It's coming to you a little late, but I'm thrilled to be talking about the third read for The Year of Recommended Reads, a collaboration with my friend Lindsey of Bring My Books. It was her turn to pick a book for us both to read this month, and she decided to recommend a book that she absolutely loved and really wanted me to read! Like before, I'll be my review and a few favorites, though I missed out on doing the Goodreads status updates this time around. Don't forget to go and check out Lindsey's post as well!
Why was this book on my TBR? I'm confident that it was Lindsey who first brought this novel onto my radar. She absolutely adores it, and I remember seeing her rave about it. That was what was on my mind when I saw a Kindle deal for it, so I snatched it right up in the hopes of reading (and loving) it as much as she does!
What is the book about? This is the story of two teens - Kate and Cecelia - who live in an era just after the Napoleonic wars where magic exists. The two girls exchange letters back and forth about their current circumstances, Kate coming out in London society with her sister Georgina and Cecelia left behind at home. They share their day-to-day experiences, but eventually, both girls find themselves drawn into an exciting adventure involving magic, subterfuge, romance and yes, an enchanted chocolate pot.
What did I think of the book? Truthfully, it took me a couple of letters to get into the flow of the story, as its been some time since I've read a full epistolary novel. In many ways, this style of narration is difficult to pull off. The writer has to balance both the character recollection (as the character recounts their experience to the recipient of the letter) and the character reflections (as the character ultimately reveals bits of their personality through their expressions and thoughts). Happily, Wrede and Stevermer make a smashing success of using the epistolary format. It was a pleasure to get to read letters written by both Kate and Cecelia, and I can't say that I find myself fond of one over the other since I came to love them both equally.
It was also a lot of fun to read about their adventures (and misadventures) as they become entangled in a delicate situation involving mutual acquaintances and magical mayhem. I'll leave any further description of the plot at that, since it is my personal opinion that you ought to go into this one without knowing too much about it. But I will say that it is entertaining to read about all the things they experience, particularly the bits that made me laugh out loud. It is a full circle plot too, with a certain resolution by the end - a great thing for those of us who love a novel that can stand-alone within its own series.
I really enjoyed Sorcery & Cecelia! It was a fun, light historical fantasy (very light on the fantasy, mind you, as the magic is integrated with a light hand), and I'd highly recommend checking it out for yourself should you get the opportunity. As for me, I will most definitely be reading the next book in the series, for I find that I desire more adventures with Cecelia, Kate and their family and friends.
Sorcery & Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer
Series: Cecelia and Kate #1
Publisher: Open Road Young Readers | Publication Date: May 22, 2012
Favorite character? This is honestly going to be the most difficult question to answer, because I really, genuinely adored both Cecelia and Kate. Kate was well-meaning, smart and slightly awkward; Cecelia was headstrong, passionate and impulsive. I certainly found their differences appealing as we switched from one to the other with each letter. I therefore say that they are both my favorite character! (There are two gentlemen in the running as well, mind you, but I can't mention them for fear of spoilers. But trust me when I say that they, too, are impossible to choose between.)
Favorite scene? There are also a lot of scenes that I absolutely loved in this story! But one scene that particularly stands out to me involves the following elements: darkness, a lady, a gentleman, an empty street, a conversation and a waltz. That's all you'll be getting, so you'll have to read it yourself to find out what (and who) I'm talking about!
Favorite quote? "There is nothing that is quite so reassuring in an awkward situation as knowing that one is well turned-out, and while I hope I am not so fainthearted as to require such stratagems, I am not so foolish as to overlook their value."