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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
2,273912,813 (4.11)233
Member:Lostshadows
Title:Sorcery and Cecelia
Authors:Patricia Wrede
Other authors:Caroline Stevermer
Info:
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)

Recently added byprivate library, Akhena88, humblewomble, AmphipodGirl, AC_Katowice, foggidawn, Sheeo
  1. 132
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  9. 31
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» See also 233 mentions

English (90)  Dutch (1)  All languages (91)
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
My husband rates Sorcery & Cecelia a ten. He found it a quick, fun and entertaining read. I had a harder time getting into the book. Even after the plot took off with one of the character's disppearance I still found my attention wandering. It was until the last 80 or so pages that it completely engrossed me. ( )
  pussreboots | Oct 17, 2014 |
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. ( )
2 vote ncgraham | Dec 26, 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 |
This story - told entirely in epistolary form consisting of the correspondence between two cousins, Kate (written by Caroline Stevermer) in London with Aunt Charlotte for her Season, and Cecilia (Patricia Wrede) left behind at home with Aunt Elizabeth in Rushton, Essex - tells their interrelated adventures in an alternative England where magic exists as an honourable profession (to the extent that Wizard Wellington uses it in the war).

There are nefarious doings afoot, revolving around an enchanted (of all things) chocolate pot. Kate meets the Mysterious Marquis of Schofield, who has never bothered to visit his country manor near Rushton, while Cecy helps untangle his affairs at the Essex end, no thanks to a certain Mr. Tarleton - who is quite hopeless at spying from the shrubbery.

The two cousins, with long experience of getting into and out of scrapes in their childhood with their siblings (vis à vis the episode with the goat), find themselves involved in more serious affairs. They conduct themselves with their customary sang froid (developed over years of explanations to their aunts) and adventuresome curiosity - not to mention collecting beaux and attending balls along the way - and rescue not only themselves but their friends; in spite of the gentlemen's well-intentioned efforts to protect them.

This was a delightfully lighthearted romp in an alternative Regency England. I've had this book on my TBR pile for a while, and I wish I had picked up The Grand Tour, so I could continue reading the cousins' adventures without having to wait.

I also like the afterword, in which the two authors (Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer) take turns to tell us how the book came into being, as they wrote letters to each other in the personae of the two heroines, with no knowledge of the other writer's plot.

Absolutely fun!

Four and a half stars.

( )
2 vote humouress | Jun 24, 2013 |
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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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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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