clarke. (In fact, I might follow this up with my long-awaited JS&MN reread, maybe?) Or even Gail Carriger's Soulless, though that one's in the Victorian era; also an appropriate comparison, considering I noticed on GR just now that Carriger cites this as one of her favourite books. Just as modern-day urban fantasy gravitates towards snarky, hard-bitten loner hero(ines), there's a definite niche for historical fantasy where the women are witty and clever and put-upon and everyone gets together in the end.

Reading this was also my purposeful way to cleanse my palate after The Magicians, by diving into something just light-hearted and fun. It's super cute, if predictable, and I wish magic/the role of magic had been fleshed out a bit more. Still, 3.5 stars! As one of my fellow reviewers has summarised it, Sorcery & Cecelia is an enjoyable beach read for when you want some fluffy fare but don't want to think too hard (and I liked the characters enough that I'll probably continue the series, too).

Probably the most fascinating thing about this book, actually, is how it was written, which the Afterword explains -- I was curious if the two authors really didn't discuss plot with each other, and was pleased/impressed to learn that Wrede & Stevermer did commit to The Letter Game. So it's an epistolary novel, written in the form of letters between the two authors/characters, improvised along the way with no planning between each other about the plot.

I used to do letter games back in high school but they always petered out after 3 letters or so, so I'm fascinated to see this one finished and polished and so coherent. I'm interested in collaborative fiction and especially the mechanics thereof, so I love seeing the different ways writers can cobble their stories together. This one's a quick delight to read.
Jackie "the Librarian"
Georgette Heyer meets Harry Potter! And it's an epistolary novel!! A little hard to follow - I had trouble keeping the characters straight and could have used a bit more descriptions, but still a lot of fun.
Sadly, its sequel, The Grand Tour is awful, as the girls play passive roles, and merely report on the actions of their husbands as they travel through Europe.
Josiphine/Tessa
I was somewhat put off by this just at the start because I do not usually enjoy epistolary novels, but this one was the exception because it was really good! I loved the characters and the setting (and the magic) and I actually think that letters were the perfect format for this. Also magic and Regency England is A++.
Azul... :: The Great Dune Trilogy :: The Renegades of Pern :: A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments :: Leaving Cold Sassy: The Unfinished Sequel to Cold Sassy Tree
Kassandra
4.5 stars . This was so much fun! Just an adorable, enjoyable read. Both Kate and Cecelia's adventures are engaging and entertaining. The fact that this was written by two authors actually writing letters to each other is just awesome.
Veronica
I have read this book so many times, and it never fails to put a smile on my face. If you're a fan of Regency romances and fantasy novels, the adventures of Kate and Cecelia are exactly what the doctor ordered. It's a very short novel (and entirely epistolary -- think Lady Susan but less satirical and more magic) and certainly not groundbreaking in the same way that, say, Sorcerer to the Crown is, but it's such a fun book.
Heidi Moffatt
So I read this book and thought it was super fun. By about half way thru, I just couldn’t put it down and really wanted to see what would happen next. I would have already given this book a great review, and then I read how this book came about from two people just writing letters to each other which eventually turned into this book. So now I definitely will give it 5-stars and I think it’s the cutest, cleverest, funnest book ever!
Sarah
The other day I was thinking about the books I've read this year and it has been a stellar year. There are books that I think are fantastic, beautifully & brilliantly written which garner 5 stars from me every time but I wouldn't always classify them as ones I am unable to put down. I could not put this down!!! Okay, that's not strictly true, I DID put it down but only because I absolutely had to and then I couldn't wait to get back to it. I loved reading in the afterward that the authors wr The other day I was thinking about the books I've read this year and it has been a stellar year. There are books that I think are fantastic, beautifully & brilliantly written which garner 5 stars from me every time but I wouldn't always classify them as ones I am unable to put down. I could not put this down!!! Okay, that's not strictly true, I DID put it down but only because I absolutely had to and then I couldn't wait to get back to it. I loved reading in the afterward that the authors wrote this as a letter game- a kind of back and forth neither of us know where this is going kinda thing. Which is amazing because the ebb and flow was perfect as well as how everything culminated. They did say that when they were finished they did some editing, took out superfluous items changed some details, enriched some characters, etc. But it basically stayed true to what they originally wrote and they had not worked out the plot ahead of time. It totally worked! Highly recommended to lovers of Regency England- and if you like magic BONUS!
Katyana
***3.5***

This was a fun book. It took me a little bit to get into the narrative style - that of letters exchanged between the 2 heroines, Cecelia and Kate - but after the first 50 or so pages I was hooked in.

I can see that a book like this would be a lot of fun to write. As a reader, there are advantages and disadvantages. I enjoyed the very distinctive voices of Cecelia and Kate, and their commentary on the events as they wrote their letters was both witty and (at times) hilarious.

The biggest d ***3.5***

This was a fun book. It took me a little bit to get into the narrative style - that of letters exchanged between the 2 heroines, Cecelia and Kate - but after the first 50 or so pages I was hooked in.

I can see that a book like this would be a lot of fun to write. As a reader, there are advantages and disadvantages. I enjoyed the very distinctive voices of Cecelia and Kate, and their commentary on the events as they wrote their letters was both witty and (at times) hilarious.

The biggest drawback is that the reader feels removed from the action. At least, I did. The adrenaline and the sense of immediacy just wasn't there in the climax, as I never lost awareness of the fact that I was reading a letter written by Cecelia / Kate after the fact. It felt almost like an invisible wall, separating me from events.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed it both as an exercise in storytelling, and as a story. I will probably continue on with Cecy and Kate in future books. :)
Rose VanCrayle
I expected to enjoy this book but just could not bring myself to finish it due to its slow pacing and dull characters. It felt like it was trying just way to hard to be a Jane Austen novel, but if this book captured anything of that era, it only managed to capture the dullness. The characters just feel like two stereotypes from a Jane Austen novel and were neither memorable or interesting. I also had trouble keeping track of who Kate and Cecelia were and not getting them confused. Although this I expected to enjoy this book but just could not bring myself to finish it due to its slow pacing and dull characters. It felt like it was trying just way to hard to be a Jane Austen novel, but if this book captured anything of that era, it only managed to capture the dullness. The characters just feel like two stereotypes from a Jane Austen novel and were neither memorable or interesting. I also had trouble keeping track of who Kate and Cecelia were and not getting them confused. Although this book was supposed to be a series of letters back and forth between the two girls, each letter felt like it was the same girl. Each had their aunts as guardians, both had love interests, and both had a specific girl that they felt a tinge of jealousy toward. I may sound a bit harsh when I say that I would not have been surprised if it had turned out to be the same girl with a multiple personality\dilusion disorder. A two-demensional everything.
Lena
This book is a lovely little delight. 19th century cousins Kate & Cecy are separated when Kate is brought to London by her aunt for her debut season. But the young ladies keep each other informed of the active happenings in their lives through frequent correspondence.

Given that the high society the cousins inhabit is one in which induction into the College of Wizards calls for many social formalities, there is plenty for them to talk about. Their magic-tinged stories unfold in parallel in a This book is a lovely little delight. 19th century cousins Kate & Cecy are separated when Kate is brought to London by her aunt for her debut season. But the young ladies keep each other informed of the active happenings in their lives through frequent correspondence.

Given that the high society the cousins inhabit is one in which induction into the College of Wizards calls for many social formalities, there is plenty for them to talk about. Their magic-tinged stories unfold in parallel in a surprisingly organic fashion. The book is apparently the result of "The Letter Game" played between two already accomplished novelists, and their skills shine through both in mastery of the epistolary form and the unfolding of their intriguing plot. Jane Austin meets Harry Potter, indeed.
Heidi
What a clever, fun, and QUICK read. The entire book is a series of letters exchanged between two cousins...Kate and Cecelia. This format is a refreshing change of pace from other books, and was even more interesting to me when I learned that the two authors originally wrote and exchanged these letters in a sort of letter writing game where neither knew the plot of the story.

Sometimes I think that magic and sorcery is a little hard to sell in books, but somehow, these authors had me believing fr What a clever, fun, and QUICK read. The entire book is a series of letters exchanged between two cousins...Kate and Cecelia. This format is a refreshing change of pace from other books, and was even more interesting to me when I learned that the two authors originally wrote and exchanged these letters in a sort of letter writing game where neither knew the plot of the story.

Sometimes I think that magic and sorcery is a little hard to sell in books, but somehow, these authors had me believing from the start.

This book seems to have it all...mystery, romance, humor, a bit of magic, interesting characters, and a great plot.
Zoe
Imagine a Jane Austen styled epistolary social drama about two cousins, their domineering aunts, and the society in both the country and London. Now, add just a little magic. That's the premise of this unusual and fantastic novel, which started as a letter game between two well known authors well versed in the fantasy world with interests in the Napoleonic era.
What I enjoyed the most about this was the way they both really nailed the sentence structure of the day, but still drew you in with mod Imagine a Jane Austen styled epistolary social drama about two cousins, their domineering aunts, and the society in both the country and London. Now, add just a little magic. That's the premise of this unusual and fantastic novel, which started as a letter game between two well known authors well versed in the fantasy world with interests in the Napoleonic era.
What I enjoyed the most about this was the way they both really nailed the sentence structure of the day, but still drew you in with modern humor and just enough drama to keep the pages turning. The Marquis of Scofield could give mr. Darcy a real run for his money.
Angela
What a fun book! And I found it even more so when I discovered this story actually did develop from letters between the two authors as they were playing a game. My friend described this as Jane Austin meets Harry Potter and I would have to agree. Some recency romance, mystery, and a little magic made for a fun story. I look forward to seeing if the next adventures of cousins Cecelia and Kate are just as much fun.
Amy Peavy
I loved how it was written by two different authors playing two different roles. It made for a surprising turn of events
Anatl
A beautiful marriage between fantasy and Regency a la Jane Austen.
Stephanie
Hilarious, romantic, and charming - one of my favorite novels. Just as delicious and satisfying as a cup of chocolate!
Tirzah Eleora
3.5 stars. Sorcery and Cecelia is a fun and somewhat goofy tale set in a Regency England that has the added bonus of wizards and magic. The book is written as a series of letters exchanged between two cousins, one of which is in the country and the other who is in London, and follows their entanglements with aunts, magicians and suitors.

It's a very fun read, however I'm giving it a lower rating due to the fact that I found book confusing at times. Despite the fact that the girls' letters are wr 3.5 stars. Sorcery and Cecelia is a fun and somewhat goofy tale set in a Regency England that has the added bonus of wizards and magic. The book is written as a series of letters exchanged between two cousins, one of which is in the country and the other who is in London, and follows their entanglements with aunts, magicians and suitors.

It's a very fun read, however I'm giving it a lower rating due to the fact that I found book confusing at times. Despite the fact that the girls' letters are written by different authors, both Kate and Cecelia and the supporting cast are extremely similar and it was often hard to keep track of who was who, not to mention that it detracted significantly from how engaging and interesting the characters were to have near copies of almost all of them.

Also, although I know that the chill attitude that the girls have towards the situations they get themselves into was meant for comic effect, it became quite ridiculous when they were calmly writing to each other about near-death experiences. This seeming flippancy also made me picture the girls as a lot younger than I believe they are supposed to be, which was very distracting when romance came into play.
Linniegayl
I should start by saying I generally hate epistolary novels, so was very reluctant to read this. Even after I bought it, I kept staring at it and then putting it down. However, once I actually started reading it, I couldn't stop! I loved this tale of cousins Cecelia (Cecy) and Kate, set in an alternate history version of 1817 England. In this England, wizards and witches abound, with both good magic and lots of bad magic.

Kate has been sent to London along with her Aunt and younger beautiful sist I should start by saying I generally hate epistolary novels, so was very reluctant to read this. Even after I bought it, I kept staring at it and then putting it down. However, once I actually started reading it, I couldn't stop! I loved this tale of cousins Cecelia (Cecy) and Kate, set in an alternate history version of 1817 England. In this England, wizards and witches abound, with both good magic and lots of bad magic.

Kate has been sent to London along with her Aunt and younger beautiful sister for her first season, while Cecy is being kept back home in the country with another Aunt. The letters they write to each other detail everything that's happening, as each is gradually pulled into some rather mysterious goings on. Each also meets, and initially despises a young man (friends of each other). There's absolutely nothing about this I didn't love, except I wish it had gone on longer.

I'm a bit nervous as there are two others in the series, but they haven't received the best reviews. However, since I loved this so much -- a clear A for me -- I'm going to give the second a try in a few weeks.
Dana Burgess
Sorcery and Cecelia has an interesting back story as it arose out of a sort of story telling game in which the author and a friend made up the story in an exchange of letters, each friend taking the role of one of the main characters. The book is a result of an edited compilation of these letters. For me, this resulted in a sort of 'good news/bad news' scenario. The correspondence format makes for an easy and quick read. The story develops in an interesting and compelling way, that kept me readi Sorcery and Cecelia has an interesting back story as it arose out of a sort of story telling game in which the author and a friend made up the story in an exchange of letters, each friend taking the role of one of the main characters. The book is a result of an edited compilation of these letters. For me, this resulted in a sort of 'good news/bad news' scenario. The correspondence format makes for an easy and quick read. The story develops in an interesting and compelling way, that kept me reading into the night. That's the good news. The bad news is that the format left me feeling that I had just barely skimmed the surface of a great adventure. The suspense that should have resulted from conflict and action was tempered by the fact of already knowing the outcome. For example, if one of the characters were in horrible danger, you already knew they survived it because they were writing the experience after the fact. I would love to read this story written in prose form but even still it's a fun ride.
Corinne Wilson
Great fun. I wish the two best friends weren't identical on the cover (and in their writing styles-it would make the epistolary format go down easier) but the Regency/end of Napoleonic Wars era alternate history with wizards and society parties and best friends is something I would have really enjoyed as a teen. I did think the leading ladies needed more of a moment with the romantic leads, rather than annoyance as a stand in for interest.
Debbie
so this is a regency romance - with magic!! I am a sucker for a good regency romance (I read all of Georgette Heyer in my teens) and my niece gave this a lot of stars and a good rating so I wanted to read it also. It was great fun. RR's always have a plucky young woman and this story has two -what's not to love.

I will read the other two in the series.
Bailey Ashbaker
I enjoyed this book mostly because it gave me both Howl's Moving Castle and Pride & Prejudice vibes. However it is written in a distinctly Victorian fashion which sometimes is a chore to read through.
Emily
-epistolary between two authors and two characters
-super charming and light
-pretty balanced between the two perspectives, though i think i prefer kate's romance, and cecilia's magic situation

i'm currently in the middle of reading book 2

bye
Chessela Helm
Hilarious mix of regency and magic. Heyer fans writing fantasy Heyer books = my idea of a good time. Love Cecy and her boldness. Love Kate and her slight awkwardness. Read if you are a fan of shenanigans.
quinnster
This book was so fun!! That's just the perfect description for it. It was fun. I laughed, I was intrigued and on the edge of my seat at times. So much fun!
Patricia
This was a lot of fun! Told through letters between two sassy cousins, it reminds me of Jane Austen's novella "Lady Susan" ...just add magic. Very, good!! I need to read the others in the series.
Lizzie Lashbrook
A fun book that is a mix between Harry Potter and a Jane Austin novel. I definitely want to see how the second book is.
Eva
Closer to three and a half stars I think. It's a little disappointing that I don't like these books as much as I did when I was younger.
Kelly Hager
Stumbled on this gem via Jo Walton's rec.
Rooks
Probably would be higher if I'd been more in the mood for something akin to a YA historical romance, but fluffy and delightful nonetheless.
Jenan
A truly delightful story and I loved the format! The afterword says it started as just a fun game, and you can really feel the sense of fun in the correspondence.
BriKie
Charming, fun read! I love that this epistolary book was the unexpected result of two friends playing a game of writing letters to each other in character.
Julie
If you combined Sense and Sensibility with Harry Potter, you might end up with a book exactly like this. Told in a series of letters between cousins, one of whom is in London for the season, and the other who is back in their small town, it takes the romance and comedy of manners of Austen and mixes in just enough magic to keep you from knowing exactly where it is going to go next.
Tracy
3.5 stars
This is a very cute story told in letters written back and forth between two cousins. It became even more charming after reading the Epilogue, which explains that the letters were written as a game between the two writers, with neither knowing how the story would turn out. When the game ended, they realized it could be a book, so they fixed it up a little, and voila!
Lauren
Okay first of all, still mourning the loss of whatever review I wrote in 2012 because I'm sure it was magnificent.
Also it's kind of crazy that I haven't read this since 2012, since I feel like I'm in a near-constant state of wanting to re-read this book.
Sorcery & Cecelia is one of those gold-standard books for me. I've probably mentioned it in more reviews for other books than any other book, in sentences that go a bit like this "Well, I read this book in the hopes that it would fill me th Okay first of all, still mourning the loss of whatever review I wrote in 2012 because I'm sure it was magnificent.
Also it's kind of crazy that I haven't read this since 2012, since I feel like I'm in a near-constant state of wanting to re-read this book.
Sorcery & Cecelia is one of those gold-standard books for me. I've probably mentioned it in more reviews for other books than any other book, in sentences that go a bit like this "Well, I read this book in the hopes that it would fill me the way Sorcery & Cecelia does, and it was pretty good but not nearly as good as Sorcery & Cecelia and now I want to reread Sorcery & Cecelia" (I must say, in the interest of honesty, that Gail Carriger's Finishing School series that starts with Etiquette & Espionage was one that actually totally succeeded and was a total romp and I love it so much.).
I just LOVE THIS BOOK and this universe. Kate and Cecy are SO FUN and their friendship is SO GOOD and the worldbuilding is so much fun because they're like "okay so the wizards this, but can we go back to discussing my new dress" and it's EXTREMELY MY AESTHETIC. And the other characters are so fun and the format is so fun and by some miracle isn't confusing? (of course, i've read it three times so there's that). And I can't conceivably get over the fact that this book was an honest-to-God letter game. That is so fun?! And it's not like the book is good "considering it was a Letter Game" but that it is genuinely so so good and then as a bonus it was a legit actual Letter Game. Thomas and James are so fun and so different from each other and not, like, cliche-ridden, which is always so fun to read. This book is invested in the plot and the relationship between the two girls, and the plot is solid as all get out, but also feels like they are invested in what they would actually be invested in? Does that make sense? Sorry, I'm blasting ABBA right now and my sentences might not make sense, it happens sometimes. What I'm struggling with is that I want to say that the characters are believable and true-to-life without actually saying that, because that's not really what I mean? That's not where the value of this book comes from. The value is not, like 'let's be relateable and express something about the human experience' or something like that, the value is that this book is SO MUCH FUN and so good. Anyway. I guess it's just really great to have a historical novel with TWO such great girl protagonists who find unconventional love but aren't like, anachronistically flouting the whole structure of napoleonic society. In fact, they use the structures to move the plot along and they are held back by it in other moments. The Letters aren't merely telling the story, but become a key part of the story itself. Neither of the plot lines would have came out the way they did without Cecy and Kate corresponding the way they did.
IT'S JUST SUCH A FUN BOOK.
And it manages to be so much fun while also not ever feeling fluffy or self-indulgent. Down to the sentences and word choices, there is a palpable and real effort to make the letters feel as historically accurate as possible, and it shows and it makes the feel of the book so great.
Also I want to refer to someone as "the odious Marquis" now. and then slowly transition into "your odious Marquis" Odious is an unbelievably great word.
Also, finishing this book makes me want to IMMEDIATELY read the sequel. And almost nothing else makes me do that, I Always pad series installments with other books, have since I was a kid. But I finish this one and just want moremoremoremoremoremore of this fun and world and excitement. And the magic is great. and the love stories are very fun and understated and just so much FUN because they contrast so well with my other historical fare (romances), because they are both a touch of enemies-to-lovers and it's not sappy at all, it's just ..... you guessed it..... SO MUCH FUN.
Anyway I love this book so very very much and it's always a consistent delight and a half.
also, a later edit, but this book gets Best Trope Points for also containing Fake Dating i.e. the greatest trope

.........18-21 March 2012..................
OMG. I wrote a beautiful review and it apparently didn't save it. That pisses me off.
I really like the setting and language and how this sotry unfolds very naturally. That's all you're getting, because i can't remember the rest of the review.
Eliza Perry
Cousins Cecelia and Katherine, who happen to be best friends, have had to resort to writing one another of their adventures, instead of sharing in them. Kate has gone off to London to start her first Season leaving Cecelia behind in the country. This becomes the setting for their biggest adventure yet. An adventure filled with magic, true love, evil wizards, and the high society of the ton

My older sister first brought my attention to this book and demanded that I read it. Considering that she h Cousins Cecelia and Katherine, who happen to be best friends, have had to resort to writing one another of their adventures, instead of sharing in them. Kate has gone off to London to start her first Season leaving Cecelia behind in the country. This becomes the setting for their biggest adventure yet. An adventure filled with magic, true love, evil wizards, and the high society of the ton

My older sister first brought my attention to this book and demanded that I read it. Considering that she has super fine taste in books I took her word for it and opened it up. It was a fantastic decision! For one, I love Patricia C. Wrede as an author and I couldn't wait to read another of her books! And two, anything at all to do with the regency era and spunky, smart girls falling in love has got me hooked from the very beginning! The addition of magic was just a plus!

What I love most about this book is the format! After reading this book I have gone far and wide trying to find a similar book with letters as the chosen template. Having letters as the structure you get two stories for the price of one! Every chapter has you switch off between the two girls and each letter is filled to the brim with fun, lively narratives of their adventures. They are two very different authors writing two very different plot lines that mesh together seamlessly into one fantastic book. This could definitely have turned out to be a train wreck but, fortunately for all involved, they pulled it off brilliantly!

I pretty much love everything else about this book too. Although the beginning was a little slow in plot evolution, I loved it! It lets you get to know the girls before they go haring off on their adventures. I love how the characters (even the background crowd) all have compelling stories and personalities that draw me in. They made me feel like I was there with them! The conflict was awesome too! Even though the book was primarily two different stories their conflict was shared and there was really great give and take throughout the whole. I love the descriptions of their settings and how everything feels so real. The different heroes and the unsuspecting characters made it so I could not have guessed the endings to either of their stories and that makes me a happy reader!

There are only two things that I didn't like in this book. The first is the name Cecelia. I don’t know why but her name was so hard for me to pronounce, even in my head. I got mixed up even more when they introduced her nickname Cecy. Only after reading the entire book did I realize that it is probably pronounced “CC” instead of my pronunciation with a short e (Ce-C). The second thing is that when I read the book I found myself getting caught up in one of the girls’ stories more than the other for periods of time; which sometimes made it excruciating to switch to the other, more mundane, story. I even skipped ahead once in order to find out what had happened in that story and I never do that! However, I believe this could not have been helped considering the way it was written and in any case made me read the book faster.

Overall I was enthralled by this book. I loved every second I read it and actually had moments of fidgety happiness, where I couldn't stay still or else I would burst from excitement. That is my reason for a 5 star review; I feel we should all measure the worth of a book by those happy, giggly moments.

I would recommend this book to girls of all ages! It is full of adventure and intrigue and delightfully romantic scenes. I have a feeling that boys would not like it half as much because it is chalk full of girly qualities and descriptions. For instance, I believe a boy would not care if Kate picked the red or green dress or whether her cousin would please send material for a shawl. Most particularly I recommend this book for the romantic adventurers who feel they were born in the wrong era.

The only thing I have to warn about this book is that it should not be taken too seriously. The book started as a game between these two authors and developed into a published novel. In light of this fact this book probably shouldn't be read by experts in the regency era for, I admit, there are some inconsistencies in the historical part of it. However, they weren't even brought to my attention until after I read the whole thing.
Gavin
I’m usually not a fan of epistolary novels. I enjoy epistolary content when it’s supplemental to the book (like the chapter headers in Tad Williams’ Otherland series, which I shamelessly copied in Better Days) but it’s usually a bit gimmicky for me. But a book that was written organically as a fictional correspondence between two authors? I had no idea what to think! On the one hand, it’s still a letter-novel, and one without a preplanned structure at that. On the other hand, it’s more or less a I’m usually not a fan of epistolary novels. I enjoy epistolary content when it’s supplemental to the book (like the chapter headers in Tad Williams’ Otherland series, which I shamelessly copied in Better Days) but it’s usually a bit gimmicky for me. But a book that was written organically as a fictional correspondence between two authors? I had no idea what to think! On the one hand, it’s still a letter-novel, and one without a preplanned structure at that. On the other hand, it’s more or less analogous to a freeform RP session, and those can sometimes turn out very interesting, complex stories. On the third hand (apparently I’m a Vortigaunt today) those RP stories can also be horridly disjointed and maddeningly inane.

I was very pleased to find out that Wrede and Stevermer know what they’re doing. The format of the book, as well as the way it was written, give the novel a very charming air and provides a lot of insight into the main characters. The alternating first person viewpoint can be a bit disorienting, however.

The worldbuilding was nicely subtle — the magic here is not quite as unobtrusive as Kowal’s glamour (and you have no idea how hard it is to refrain from constantly making Shades of Milk and Honey references here... curse the lack of Regency fantasies out there) but not powerful enough to warp the plot.

The main characters are both brilliant, charming, funny young ladies, and one of the best things about the book is how freaking genre-savvy they are. I think this is a factor of how the book was written: you’re a lot less likely to write an idiot plot when you’re motivated to keep up with the other author! Kate and Cecy hide nothing from one another, and they pick up on the foreshadowing in a refreshingly intelligent matter. That means that the tension in the book is real, actual tension, not “why didn’t the idiot main character see that obvious clue?”

The guys are... eh. Thomas and James are a bit typical as far as romance novel love interests go. Dark, mysterious, snarky, broody... in other words, Darcy clones. Thomas is more of a brood, James is more of a wit, but otherwise there’s not too much difference between them.

I’ve only got one serious complaint about the plot, and that’s the ending. I can see why the authors went for parallel endings for the plots, but they had to rely on deus ex machina in both cases instead of letting the characters escape their predicaments on their own. That kind of thing can be covered up when you’re only doing it once in a story, but done twice in succession it becomes a jarring. Still, I’m invested enough in the characters to pick up the sequel and learn about their honeymoon trip (and also see if Thomas and James develop individual personalities.

I recommend this one if you’re a fan of the Regency, or fantasy, or romance, or smart protagonists, or especially any combination of the four. And now I’m off to read the sequel, partly because I’m interested to see where the series is going, and partly because I need to return these books to my friend before she leaves town again.
Annemarie Plenert
Such fun! I'll add it to the list of books to read to bring me out of a funk.
Jill Furedy
I'd been meaning to read something by Patricia Wrede, so when I saw Gail Carriger recommend this one, it gave me reason enough to pick it up at the library. I admit to having a few moments of frustration wondering why Cece and Kate hadn't figured certain things out yet. Because it's an exchange of letters, the pace is slower and we're hearing everything well after the fact which belies some of the suspense, but then again, because it's in letters, we only have to read through the highlights of e I'd been meaning to read something by Patricia Wrede, so when I saw Gail Carriger recommend this one, it gave me reason enough to pick it up at the library. I admit to having a few moments of frustration wondering why Cece and Kate hadn't figured certain things out yet. Because it's an exchange of letters, the pace is slower and we're hearing everything well after the fact which belies some of the suspense, but then again, because it's in letters, we only have to read through the highlights of each week so the filler is limited.
The voices were not particularly distinctive, I had to check a few times to see whether I was reading about London or Essex, whether the difficult man is a wizard or not, or whether he is a marquis or not, whether the aunt lecturing on manners is well, Charlotte or Elizabeth. Not much set them apart other than location til near the end if the story. I suppose part of my confusion on the men is that they are called alternately by first name, last name and title rather than by anything consistent. Then there are all the minor characters coming and going. Miranda stood out, as the villian should, but Sir Hilary never quite jumped off the page. He allowed himself to be too restrained by manners. Robert is in and out of the story, is a nice guy, then easily dismissed, Oliver is mentioned as a concern but is also mostly dismissed. Papa was missing most of the time so that when mentioned, I was confused about where he came from. Fredrick Hollydean seemed entirely unneccesary. Dorothea and Georgy never do develop much personality. All this by way of saying that I didn't connect particularly with any of the characters, but I was still interested in seeing how the story was resolved.
I think the fact that the authors wrote this as part of a "letter game" is part of the charm of the book. I thought that added to my appreciation of of it. Though I'm hard pressed to say what exactly I enjoyed...the characters didn't entirely win me, the plot was adequate, the settings and descriptions relatively straight forward. Nothing grabbed me, and yet I got through it quickly and checked for the sequel at the library (oddly, they can request book 3 but the second one is unavailable). I guess I liked the premise and the set up and that carried me through. Not sure it will stick with me long, but if I can get my hands on book two, I'll give it a try.
Natalie
What can I say. Wow! This book started as a round of the Letter Game played between the two authors (it's explained in the afterward, but apparently you write letters back and forth "in persona" never revealing the plot to each other, until it comes up in the course of the letters). When they were finished and the letters were edited and revised some, they had this marvelous book!

This book contains several of my favorite things from fiction. First of all, it is set in England in the Regency tim What can I say. Wow! This book started as a round of the Letter Game played between the two authors (it's explained in the afterward, but apparently you write letters back and forth "in persona" never revealing the plot to each other, until it comes up in the course of the letters). When they were finished and the letters were edited and revised some, they had this marvelous book!

This book contains several of my favorite things from fiction. First of all, it is set in England in the Regency time period (My love of Jane Austen in early high school has made that my all time favorite time period to read about, love it!). Secondly, it has a nice dose of humor. This is humor that comes from the characters and their reactions to the things happening to them, not the things themselves (ie no comically horrifying blunders, or slap stick to make me want to bang my head against a table. I'm not particularly partial to "lets have the main character make a fool of herself and laugh while she does it" humor). Thirdly, this is not Austen's Regency England, but a very similar one with the added addition of magic. Magic is real, and a part of every day life. The authors do an excellent job introducing us to this alternate reality. They don't spend a lot of time explaining things to the reader (as it's an epistolary novel, so we only get explanations that would be given to someone who has grown up in and is familiar with their own world), but I was never at a loss to understand what was happening. Lastly this book has some excellent suspense and action. When one character (for example Cecelia), has something interesting happening to her we have to wait until she writes the next letter to Kate. This letter writing slows down the pace some, but it also keeps the reader interested.

I would recommend this book to anyone who, like me, enjoys the things I listed above. The only thing I didn't mention is the romance. It is sweet, and we discover it along with the characters themselves, while they are busy with every day life. I loved this book, and I can't wait until the next one comes in at the library.
Nimra
This goes down as a favorite. I loved this so much and it makes me want to play the letter game these two authors did to come up with such a well done book (don't think I would carry it out with as much finesse though).

This is set during 1817 London (Victorian era/ post-Napoleonic wars/Jane Austen vibes) and follows two cousins sending letters back and forth to one another, where they get tangled up in some sorcery and mayhem. I enjoyed the setting, the banter, the plot, and the two main charac This goes down as a favorite. I loved this so much and it makes me want to play the letter game these two authors did to come up with such a well done book (don't think I would carry it out with as much finesse though).

This is set during 1817 London (Victorian era/ post-Napoleonic wars/Jane Austen vibes) and follows two cousins sending letters back and forth to one another, where they get tangled up in some sorcery and mayhem. I enjoyed the setting, the banter, the plot, and the two main characters so much. The plot is creative and I did not find it predictable at all. I think I enjoyed the humor and the banter in this book the most--some of it was so subtle and I really appreciated that. The romance was also very subtle, did not take up the majority of the story by any means, and I loved it. I feel like this is not a book to rush/read quickly but rather read it slowly and really pay attention, because it's easy to miss some of the humor and romance and characterization of Cece and Kate. I love how the authors don't spend forever like other books setting up the universe and characters. It just jumps in with them writing letters, and as we read more, we learn more about this world and these two characters.

I'm just really impressed by the writing. SO impressed. I mean these two characters are talking to one another in letters, and not everything that is felt or seen is communicated in letters. It's not like a narrator is filling in the blanks for us in this story. There's no exposition but even with that, the authors really showcased how to unfold a story in letters. The authors had to be so meticulous and somehow join their two stories together, and they did a wonderful job. THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS TO CRAFT A STORY. (seriously, the writing is insanely good????????????)

Anyways, I feel like I need to reread the book to write a more coherent review. But basically, I highly recommend this book to those who appreciate amazing writing (seriously, there is so much to learn from this!!), and an intricate plot (one without the need for multiple other sequels to complete).
Kate
Cecy and Kate are writing letters back and forth to each other during Kate's season in London. Both young women become embroiled into the plot of two wizards who are attempting to steal magic. Entirely told in letters, the story unfolds with much drama and excitement

I really enjoyed this story. Regency era season and characters combined with magic, mystery, and a sinister plot. Very well done. It was interesting to note that both young women had different voices because they were written by diff Cecy and Kate are writing letters back and forth to each other during Kate's season in London. Both young women become embroiled into the plot of two wizards who are attempting to steal magic. Entirely told in letters, the story unfolds with much drama and excitement

I really enjoyed this story. Regency era season and characters combined with magic, mystery, and a sinister plot. Very well done. It was interesting to note that both young women had different voices because they were written by different people. According to the author's note, Wrede and Stevermer did not plan out this story they just wrote the letters to each other for fun and realized at the end that they had a book on their hands.
Stefanie
England Anfang des 19. Jahrhunderts. Cecelia und Kate können die Saison nicht zusammen verbringen. Während Kate mit ihrer hübschen jüngeren Schwester und ihrer Tante in London auf Bälle geht und viele neue Bekanntschaften schließt, muss Cecelia bei ihrer anderen Tante und ihrem Vater bleiben. Die beiden schreiben sich lange und ausführliche Briefe und tauschen sich über alle möglichen Dinge aus.

Zum Glück spielt dieses Buch in einer Parallelwelt, in der Magie existiert, sonst wäre die Geschichte England Anfang des 19. Jahrhunderts. Cecelia und Kate können die Saison nicht zusammen verbringen. Während Kate mit ihrer hübschen jüngeren Schwester und ihrer Tante in London auf Bälle geht und viele neue Bekanntschaften schließt, muss Cecelia bei ihrer anderen Tante und ihrem Vater bleiben. Die beiden schreiben sich lange und ausführliche Briefe und tauschen sich über alle möglichen Dinge aus.

Zum Glück spielt dieses Buch in einer Parallelwelt, in der Magie existiert, sonst wäre die Geschichte vermutlich recht langweilig. So aber fühlt man sich in einen Roman von Jane Austen versetzt, in dem es allerdings ganz schön magisch und geheimnisvoll zugeht. Es dauert einige Zeit, bis Kate und Cecelia herausfinden, wer in ihrem Umfeld magisch begabt ist und von welchen Personen eine Gefahr ausgeht. Aber die Spannung steigt immer weiter an bis zum rasanten Finale, das zugegebenermaßen in einem Brief nicht so nervenaufreibend wirkt, wie es vielleicht wirken würde, wenn man es als Leser direkt miterleben würde. Zumindest weiß man ja so schon, dass der Briefeschreiberin nichts schlimmes passiert sein kann.

Entstanden ist dieser Roman durch ein Brief-Spiel. Die beiden Autorinnen schrieben sich gegenseitig Briefe und zwar so, als wären sie Cecelia bzw. Kate. In einem Nachwort berichten sie über diese ungewöhnliche Entstehungsgeschichte. Man merkt dem Buch kaum an, dass es durch ein Spiel entstanden ist, die Autorinnen haben die Briefe allerdings auch nochmal überarbeitet.

Ich fand dieses Buch wirklich toll, ich liebe die Romane von Jane Austen und fühlte mich bei "Sorcery & Cecelia", als würde ich ein Fantasy-Buch von ihr lesen. Eine tolle und gelungene Mischung, diese ganzen Bälle und altmodischen Veranstaltungen und mitten darunter die verzauberte Kakao-Kanne (oder wie auch immer man den "enchanted chocolate pot" übersetzen möchte). Ein absolutes Wohlfühlbuch für gemütliche Schmökerstunden auf der Couch!
Dexter
Note: the below is an excerpt from the blog my friend and I do (http://persyandarty.blogspot.com), where we review books every week. Please check it out.

Being the Correspondence of Two Young Ladies of Quality Regarding Various Magical Scandals in London and the Country.

Historical fiction set in an alternate England, told in the form of letters written by two cousins to each other. Please tell me I'm not the only one this appeals to.

Katherine Talgarth, or Kate, is taken to London with her younger Note: the below is an excerpt from the blog my friend and I do (http://persyandarty.blogspot.com), where we review books every week. Please check it out.

Being the Correspondence of Two Young Ladies of Quality Regarding Various Magical Scandals in London and the Country.

Historical fiction set in an alternate England, told in the form of letters written by two cousins to each other. Please tell me I'm not the only one this appeals to.

Katherine Talgarth, or Kate, is taken to London with her younger sister Georgina and their Aunt Charlotte for Kate's season, while Cecelia Rushton, or Cecy, Kate's cousin, is left at home in the country. The entire book is made up of their letters to each other, describing what is going on.

In London, Kate, who is remarkably clumsy but brilliant at improvisation, wanders right into the middle of a conspiracy. She slips through a door into a garden to find a woman sitting at a table with a spectacularly blue chocolate pot. The woman invites her to take some chocolate with her, seeming to think that Kate is someone called 'Thomas'. Kate only just escapes the strange tea party intact.

Meanwhile, back in the country, there is a new neighbor of Cecy's who seems to have entranced all the young men in the area. At the same time, Cecy begins to notice one James Tarleton attempting to sneak around (he's not very good at it), spying on Dorothea, the girl who is charming the rest of the town. In her attempt to get to the bottom of it, Cecy discovers her magical talent and begins to try to teach herself magic.

It's not long before things are getting completely out of control. Oliver, Cecy's brother, has gone missing, Kate has become betrothed, and Cecy has found a very interesting book in Sir Hilary's library...

I'd recommend this book to fantasy readers, fans of the uniquely told story, or anyone who just loves a good tale full of interesting quirks. Definitely one of my favorites.
Indiana
The authors credit Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, J.R.R. Tolkien and Ellen Kushner as inspiration and those names give you a nice idea of what to expect...a lovely combination of Regency England with polite society and...wizards. If this book had been written after the Harry Potter books no doubt the authors would have made mention of J.K. Rowling for there is a feel of her world in these novels too.

So the story takes place in Regency England and it's in the form of letters between two girls in t The authors credit Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, J.R.R. Tolkien and Ellen Kushner as inspiration and those names give you a nice idea of what to expect...a lovely combination of Regency England with polite society and...wizards. If this book had been written after the Harry Potter books no doubt the authors would have made mention of J.K. Rowling for there is a feel of her world in these novels too.

So the story takes place in Regency England and it's in the form of letters between two girls in their late teens as one of them goes off to London for the Season and the other remains in the country and has equally diverting adventures at home. It is marketed as a young adult novel but I think this is only because the publisher had no idea what to do with it. While the two heroines are in their late teens they are both engaged to be married at the end so they deal with more adult issues than young adolescent dreams. I think teenagers such as we all were would enjoy the novel but not necessarily the typical teenage girl. As an adult, I enjoyed it tremendously.

There is a rather nice Marquess in this novel that is....mmm quite nice! Sadly there is nothing more than a kiss (of the Heyer variety) and while the two heroines find love during the course of the story, romance isn't the focus at all. It's a nice side line. But there are romantic elements that those of you who enjoy romances would enjoy. Again the Marquess *sigh* And did I tell you he is a wizard? *double sigh*

A number of the characters in the story are wizards. Some are good and some are very very bad. Evil bad. Not poorly written bad. As with the romance, the fantasy aspect doesn't necessarily dominate the story. It's very carefully woven in and treated very normally. In this world wizards are known to exist by the general public.

I should also mention that the writing is very funny and clever and made me chuckle many a time.
Silverius
This a quaint story filled with quirky humour, endearing romance and magical intrigue!

The story, being written as letters between the authors, is highly unique and imaginative. I was impressed with how well they worked in dailogue and activities taking place before the girls sit down to write the letters. The pacing is a little slow to start off, but I never found it overly tedious to read. I did find, however, that is was somewhat difficult to distinguish the girls' voices from one another, be This a quaint story filled with quirky humour, endearing romance and magical intrigue!

The story, being written as letters between the authors, is highly unique and imaginative. I was impressed with how well they worked in dailogue and activities taking place before the girls sit down to write the letters. The pacing is a little slow to start off, but I never found it overly tedious to read. I did find, however, that is was somewhat difficult to distinguish the girls' voices from one another, being that they are fairly similar in character.

Aside from the girls' similarities, they are still very enjoyable characters. Both are smart, witty and constantly snooping in a very endearing way. Their relationship was palpable and very heartfelt. The other characters are all a lot of fun. Quirky in that stilted Regency sort of way, if somewhat stereotypical of characters in such a time period. The Mysterious Marquis is quite a devlisih, but delicious young man. (view spoiler)[And I was very happy when he and Kate FINALLY confessed their love for one another. (hide spoiler)]

All the romance is very sweet, if sometimes frustrating. I find this is the case for many Regency romances, because no one is ever willing to simply say what they are thinking or express their true sentiments! I cannot complain overmuch, though, because the girls both ended up with precisely who I hoped they would.

Lastly, there is quite a lot of magical intrigue in this novel, but it does take quite some time to develop. I wish there had been more magical misdeeds all throughout the book, rather than preponderantly near the end of the novel, but it whetted my appetite just enough, and I suspect there will be more present in the next two books in the series.

I had to wait quite a long time for this book to arrive through Interlibrary Loan and am happy to say that it did not disappoint after waiting for so long. I will certainly be reading the next two in the series at some point.
Grace
This book wasn’t quite as exciting as I hoped it would be. It kind of meandered and I unfortunately found the plot to be a little too simple, and the villains a little too cliché and as expected.

I was a bit wary when I figured out it the story would be told through letters. Somehow the book kept my attention for the most part, though. Cecelia and Kate’s voices, however, did seem to sound rather similar at times. Only the very clear settings, and one of them being rather humorously clumsy, made i This book wasn’t quite as exciting as I hoped it would be. It kind of meandered and I unfortunately found the plot to be a little too simple, and the villains a little too cliché and as expected.

I was a bit wary when I figured out it the story would be told through letters. Somehow the book kept my attention for the most part, though. Cecelia and Kate’s voices, however, did seem to sound rather similar at times. Only the very clear settings, and one of them being rather humorously clumsy, made it clear who was who. I confess that this was a rather straight forward book, and the romance felt “eh” as well. Once certain people were introduced it was obvious who would end up with who, etc.

This wasn’t a terrible book. The world was pretty interesting, seeing as it seemed to seamlessly blend in with the era it took place in—and, most interestingly, magic in that world didn’t appear to have any issues with church, and going to church on Sunday. Church was mentioned a few times, yet magic seemed pretty well accepted, even though some characters seemed wary of magic. I kind of wish I had a better idea of the world and how it reached that point.

This book fell pretty much on the “eh” scale for me. Didn’t blow me out of the water because of it was amazing, and didn’t completely bore me. I don’t think I’ll continue reading the rest of the series.

What some people might be uncomfortable reading about in this book because of personal opinion or belief (spoilers): Well... there’s magic. And, while some characters don’t exactly approve of it, it seems widely accepted in circles. There might be a very curses, but I don’t remember them if there were. A few tame kisses towards the end, but clean. And, finally, a few mentions of certain people being virgins—which apparently helps certain spells? It was a pretty clean book, overall. Rated PG, I would say.
Mo
3 stars

The idea behind this book began with 2 authors who decided to play ‘The Letter’ game. The game is really quite simple.

Definition of ‘The Letter’ game:

A letter game involves the exchange of written letters, or e-mails, between two or more participants. The first player writes a letter in the voice of a newly created character; in this first letter, the writer should establish their own identity and that of their correspondent, should set the scene, and should explain why they and their co
3 ½ stars

The idea behind this book began with 2 authors who decided to play ‘The Letter’ game. The game is really quite simple.

Definition of ‘The Letter’ game:

A letter game involves the exchange of written letters, or e-mails, between two or more participants. The first player writes a letter in the voice of a newly created character; in this first letter, the writer should establish their own identity and that of their correspondent, should set the scene, and should explain why they and their correspondent must communicate in written fashion. In subsequent letters, plot and character can be developed, but the writers should not talk about plot outside of the letters and the characters should never meet. Letter games can be a writing exercise or a form of collaborative fiction.

Novels written using or inspired by this type of letter game include Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, The Grand Tour or The Purloined Coronation Regalia, and The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After, all three by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer; Freedom and Necessity, by Steven Brust and Emma Bull; and the children's books P.S. Longer Letter Later and Snail Mail No More by Paula Danziger and Ann M. Martin.


It was a charming story, but I’m a little torn on the rating. I’m not sure why I gobbled up this book, but I devoured it in one big gulp! Maybe because I enjoy books written in epistolary form? Maybe because the book was so original, and different from what I usually read? Maybe because I was a captive audience, stuck on a train with nothing to do for 10 hours? I know it wasn’t the plot, nor the actual story itself. But I also know that I could have played Candy Crush or Words With Friends all the way home, and I didn’t... I preferred to read this book.
WTF Are You Reading?
I love the deliciouly exciting tale of Cecelia and Kathern. Who knew that the comings and goings of English society and the like could be soo much fun. I must say that I feel rather badly for Cecey when the story opens and I learn that she is to stay behind in Rushton and not go to London with Kate.
Things start off slowly, that is until Cecey meets the "odious Marquis". (Odious has now become a word that I am not afraid to bandy about during the course of everyday conversation...so often was i I love the deliciouly exciting tale of Cecelia and Kathern. Who knew that the comings and goings of English society and the like could be soo much fun. I must say that I feel rather badly for Cecey when the story opens and I learn that she is to stay behind in Rushton and not go to London with Kate.
Things start off slowly, that is until Cecey meets the "odious Marquis". (Odious has now become a word that I am not afraid to bandy about during the course of everyday conversation...so often was it used in the book that I took it upon myself to learn the difinition.)
Kate is lured into a trap ment for the Marquis when she attends the induction of one Sir Hilary into the Royal College of Magicians and finds herself the unwitting almost victim of a death by magical chocolate.
Not to be outdone, Cecey is the almost victim of tranfiguration into a Beechwood in the park. That fate is instead visited upon her brother Oliver, who is restored and guarded by the "odious Marquis." The book continues like this, with Kate and Cecy's lives becoming more and more tangled with each other as their social circles shrink ever smaller and then begin to overlap.
You will find in my review of this book no references to Jane Austen and no such drivel about the fact that this book was written by two American women; so there was this detail or that that they missed or got completely wrong. I am taking this book as the light, enjoyable romp through magic, love and society that it is meant. I must say that I loved this book so much that I have reserved the next two in the series and I can't wait to read them.
Jedi On the Carpet
A fun light read. Expect no depth but quite enjoyable and humorous.
Amanda
Sooooo difficult to read!!! It really shouldn't be. There should be a warning label that warns the reader immediately. It too me far too long to read this book. It very nearly took a month and I'm not a slow reader by any means.

I did like some aspects of the books for instance I liked the male characters and thought they were contrasting enough to have a voice of their own.....the female characters....Cecilia and Kate however did not. I really liked the concept that the novel is epistolary and Sooooo difficult to read!!! It really shouldn't be. There should be a warning label that warns the reader immediately. It too me far too long to read this book. It very nearly took a month and I'm not a slow reader by any means.

I did like some aspects of the books for instance I liked the male characters and thought they were contrasting enough to have a voice of their own.....the female characters....Cecilia and Kate however did not. I really liked the concept that the novel is epistolary and the format was part of the reason I was attracted to the book (that and the cover which has been revamped as this is actually a book released in the mid 1980's - the revamp I believe was because there is some magic (though never explained)...and thanks to Harry Potter making all things magical popular again the author was given an opportunity to push her book I suppose).

What I didn't like was that since Kate and Cecilia didn't have very distinctive voices I was lost each time I'd pick the book back up. I would wonder which character I was with and which town I was in. This was a major turn off. I had abandoned the book at one point, but decided to give it another chance. I don't regret finishing it because I did want to see how things ended; I will not pick up another book by this author let alone the next in this Cecilia and Kate series though. And I will not recommend it to anyone.
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
3.5

This book was written as a Letter Game - each author plays a character (Caroline Stevermer writing as Kate and Patricia Wrede as her cousin Cecelia) - and that's the layout of the story, the two cousins, separated for a season while Kate goes to London and Cecelia is stuck at Rushton, write to each other of their various goings on - goings on which, inevitably, intersect and bring the plots of the two places together.

While I think the letter writing thing was a kind of clever narrative for th 3.5

This book was written as a Letter Game - each author plays a character (Caroline Stevermer writing as Kate and Patricia Wrede as her cousin Cecelia) - and that's the layout of the story, the two cousins, separated for a season while Kate goes to London and Cecelia is stuck at Rushton, write to each other of their various goings on - goings on which, inevitably, intersect and bring the plots of the two places together.

While I think the letter writing thing was a kind of clever narrative for the story, I also feel that it, perhaps, kept certain things from being as developed as they could've been, including characters, and it also kept some of the tension down, because you knew that the character got out of whatever predicament they were in because here they are writing it down in a letter.

But, that said, I generally enjoyed the story. I would definitely say it's a girl's book, though, as there's much attention paid to clothing and gossip and propriety, and while there's also magic and mischief and danger, the tone is fairly light and easy and the inevitable romances seem to take front stage.

A quick fun read - a bit twee and obvious in places - but, still, a rather enjoyable way to pass a few hours reading. I look forward to the next in the series.
Kathy * Bookworm Nation
The book started out as a Letter Game between Wrede and Stevermer, in which both authors would write, in character, to each other. No discussion of plot was formed; they simply wrote and responded to one another’s letters. The whole idea of the Letter Game and actually producing an entertaining novel is really amazing. Both authors are creative, and I ended up loving the book. Both Kate and Cecy were lovable heroines, I loved reading about their adventures and if it wasn’t for their constant int The book started out as a Letter Game between Wrede and Stevermer, in which both authors would write, in character, to each other. No discussion of plot was formed; they simply wrote and responded to one another’s letters. The whole idea of the Letter Game and actually producing an entertaining novel is really amazing. Both authors are creative, and I ended up loving the book. Both Kate and Cecy were lovable heroines, I loved reading about their adventures and if it wasn’t for their constant interference I fear Thomas and James would not have been able to overcome the obstacles of Sir Hillary and Miranda. I knew from the beginning that I would just love both James and Thomas, they were great characters and the relationship between the four was fun to read about.

I really enjoyed the story, the characters were all fun and the commentary between Kate and Cecy was witty and entertaining. I liked the magic throughout, it wasn’t overdone and felt believable. Definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys mystery, magic, and romance. I look forward to reading the next two books in the Cecelia and Kate series.
Amy
Sorcery and Cecelia is probably a four-star novel for most readers. For me, however, this novel more than deserves a full five-star rating. Why? I don't like epistolary novels and I don't really go for pre-twentieth century settings. This is an epistolary novel, set just after the Napoleonic Wars. Obviously, from the moment I cracked the cover I thought this was going to be a case of total reader failure. Sometimes I read Steampunk, but that's pre-twentieth as weird. This book was not weird. Thi Sorcery and Cecelia is probably a four-star novel for most readers. For me, however, this novel more than deserves a full five-star rating. Why? I don't like epistolary novels and I don't really go for pre-twentieth century settings. This is an epistolary novel, set just after the Napoleonic Wars. Obviously, from the moment I cracked the cover I thought this was going to be a case of total reader failure. Sometimes I read Steampunk, but that's pre-twentieth as weird. This book was not weird. This book was AWESOME.

Magic happens, but it doesn't dominate the text. In fact, I couldn't care less about the magic--I wanted to know what was going to happen with Cecy and Kate and their dresses and London and that odious Marquis... Basically, Wrede and Stevermer tricked me into having some kind of Jane Austin breakdown. And I loved every minute of it.

I also owe a big thank you to ruby, who personally recommended this novel ages ago and never prodded. Dearest ruby, we simply must do something!
Kristen
What a fun book! I must admit though, when I first started reading I wasn't as into it as I wanted to be. Especially when there were names like Fitzwilliam, Elizabeth, Charlotte....I was like, hold on here. What is this? Pride and Prejudice the sequel? And it was a little hard to keep track of things. But, after I continued reading for a bit, I was immediately sucked in! I love the idea of these two girls corresponding back and forth through letters; and it's even cooler that each girl is writte What a fun book! I must admit though, when I first started reading I wasn't as into it as I wanted to be. Especially when there were names like Fitzwilliam, Elizabeth, Charlotte....I was like, hold on here. What is this? Pride and Prejudice the sequel? And it was a little hard to keep track of things. But, after I continued reading for a bit, I was immediately sucked in! I love the idea of these two girls corresponding back and forth through letters; and it's even cooler that each girl is written by a different author! This book has two authors; Patricia writes as Cecilia and Caroline writes as Kate. This is also the reason the book has two titles. These two ladies one day just started writing part of a novel back and forth, one pretending to be one character, the other pretending to be the other and voila! They had a book! It really is a fun read. It's light and comical with a smack of magic. I love that combo. So, if you're looking for something gripping and light hearted, I highly recommend this! Don't give up during the first couple of pages. I promise; you'll be hooked soon.
Jannah (Cloud Child)
Just reread again, every bit as lovely to read as before. The relationship between Kate and Cecy, and their respective personalities displayed through letters sent to each other is delightful to read.
There is magic, regency balls, bad guys, romance and lots of witty humour. One quibble I have that I forgot last time is that though magic is mentioned throughout its never deeply explored or described, its seems fuzzy at times. I just didn't really get a good idea of how they actually did it. But Just reread again, every bit as lovely to read as before. The relationship between Kate and Cecy, and their respective personalities displayed through letters sent to each other is delightful to read.
There is magic, regency balls, bad guys, romance and lots of witty humour. One quibble I have that I forgot last time is that though magic is mentioned throughout its never deeply explored or described, its seems fuzzy at times. I just didn't really get a good idea of how they actually did it. But there was plenty of bits and pieces like the magicians focus or charm bags and magical ancestry which helped.
The best thing about the book is the interactions between the characters which are quite fun and hilarious.

Also Ioved the extra info at the end about the fact that this book is the product of two writers playing a letter game and not disclosing their plots to each other. I gotta say it worked really well!
Julie
I wonder what's so natural about the pairing of Jane Austen-esque Regency romantic comedy and magic -- because this book reminded me incredibly of Mary Robinette Kowal's Shades of Milk and Honey, or a lighter/fluffier Susanna Clarke. (In fact, I might follow this up with my long-awaited JS&MN reread, maybe?) Or even Gail Carriger's Soulless, though that one's in the Victorian era; also an appropriate comparison, considering I noticed on GR just now that Carriger cites this as one of her favourite books. Just as modern-day urban fantasy gravitates towards snarky, hard-bitten loner hero(ines), there's a definite niche for historical fantasy where the women are witty and clever and put-upon and everyone gets together in the end.

Reading this was also my purposeful way to cleanse my palate after The Magicians, by diving into something just light-hearted and fun. It's super cute, if predictable, and I wish magic/the role of magic had been fleshed out a bit more. Still, 3.5 stars! As one of my fellow reviewers has summarised it, Sorcery & Cecelia is an enjoyable beach read for when you want some fluffy fare but don't want to think too hard (and I liked the characters enough that I'll probably continue the series, too).

Probably the most fascinating thing about this book, actually, is how it was written, which the Afterword explains -- I was curious if the two authors really didn't discuss plot with each other, and was pleased/impressed to learn that Wrede & Stevermer did commit to The Letter Game. So it's an epistolary novel, written in the form of letters between the two authors/characters, improvised along the way with no planning between each other about the plot.

I used to do letter games back in high school but they always petered out after 3 letters or so, so I'm fascinated to see this one finished and polished and so coherent. I'm interested in collaborative fiction and especially the mechanics thereof, so I love seeing the different ways writers can cobble their stories together. This one's a quick delight to read.
Jackie "the Librarian"
Georgette Heyer meets Harry Potter! And it's an epistolary novel!! A little hard to follow - I had trouble keeping the characters straight and could have used a bit more descriptions, but still a lot of fun.
Sadly, its sequel, The Grand Tour is awful, as the girls play passive roles, and merely report on the actions of their husbands as they travel through Europe.
Paige
This book was written by two authors creating characters and writing letters to each other as those characters. They never discussed the plot; it just came as they wrote. This book takes place in England just after the French Revolution in an alternate world with magical capabilities. It's a fun fantasy.
Featherheart
This was very well-written and had some excellent quotes. Thankfully the two girl's situations were different enough that I could tell them apart, but they did not 'talk' differently enough for me to believe they were separate people. The romance was also predictable. But it was very good and funny and had a very interesting plot. It sounds like a lot of fun to write, too.
Shaz
This is a charming, cozy kind of read. It's also a fun read and it feels like it must have been quite fun to write too.

I only wish they had opted to use the British spelling in an epistolary set in 1817 England, but that's quite a pedantic kind of thing to be complaining about and I'm rather ashamed that it bothered me.
Brenda Sutton
Although it was slow starting, I eventually found myself completely absorbed in the story. How delightful, at the end of the reading, to discover that the entire book was a game of "Letters" played by two very creative writers. The mixture of fantasy magic with historical romance is spot on. I'm on to the next in the series, and enjoying it just as much.
Erin
This was really cute! It was recommended as a book that made for excellent comfort reading, and I very much agree.

The amazing thing was that this was written originally as a letter game between the two authors, and that they didn't once discuss the plot or how it would progress outside of their letters.
Gezellig
3.75

Regency meets magic in this sweet tale in which two cute girls interchange letters. The style was similar to Jane Austen's which makes this little gem very enjoyable to read.

The last part wasn't so good as the resolution happened too fast contrasting with the slower pace of the rest of the book. But all in all, a nice book.
Megan
I'm pretty sure I read this book ages ago but all I can remember is that there was a witch named Cecelia and it was hilarious. I'm not sure if this is the book, but there can't be that many books about witches named Cecelia, can there?
Trish
I really enjoyed the fact that this story was told in a series of letters between two teenaged cousins, Cecy and Kate. Sometimes, I wish that people still sent letters to one another instead of simply sending text messages or e-mails. Having a penpal was great fun, back in the day.
Katy
What fun! A mix of Rowling and Austen. What could be better?? Not to mention that the two authors wrote the whole book in a series of letters to one another and never once did they discuss plot. A great find. I loved it.
Mary
This was described to me as a "Jane Austen era urban fantasy," which I think is pretty accurate. It's set in an alternate version of Regency England, one with wizards and magic all out in the open. There's plenty of romance, lots of humor, and a very solid mystery. Loved it!
Sheri
Wasn't sure I'd like the way the book was written, as a series of letters between two girls. But it was so well written, I found myself quickly caught up in the story, and enjoying the characters. I immediately started on the second book in the series.
Erin
Love love love it!! It was written as a sort of exercise by Patricia Wrede & Caroline Stevermer in which they each took a character and wrote letters back and forth to each other as that character. The result is hilarious and so much fun to read! It's as though Jane Austen met Harry Potter.
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