Regular readers of my blog may find it astonishing that I had not read Sorcery and Cecellia by Patricia C. Wrede and Carolline Stervermer before now. I love Regency romance. I love magic. Any combination of these two things is enough to make me giddy. And it is an epistolary novel. I love those too. So what on earth took me so long? My immediate thought upon hearing of the existence of this book was, "This has to be one of the best books ever!" It was closely followed by, "What if it's not?" I have been bouncing between a wild anticipation to read it and nervous fear that has kept me from it ever since. I finally decided enough was enough.
Turns out my first thought was right on the mark. The book consists of the correspondence between two cousins, Kate and Cecelia. Kate is in London for her debut into society. Cecelia has been left behind. Their aunts think they get into too much trouble together. Turns out they can get into quite a lot of trouble apart as well. Kate is very nearly poisoned by a witch mistaking her for the Mysterious Marquis. Soon Kate finds herself faking a betrothal to said Marquis in an attempt to thwart the witch. In the meantime Cecelia is being spied upon by one of her neighbors and when he is not spying on her he is being surly and suspicious of her. The girls find themselves deeply embroiled in a plot involving stolen magic, evil neighbors, and, of course, love.
Kate and Cecelia are absolutely delightful characters. Each girl's letters were written by a different author and the result is they both have very different voices and personalities. The epistolary format gave color to their personalities and story. It also brought all of the secondary characters to life in wonderful ways. The letters are written as if the reader knows exactly who and what is being spoken of , which is exactly how epistolary novels should be written as, of course the reader is supposed to know, and need not have things explained to them. Reading this book is like coming across someone's long forgotten correspondence and reading it. I loved it.
It should also be noted that I was very fond of both Thomas and James as well. The romances in the book were done just right. They are typical Regency romance fare and that is a-okay by me because I like to have my expectations met. I enjoyed the Kate/Thomas interaction the most and felt more invested in their part of the story. I loved Cecey and James almost as much.
This is a perfect book for anyone, young or old, who is looking for Regency era books that are romantic and fun.