An Odd1's Reviews > Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot

Sorcery & Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede
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's review
Aug 21, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy
Read from October 01 to November 12, 2012

Cecilia (Pat), with Aunt Charlotte in Essex Rushton manor, exchanges letters with cousin Kate (Caro), chaperoned by Aunt Elizabeth in London's Berkeley Square for alluring Georgina's season. Kate is klutzy, trips on marble floor, trails hairpins, but her letters are indistinguishable in style from Cecy. Mistaking Kate for "odious marquise" Thomas of Schofield, a mysterious Miranda tries to poison Kate with drink from hot chocolate pot at Royal College of Wizards investiture for their country neighbor Sir Hilary of Bedrick Hall. When their shy friend Dorothea attracts men unwillingly, her step-mama Miranda Griscomb nee Tanistry, is obviously villain.

Thomas rescues brother Oliver, his "roundaboutation and arrogance" p87 annoys Kate, but the attraction is inevitable. When he tries to protect her, she disregards his message p153; he does not explain he is free of bewitching by Miranda. James, recently departed from the army, is introduced to Cecy by his mother and Rushton neighbor, Lady Tarleton; the romance is clearer to the reader than to either corresponding cousin.

Humor is delightfully light. Enchanted chess set "display their clothes, jostle for position, and, very, occasionally, crawl back into their velvet case to sleep .. just like real people" p276. Language style is reminiscent of Jane Austen, plus invented phrases "epicyclical elaborations", but action is livelier, deadly dangerous: transformation into trees, space-time tunnels, sorcerous power draining. (view spoiler)

p153 hetaera = courtesan, mistress, esp. in ancient Greece

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