Cousins Kate Talgarth and Cecelia Rushton have been separated. While Kate enjoys the Season in London, Cecelia stays in the country. The cousins don'tCousins Kate Talgarth and Cecelia Rushton have been separated. While Kate enjoys the Season in London, Cecelia stays in the country. The cousins don't enjoy the separation, but they keep in touch via letters. Both are soon in the midst of a magical plot. It all started with a chocolate pot. Kate finds herself betrothed to Thomas, Marquis of Schofield and Cecy is sneaking around the countryside trying to find out what her neighbor James Tarleton is up to. Their connections with these gentlemen put Kate and Cecy in danger, but these young ladies are more than up to the task.
What I thought: I don't know how I missed this book. I love Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles. This book was just as fun. I loved the format--letters. My fondness for epistolary novels is one of longstanding. This is only the second one I've read where the letters are answered. The first being The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society. Kate and Cecy, or should I say Caroline and Pat, have a talent for writing letters. Their uncanny ability to relate incidents keeps the reader from missing any of the action. Adding magic to Jane Austen's England was ingenious. (And it's been done again with Marissa Doyle's Bewitching Season and Betraying Season.) Kate and Cecy are so well written that they might be some of Austen's heroines.
I love that the girls' relationships with their respective gentlemen are uneasy. They don't quite know how much to trust each other. The tension works well throughout the novel. The ending (not quite happily ever after, but close) was satisfactory and left me wanting to read more about Kate and Cecy's adventures. I'm glad the series continues with two more books: 2) The Grand Tour and 3) The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After.
A quick note about the authors' afterward: The letter game seems a novel idea (no pun intended!). It makes me want to find a writing friend and set to. Why haven't more books been born out of this game?
[The narrative was a little disjointed to start, but I really liked the story once I got into it. It's possible that my own unfamiliarity with the Pie[The narrative was a little disjointed to start, but I really liked the story once I got into it. It's possible that my own unfamiliarity with the Pied Piper story was what held me back. The Grimm Brothers collected a version for their book German Legends. Alas, I can't find an English translation. And there's also the Browning poem.:]
When Callie sees the lead singer of Brass Rat making rats dance, she knows she’s stumbled onto more than the eccentricities of the music world. She’s found the Pied Piper of Hamelin. That’s right—the guy who steals children.
The pied pier is actually an exiled Faerie prince who must pay a debt every seven year to remain immortal. This year, he doesn’t have the silver and gold, so it must be souls.
When the neighborhood children, including her younger brother Nick, disappear, it’s up to Callie to rescue the children and break the curse on the faerie prince.
What I thought: This book was a slow start for me. I found the narrative a bit disjointed (two story lines—Callie’s and the Piper’s). But I’ll chalk that up to my unfamiliarity with the original Pied Piper story. Once I got into the story, I loved it. Callie is a true heroine. Love the songs (poems?) in the book. They’re so lyrical that just reading them makes me her music in my head. ...more
In second grade now, Ramona finds adjusting to a full-time working mother difficult. She misses the time she used to spend with her mother. However, RIn second grade now, Ramona finds adjusting to a full-time working mother difficult. She misses the time she used to spend with her mother. However, Ramona resents being compared to Howie's horrid little sister Willa Jean. Seven and a half is a hard age.
This book definitely has the cozy yet realistic feel that all the other Ramona books have. Ramona's longing to be understood and cherished by her mother is endearing. She seems to want attention whether she realizes it or not. The running away scene was great. It's such a universal kid thing. I remember running away a few times myself. I'd pack up my pink plastic Barbie suitcase and head for the woods. A couple hours later Id' be home, over the hurt or anger that drove me from home in the first place.
Favorite Quotes: "Sewing seemed like a cozy way to spend a rainy morning" (37). "All sorts of uses for the sewing machine began to fly through Ramona's imagination" (46). "People should not think being seven and a half years old was easy, because it wasn't" (51).
Activities from Ramona and Her Mother: Sewing (Ramona wanted to make a book!) Building a boat Writing your name in an interesting way ...more