by syaffolee

Correspondence Regarding Various Magical Scandals

Last night, I breezed through a short novel titled Sorcery & Cecelia written by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. It’s really a shame that this book (and others like it) are being marketed solely to “young adults.” Sorcery & Cecelia is quite an amusing fantasy piece but somehow, I doubt the audience would be anyone but twelve year olds. How many adults do you ever notice perusing the young adult fiction shelf? None, with the exception of overbearing mothers who want to control their offspring’s literary intake. Even the publishers of the wildly successful Harry Potter series had to reprint the books in adult editions in an attempt to get more adult readers.

(Aside: Of course, I’m not ashamed to read anything. Only the marketers have the bad taste of putting bad covers and pigeonholing manuscripts which deserve no such thing.)

Sorcery & Cecelia was originally conceived by the two authors as a letter writing game with each author writing a letter in character but not revealing to the other what plot she had in mind. The correspondence in this novel is between two cousins who are also friends–Cecelia and Kate. After the “goat incident”, Kate is sent off to London with another cousin and aunt to attend a Season while Cecelia remains in the country. Despite the distance between the two of them, Kate and Cecelia manage to get into hot water anyway. Kate nearly gets poisoned by some hot chocolate from a magic chocolate pot meant for a mysterious marquis while Cecelia discovers a charm-bag underneath her brother’s bed after she notices him acting strangely.

The authors describe it as Jane Austen inviting J.R.R. Tolkien for tea, but perhaps a better picture would be Regency England in an alternate universe. Cecelia and Kate’s world is not at all surprised that there are wizards and enchantments running amuck. Perhaps with those of you with more high-brow fantasy tastes, the genre would fit squarely in that occupied by the far more verbose and ponderous Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (which I have yet to finish, but I’m getting there).