Title: Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot
Series: Cecelia and Kate
Author: Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer
Published: 1988 by Ace
Pages: 326 pages
Status: First reading, August 09 to 12, 2012
Genre: Historical fantasy, gaslight fantasy, alternative history, regency era, letter novel
Ops this somehow got published before I finished writing it, so now here it is again with the actuarial review there and not just a placeholder
This novel is a letter novel, written as letters between two cousins who are about the same age. I don’t know about you but it has been a long time since I read another letter novel, they were so common in the 1800s but it is a form what has fallen almost out of favour. I really like the form, it puts a first person narrative into the most natural form other than a framing story with where the story tells it to someone else in How I Met Your Mother style. I don’t particularly like framing stories, so I prefer this form. It is a wonderful way to play with the role of the narrator’s role. The two cousins are close and do not have many secrets from each other, but nothing prevents them from lying belatedly to each other and there by the reader. The letter form makes the point of view character’s role as narrator visible to the reader and forces you to think about it.
The language is delightful and very fitting for the two young girls going on adventures and telling each other about them.
The two protagonists are both headstrong, capable young women who takes action. That is not to say that they are never scared or make mistakes because they most certainly do. It is lovely to see female protagonists that are allowed to be flawed.
The books are all about love, relationships, romance and adventure as well as everyday problems of being a young woman, wife and mother in the regency era. They very much read like historical novels, but there are magic and fanatical elements in the books, which to me just make them all the more interesting.
There are 3 novels in the series and the two later ones are written quite a bit after the first one and are a bit more actionly than the first. They are all very good and quite readable. I very much enjoy this type of novel and the execution and voice are great.
I just realised that I have not read anything else by Caroline Stevermer, that has to be a mistake, doesn’t it? And it looks like she has more fun fantasy!