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Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede
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Sorcery and Cecelia (original 1988; edition 1988)

by Patricia Wrede, Caroline Stevermer

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,264912,826 (4.11)231
Member:Lostshadows
Title:Sorcery and Cecelia
Authors:Patricia Wrede
Other authors:Caroline Stevermer
Info:Ace (1988), Edition: First Edition, Mass Market Paperback, 197 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, Read 2012 (inactive)
Rating:*****
Tags:Historical, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance

Work details

Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede (co-author) (1988)

  1. 132
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (fyrefly98, ThatArtGirl)
    fyrefly98: Both have the same "Jane-Austen-meets-Harry-Potter" vibe to them; "Jonathan Strange" is denser and more grown-up, while "Sorcery & Cecelia" is funnier and more of a romp.
  2. 100
    Mairelon the Magician by Patricia C. Wrede (infiniteletters)
  3. 80
    Magician's Ward by Patricia C. Wrede (amberwitch)
  4. 71
    Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal (trollsdotter)
  5. 51
    To Say Nothing of the Dog; or, How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last by Connie Willis (Pagemistress)
  6. 30
    Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce (foggidawn)
  7. 41
    Freedom and Necessity by Steven Brust (puddleshark)
  8. 41
    Arabella by Georgette Heyer (allisongryski)
    allisongryski: Let me preface this recommendation by acknowledging that Arabella does not have the fantasy element of Sorcery & Cecilia. However, I think many readers of S & C will enjoy this excellently written Regency story, following the impetuous, charming Arabella when she goes to London for the Season. There is some light romance, similar in tone to that in S & C, but the story is more focused on the characters and the humour in their interactions and misadventures.… (more)
  9. 31
    The Magicians and Mrs. Quent by Galen Beckett (Anonymous user, MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For commonplace magic and properly brought-up young Englishwomen.
  10. 31
    Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis (keristars)
    keristars: These are somewhat similar - a Regency-era girl discovers that she has magic ability by accident and then gets into a bit of an adventure as a result. S&C is more of a mystery/romance/adventure while Kat is a do-gooder Emma type. In my biased opinion, the Burgis book is far and away the better of the two, but if you liked one, you're likely to enjoy the other.… (more)
  11. 10
    Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle (Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: A similar fun historical fantasy feel. Bewitching Season has twins Persephone & Penelope Leland using their (secret) magical skills to protect the teenaged princess Victoria from a dastardly magical plot.
  12. 00
    The Chocolatier's Wife by Cindy Lynn Speer (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For fans of epistolary elements.
  13. 00
    The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer (cransell)
  14. 00
    Star Well by Alexei Panshin (joiedelivre)
    joiedelivre: Another fantasy of manners, but set in an interplanetary milieu.
  15. 00
    Dark Mirror by M.J. Putney (foggidawn)
  16. 12
    Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder (missmaddie)
    missmaddie: Both books contain letter correspondence, and they also both have supernatural/fantasy elements. Likable girls as the main characters.
  17. 02
    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (Phantasma)
  18. 14
    A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (khuggard)
  19. 04
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (missmaddie)
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» See also 231 mentions

English (91)  Dutch (1)  All languages (92)
Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
Ever since the publication of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Regency and Victorian fantasies have become all the rage. I'm a great fan of Regency and Victorian literature, as well as of fantasy novels, so I've been excited to dip into these novels myself every now and then. I found Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell completely beguiling. Loved the writing of The Night Circus but had no patience with the central love story. Sorcery and Cecelia I had no patience with, period.

Of course Strange & Norrell didn't create a subgenre but merely popularized it, and apparently Sorcery and Cecilia was written before the demand for alternate histories swelled so. I have to give Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer credit for that, since I won't be giving them credit for much else.

The authors dedicate the book to four authors they cite as inspirations: Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ellen Kushner. I've not read any Kushner, but I don't see anything that even remotely recalls Austen or Tolkien in this book. Heyer, a little, but even billing Sorcery as Cecilia as "Heyer! with Magick!" would be overselling it. Heyer at her best is laugh-out-loud funny, creates unique, interesting, and distinguishable characters, and is capable of real feeling.

Wrede and Stevermer started Sorcery and Cecilia as a letters game, and it should have stayed that way. The plot is a mere nothing. Again, that might have been fine if there was enough humor, romance, and charm to counteract its insubstantiality, but there isn't. It's odd that Wrede and Stevermer created Cecy and Kate independently, because they are practically indistinguishable, aside from one being clumsier than the other. Each has a villain particular to her plotline, who of course are in cahoots. Each of them has an uptight aunt, likewise indistinguishable, breathing down her neck, and each is romanced by a dark and sardonic Stock Regency Hunk. *yawn* Everyone in this novel is just so vanilla. Cecy and Kate are always making fun of their respective siblings, Oliver and Georgy, who are in love, but honestly they are the most interesting characters in the book, mostly because they have faults other than spilling coffee on gloves. I cared a whole lot more about Georgy's gambling addiction than any of the magical goings-on.

There were a few good scenes, such as when Cecy—or was it Kate?—first sees the Enchanted Chocolate Pot and is almost poisoned, but so much of the rest was just meh. A thoroughly forgettable romp. Actually, it didn't even have enough spirit to be called a romp.

Now I want to play the letters game with someone, just because I think it would be fun. But I doubt I'd ever dream of publishing the results. And I will certainly not be reading the other books in Wrede and Stevermer's series. ( )
1 vote ncgraham | Dec 26, 2013 |
Fun, delightful, witty, those are the words most often repeated in the reviews for this book and it pretty well sums it up. You also see Jane Austen meets Harry Potter, which is I guess a good a shorthand as any, but I don't think it's a deep as Austen or as childish as the first Harry Potters. Two cousins, best friends and frequent co-conspirators in mischief are separated for the Season when one goes to London. This novel unfolds entirely with their correspondence as they encounter ballrooms, country parties, magical talents, evil sorcerers and, of course, romance. My only criticism would be that for the first few letters, our two heroines have pretty similar voices so it can be difficult to know exactly which one is writing. That sorted itself out pretty quickly for me and the book went on to be an enjoyable romp through the magic infused regency (and yes, Prinny even has a cameo) with our two plucky no-nonsense heroines. Perfect with a cup of afternoon tea! ( )
  CCleveland | Nov 27, 2013 |
How fun! Delightful romp. Gail Garriger meets Georgette Heyer. Love the epistolary form which allows for greater, sharper wit since everything is told post-action with the benefit of insight. I wish I knew someone with whom I could play this game. The heroines are clever and quick to react and though the language is sometimes a little too modern to allow for any true suspension of disbelief as regards to the setting, the world is believable enough. Will definitely read the sequels. ( )
  RubyScarlett | Nov 11, 2013 |
I am constantly on the hunt for new and interesting books to engage my 10 year old, especially if they have nothing to do with Yu-gi-oh or Pokemon or Shonen Jump, Avatar, Goosebumps, Animorphs, Lemony Snicket or Naruto. This book is based on a game called the Letter Game, where two people take on different personas and write letters as that persona for a defined period of time. I don’t think that
the authors intended to write a book, but found one at the end of their game. The authors (letter writers) write about cousins just after the Napoleanic wars in an England where
sorcery and magic are part of every day life. The story tells the trials and tribulations of two teenaged girls who are trying to save people they care about from death by magic. One is in London having her “coming out Season” while the other is left behind in the country. The book was a little hard to follow in the beginning, but I came to care about the characters and their adventures. The authors tidied up the ending very carefully and not-too quickly. ( )
  jlapac | Aug 14, 2013 |
Such a fun read! Jane Austen meets Harry Potter, except a lot shorter. I was fascinated by how the book came about in the Afterward. ( )
  jessibelle34 | Jul 14, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wrede, Patricia C.co-authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stevermer, CarolineAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
D'moch, LydiaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
James, CoreyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The authors wish to dedicate this book to Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ellen Kushner, all of whom, in their several ways, inspired us to create it.
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Dearest Kate, It is dreadfully flat here since you have been gone, and it only makes it worse to imagine all the things I shall be missing.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
In 1817, in England, two cousins, Cecelia living in the country and Kate in London, write letters to keep each other informed of their exploits, which take a sinister turn when they find themselves confronted by evil wizards. [Library of Congress summary]
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 015205300X, Paperback)

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!

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:00 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In 1817 in England, two young cousins, Cecilia living in the country and Kate in London, write letters to keep each other informed of their exploits, which take a sinister turn when they find themselves confronted by evil wizards.

(summary from another edition)

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