Sorcery and Cecelia; or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot MOBI

Sorcery and Cecelia; or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot 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 Bit of a slog at the beginning which is likely due to my own problems with the story structure It begins as exchanged letters between two teenage girls seemingly Victorian era I can see how this would be attractive to collaborating authors and fans of letter writing everywhere but I always have trouble wrapping my head around that kind of narrative Once it gets going it gets a little better The authors do a decent jobs of within letter asides that help explain things but it's clearly best if one already knows something about Victorian society structure and constraints In the afterword the authors explained how they didn't communicate directly about the plot until three or four letters within the ending of the novel which is amazing given the relative coherence of the bookBeing generous I rounded upward; I think this is a 2 and a half star book for me but if you like the narrative structure undoubtedly it will rate higher 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 offThe 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 wonderfulThe 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 unrealisticOh 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 childHaving 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 This book took me far too long to read and there is a pretty solid reason for that I didn't like it This had the potential to be a decent read There are some great idea's and some interesting characters but unfortunately for me this book was almost painful to actually get through This book consists of letters written between Cecy and Kate so we get a distinct diary feel to the letters and the enormous amount of gossip that comes with that is in a word exhausting I was bored before I was even at the halfway point When things kind of moved away from gossip and intriguing events began to unfold I found that my focus had been lost and I was thinking about other books and what I was going to read after this tedious book There were evidently some romance and happy endings within this story which is fine but the reader never feels the emotion that the character is experiencing and I think that is what makes this a disappointing read which is an incredible shame as it could have been so much better Patricia C Wrede and Caroline Stevermer first published Sorcery and Cecelia under that that title in 1988 In recent years thanks to reprints with shiny new cover art by Scott M Fischer in the case of the edition I read as well as two new seuels this book has regained popularity and visibility Aside from that one of the most important things to know about this book is its alternate title The Enchanted Chocolate Pot Being the Correspondence of Two Young Ladies of uality Regarding Various Magical Scandals in London and the CountryWrede and Stevermer wrote this book as a writing exercise of sorts called the Letter Game Patricia C Wrede wrote as Cecelia while Caroline Stevermer responded with Kate's letters They did not plan the plot before they began writingAlmost every review I have found online describes Sorcery and Cecelia as a cross between the books of Jane Austen and those of J K Rowling The comparison does make sense but I might venture to say I liked this book better than any of the Harry Potter seriesThe year is 1817 in an England where magic is as much a part of life as letter writing The latter is of particular importance to Kate and Cecelia as the cousins spend the novel in separate parts of England While Kate and her glamorous sister Georgina are in London enjoying a proper Season Cecelia much to her consternation is left to languish in the country with her brother Oliver for company at least until he's turned into a treeProblems begin for both cousins when Kate accidentally intercepts a rather nasty pot of chocolate in a London garden that was apparently meant for the eccentric Maruis of Schofield If only he would explain exactly whyMeanwhile in the country Cecelia finds herself following a shady figure spying on Cecy's new and surprisingly popular friend Dorothea When Cecelia repeatedly catches him in the act of spying James Tarleton repeatedly refuses to offer any informationAs the girls learn about these mysterious men and the mysterious events it becomes clear that something big is happening big enough that evidence of the plan can be seen in both London and the country The only uestion is what exactly is going on and if Kate and Cecelia can stop it in timeBeing an homage to Jane Austen this novel has not one but two romances Which couple is better has been a hot topic since the book came out The librarian who recommended the book to me feels very strongly that the Mysterious Maruis and Kate are a enjoyable match to observe For my part I preferred Cecelia and JamesThis novel avoids all of the traps that can make an epistolary novel awful There is no repetition there is dialogue the narrative reads like a for lack of a better word normal book in that the narrative flows in a fairly traditional way There is neither too much information nor too little And most importantly the novel is filled with suspense action humor and romance that shines through both Cecelia's and Kate's lettersBut then from two talented and well known fantasy writers what else can a reader expect but perfectionSorcery and Cecelia is the first in a series of books featuring Kate and Cecelia Their stories continue in The Grand Tour 2004 and The Mislaid Magician of Ten Years After 2006You can find this review and on my blog Miss Print Hmn How did I feel about this bookIf critiue previous to my reading would have been negative I would probably be contrary and say Nonsense it was charmingHowever I had several reservations with this book1 It started out slow and confusing It took me until around page 100 to really like the story line I had a very difficult time sorting out Kate and Cecelia there was very little to distinguish them one from another the awful portraits of them on my cover didn't help Top that with mirror image characters surrounding each of them divided between London and Essex Thomas vs James Aunt Charlotte vs Aunt Elizabeth Georgina vs Dorothea It didn't matter which young lady was writing to me they and their party were the same For me this was so obvious that I would be surprised to hear that the authors didn't plan this or at least notice The only fairly well developed character was Sir Hilary2 It really irked me that the letters morphed into narration two or three paragraphs in Each letter starts as a first person description of events but uickly becomes an unidentified omniscient narrator with uoted dialogue No one writes a letter like this Perhaps the authors were trying to make it feel like a movie where the letter writer begins the narration that flashes back into the actual story I didn't buy it3 I find it highly implausible that a young lady who has just been abducted by enchantment will start off her letter calmly reciting what color dress she wore to the party First she would declare You won't believe what happened Then she would drop in lines about her dress as she is describing the events leading up to her abduction duh The tone of each letter was discordant with what had happened4 The anachronistic ways in which Kate and Cecy pushed aside all Victorian guidelines of propriety were also hard for me to believe Elizabeth Bennett herself wouldn't have thought to be so impertinent and impulsive5 The ending was too convenient and contrived Oh You mean there's a homing beacon on my locket How fortunate6 This is just being finicky but I really thought the title was cool before I read the book Obviously Sorcery Cecelia just rolls off your tongue but what about Kate What is this book without Cecelia AND Kate I tried to come up with a better title but I couldn't make it work I think I would have just stuck with The Enchanted Chocolate Pot but that would make seuels difficultOkay but I said it was charming I know it is meant for a young adult audience and the method of passing letters back and forth between the two authors without sharing a plot was meant merely for fun I really liked the overall premise I just thought there was much potential that wasn't reached I uite enjoyed this book It's a little bit mystery a little bit fantasy there's a little magic and a little romance all set in the early 1800's EnglandThe story takes place around cousins Cecelia and Kate one goes to London for the summer the other remains in the country Their correspondence begins ordinarily enough what tea party had been attended or the trouble with hand me down dresses but you get a sense very early on that Cecelia and Kate are kindred spirits and that there's to them than the dresses they wear or the balls they attendSoon after their written correspondence starts things begin to grow troublesome and it's clear that all is not as it should be Both girls uickly become involved in a dangerous and magic related mystery The cousins are eager to help the other best they can through their letters as each tries to manage the mystery on their end I only gave this book 4 stars because for me the beginning was a bit dull and it took a while for the plot to evolve Also it took a while to sort out everyone on their relations However after about a uarter of the book and definitely by the middle I was pulled in and realizing that the plot was far complex than I'd assumedAlso I applaud authors Wrede and Stevermer for telling one story with two protagonists I enjoyed both stories and felt that both Cecelia and Kate were dynamic and complete characters 2019 ReviewThe I seep myself in the Regency world the less I think I love this one Don't get me wrong it remains delightful Delicious I believe I originally called it But too many plot elements get left undeveloped for the seuel which I do not remember enjoying very much for me to truly find it satisfying And I guessI just find the conclusion to the romances a little disappointing too The heroes are lovely of course Good showing not telling But overall I would say the novel always leaves me wanting and not in the sense of linear story I want fleshed out Still recommend of course 2015 ReviewDelicious Witty unpredictable and very fun I meant to read only a few chapters before going to bed but ended up reading the entire thing in one sitting I love the epistolary style Regency feel and twisting plot with adorable romance thrown in for good measure It is one of those books that would have garnered a 5 star review from me a few years earlier but a few things bugged me Such as all the Regency slang thrown about It was goofy and delightful but kept me from taking anything too seriously Or the main characters who seemed really similar I realize they are written by different authors but while I could keep track of any number of suitors and aunts remembering which one was which took effort I thought of them as 'the London one' and 'the country one' for the longest time I liked Kate better The suitors are even worse By the end they began to show their own personality a bit a wee tiny tiny bit but mostly it felt like they were the same person except one had magic James however was everything that is amiable and superior I liked him a lot Not necessarily a bad thing but at the beginning there were so many young men introduced from Twins to neighbor boys that I was reminded of writing as a teenager You write in a lot of men and cast about for whichever one your heroine has the most chemistry with Thankfully in this the author succeeds as the characters have dramatic misunderstandings followed undoubtable chemistry The book has everything you could want from sham betrothals to balls to evil villains to witty one liners to untapped magic and two dark brooding romantic leads Oh yes definitely an immediate favorite 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 Since author Gail Carriger talked about this book on episode 191 of the Reading Envy Podcast I’ve seen several of you reading it Me too This is an epistolary novel between two friends in Regency England but a version that also contains magic It is very enjoyable as they navigate tricky witches and social expectations I would have loved this as a younger me in particular

About the Author: Patricia C. Wrede

Patricia Collins Wrede was born in Chicago Illinois and is the eldest of five children She started writing in seventh grade She attended Carleton College in Minnesota where she majored in Biology and managed to avoid taking any English courses at all She began work on her first novel Shadow Magic just after graduating from college in 1974 She finished it five years later and started her se

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