Bewitching Season [NOOK Book]

Overview

In 1837 London, young daughters of viscounts pined for handsome, titled husbands, not careers. And certainly not careers in magic. At least, most of them didn’t.

Shy, studious Persephone Leland would far rather devote herself to her secret magic studies than enter society and look for a suitable husband. But right as the inevitable season for "coming out" is about to begin, Persy and her twin sister discover that their governess in magic has ...

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Bewitching Season

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Overview

In 1837 London, young daughters of viscounts pined for handsome, titled husbands, not careers. And certainly not careers in magic. At least, most of them didn’t.

Shy, studious Persephone Leland would far rather devote herself to her secret magic studies than enter society and look for a suitable husband. But right as the inevitable season for "coming out" is about to begin, Persy and her twin sister discover that their governess in magic has been kidnapped as part of a plot to gain control of the soon-to-be Queen Victoria. Racing through Mayfair ballrooms and royal palaces, the sisters overcome bad millinery, shady royal spinsters, and a mysterious Irish wizard. And along the way, Persy learns that husband hunting isn’t such an odious task after all, if you can find the right quarry.
 

Bewitching Season is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Doyle's debut novel is a Georgette Heyer-style, light-as-a-feather romance with supernatural overtones. Ball after ball and visits to Kensington Palace and brushes with royalty await twins Persephone (Persy) and Penelope (Pen) in their first season "out" in early Victorian London society. But when their beloved instructor of magic/governess Miss Allardyce (Ally) is kidnapped by a handsome stranger as part of a devious royal plot, her two devoted wards set out to discover the truth about Ally's disappearance and save the day. Luckily, the plot relies little on magic (it's difficult for "cloaking spells" and cries of "repellere statim!" not to seem like pale imitations of Harry Potter), except as a device to conjure court intrigue. The story hinges instead on the will-they, won't-they budding romance between Persy and her handsome, all-grown-up childhood friend, Lochinvar (Lord Seton). This diverting melodrama will likely please older middle-grade readers more than teens reared on Gossip Girl—its bubbly heroines, however spirited, are innocents, not schemers. Ages 14-up. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
KLIATT
AGERANGE: Ages 12 to 18.

This is a story of twins coming out as debutantes in England, presented to the court just as Princess Victoria is turning 18. The twins, Persy and Pen, share a birthday with Victoria and have always felt a special connection to her. The twins have a gift of magic, and a lovely woman, Miss Allardyce, has helped them channel their talents. But Miss Allardyce is abducted and held prisoner in Kensington Palace by those who want to hold power when Victoria becomes queen. The girls have to use their magical skills to rescue her. In the meanwhile, they attend balls, flirt, and worry about falling in love. It’s light-hearted fun, a romp really, but with a challenging vocabulary and cultural references, so it will appeal to readers of historical romance. There is a terrifically entertaining little brother, Charles, who tries to help his older sisters, and shows courage and intuitive strength whenever it’s needed. Reviewer: Claire Rosser
March 2008 (Vol. 42, No.2)

VOYA
AGERANGE: Ages 11 to 15.

The London social season of 1837 is about to begin. The seventeen-year-old Leland twins, Persephone and Penelope, view it very differently. Persy is dreading everything. Instead of simpering and flirting with potential beaus, she would much rather be discussing books with handsome Lochinvar or working on her magic skills with Ally, their governess. Penelope, on the other hand, delights in the new clothes and dancing lessons and cannot wait to be presented to the Queen. When Ally is kidnapped in a plot to undermine Princess Victoria's ascension to the throne, the twins and their little brother, Charles, must use their skills and magical talent to stop the conspiracy. The unnecessary love spell Persy casts on Lochinvar complicates matters to no small degree as she tries to avoid him at all costs. Young love, the social scene in pre-Victorian London, the royal family with all its intrigue, and a good dose of magic are woven together well in this debut novel. The charming Leland women, although identical in looks, are clearly quite different in personality. But for all her intelligence, when it concerns Lochinvar, Persy annoyingly acts like a love-sick thirteen-year-old rather than a young woman on the brink of adulthood. A few surprises make the conclusion nicely satisfying, resulting in a good book to pick for several hours of enjoyable escape. Reviewer: Roxy Ekstrom
April 2008 (Vol. 31, No. 1)

Children's Literature - Amie Rose Rotruck
Persy and Pen are twin sisters in 1837 London. They are like most other young ladies in high society in that era—eagerly awaiting their debut and presentation to Princess Victoria. There is one major difference between the twins and other young ladies: Persy and Pen are studying magic. Tutored by their governess Ally, Persy yearns to study magic full time while Pen cannot wait to start husband-hunting. When Ally mysteriously vanishes, the twins wonder what has happened and if there is any sinister plot behind it. Meanwhile, Persy falls in love with their handsome childhood friend Charles and, despairing of ever making him love her, casts a love spell. When it looks like the spell has succeeded, Persy wonders how she can live with someone who does not love her naturally. While the concept of mixing magic and high society is intriguing, the disappearance of the governess does not affect the lives of the girls that much until later in the book. The girls hardly seem concerned with the mystery, which makes them less sympathetic. This mix of history and fantasy is weighted too heavily in social politics and too little in magic. Reviewer: Amie Rose Rotruck
School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up- For many girls, the prospect of preparing for a London debut into society would be terribly exciting. Persephone Leland, however, would like nothing more than to read her books and practice her magic in private. It's 1837, and 17-year-old Persy, who lacks the confidence of her twin sister, is unprepared when their childhood friend Lochivar Seton appears once more in their lives and finds his way into Persy's heart. If that weren't enough, the girls' governess and tutor in magic has been kidnapped in conjunction with a sinister plot that will affect the future of Queen Victoria. When Persy messes with spells that have no place in 19th-century high society, things become a little more complicated, and a lot more exciting. A pleasant premise from the outset, the real problem with the book is just how unsympathetic its heroine is. Persephone is none too bright, perpetually self-pitying, and essentially unlikable. Though it starts out well, the story for the most part is predictable and the ending leaves more than a few loose strings dangling. For a better mix of a Jane Austen-like comedy of manners and magic, consider Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer's clever Sorcery and Cecelia or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot (Harcourt, 2003) instead.-Elizabeth Bird, New York Public Library

Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In her debut, Doyle offers a heart-throbbing romance full of magic and royal-court intrigue. Penelope and Persephone Leland, 17-year-old twins, will be presented at court in London of 1837. Outgoing Pen is excited about the balls and parties, whereas bookish Persy is full of dread: She'd much rather continue to study magic and become a teacher. When the two arrive in London, their beloved governess, Ally, goes missing and the sisters try to discover her whereabouts. Persy overhears a plot against the soon-to-be-crowned Queen, and the twins must match their magical abilities against those of a powerful wizard. Amidst all the pomp and glory, Persy struggles with her own tumultuous feelings for the dashing Lord Seton, whom she's loved since they were children. Is it truly his heart professing love, or is it the result of a magic potion? There are many many plot twists and turns, which the author successfully keeps from unraveling. Though magic plays a major part, the story, with references to historical people and events, is firmly grounded in reality. Fans of historical mysteries will find this a page-turner. (Fiction. 12-15)
From the Publisher
* "This wonderfully crafted debut novel braids several very different storylines into an utterly satisfying whole." - Booklist, starred review

"Fans of historical mysteries will find this a page-turner." - Kirkus

"A romp." - Kliatt

"A good book to pick for several hours of enjoyable escape." - Voya

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429965910
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 265,463
  • Age range: 14 - 18 Years
  • File size: 524 KB

Meet the Author

Marissa Doyle is fascinated by the past and lives in Massachusetts, where she is surrounded by history.

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Read an Excerpt


Bewitching Season
1APRIL 1837--MAGE'S TUTTEROW, HAMPSHIRE, ENGLAND 
My God, Persy, you killed him!""I did not!" the Honorable Persephone Leland snapped back at her twin sister, Penelope, who was perched on the battered schoolroom table. She rubbed her damp palms on her apron--they still tingled, the way they usually did after she'd cast a spell--and looked anxiously at her little brother, sprawled pale and motionless on the faded Turkish carpet in front of her. What would she say to Mama? "I seem to have killed Charles during lessons this morning" would probably not go over well as a conversation starter at lunch. She turned to her governess. "Oh, Ally, I did it just like the other times!"Miss Allardyce had assigned them halting spells today. While Pen watched, Persy had stopped Charles in his tracks a dozen times with her command of repellere statim! But this time her spell's force had not only halted him but also knocked him over backward. She dropped to the floor and grabbed one of his limp hands. "Charles, please, are you all right?"Miss Allardyce sighed. "Penelope, do not take the Lord's name in vain. A true lady is known by her conduct under trying circumstances. And Charles, get up before your sisters have hysterics. I know you're hoaxing us." She bent and gave one of his brown curls a sharp tug.Persy exhaled in relief as her brother opened his eyes and gave her an impudent grin. "Got you, Persy." He sprang up and held out a hand to her. "Tell me you weren't just a little worried."She was, but she'd never admit it to him, the little beast. Ignoring his hand, she scrambled to her feet and shook out the creases in her pink morning dress.Honestly, why did Ally let Charles sit in on their magic classes when he was home from school on holidays? Yes, it was helpful to have someone on whom to practice spells like this one, and they couldn't very well ask any of the servants. Magic was not something one advertised, as Ally frequently reminded them. It was risky enough having their lessons in the schoolroom, but Ally had set up a warning spell at the end of the corridor in case the footman came up with more coal for the fireplace. Still, practicing on Charles was sometimes too much."I wasn't worried. In fact, I rather hoped I'd found a spell to knock you unconscious. It would have been terribly useful," she said, looking down her nose at him. He grinned again and stuck out his tongue at her."Persy," Ally chided. "Is that a commendable sentiment?""No, but it's an honest one." Persy collapsed on the yellow brocade sofa Mama had sent up here when it became too disreputable for the morning room. Between practicing that halting spell and the hour of object teleportation and manipulation before that--not tomention Charles's shenanigans--her head was starting to pound. Hard magic practice always did that to her. "I think I've had enough for one morning, please, Ally. It's Pen's turn."Miss Allardyce frowned as she consulted the watch at the waist of her neat maroon dress. "You have another ten minutes scheduled--"Persy groaned and began to rise."--but I shall excuse you for this morning." She bent over Persy and brushed her fingers across her forehead. "Better?" she added softly, belying her stern look."Yes, thank you." Persy closed her eyes and sighed. She would have to learn Ally's headache-curing spell one of these days.Pen shook her head as she rolled up the sleeves of her dress. "You're such a goose, Persy. If you didn't stay up late every night reading Ally's spell books, you wouldn't get the megrims.""But if I don't study them now, when will I be able to? We leave for London next week." Persy kept her eyes closed so that she wouldn't have to see Pen's face light up at the mention of London."I know." Pen's voice was dreamy. "I can't wait. Balls and parties and getting presented at court--""--and having to be polite to witless boys who talk only about clothes and boxing matches--" Persy grimaced as she thought of it."--and men with exquisite manners asking us to dance--" Pen ignored her."--and nasty mamas who scowl if you're asked to dance before their daughters are--""--and society beauties in the latest fashions--""--and boring conversation about who cut whom dead at Lady So-and-So's reception--""--and maybe finally seeing the princess." Pen finished triumphantly.That stopped Persy dead. If she had to "come out"--go to London and be presented to Queen Adelaide and attend balls and be a proper society miss looking for a husband--then the least that should happen was that she get a glimpse of Princess Victoria. Ever since they'd learned that they shared the princess's May birthday, she and Pen had scoured the illustrated papers for pictures and snippets of information about the girl who would someday be queen of England. Imagine, someone just their age--and a girl, just like them--as queen ... after so many decades of disreputable old men ruling the country, it was fascinating to contemplate."Do you think we ever will see her?" she couldn't help asking."Just think ... if she should become queen tomorrow." Pen's voice was breathless. "Then we'd be presented to--to her!""Girls." Ally stepped forward, shaking her head but smiling. "That would presuppose the death of our present king, which is hardly kind or proper. And if Princess Victoria were to become queen before she turns eighteen, it is more likely that you'd be presented to her mother as the queen's regent.""Oh." Pen sounded disappointed. "Well, it was just a thought. But maybe we will see her, just the same ... they say she's ever so tiny, but has the most beautiful blue eyes. Do you remember the sketch of her Grandmama sent us last year? I wonder how she wears her hair now? Do you think it's like that illustration we saw in--"Ally cleared her throat. "Might we continue with our lesson before the bell rings for luncheon? Charles, if you will ... Charles?"A snoring sound issued from under the sofa. Persy started, and peered under its edge."I got bored and went to sleep while you talked about that girl stuff," he said, opening one blue eye and squinting at her.Eleven-year-old boys. What else should she expect? Persy poked him. "Come on out, Chucklehead.""Don't want to. I'm tired of getting pushed around while you practice magic on me. Why can't I learn too, Ally?" He rolled out from under the sofa and glared up at them. "I'm stuck going to rotten old Eton while you two have fun here doing spells all the time."Ally shook her head at him. "I've told you, Charles. Boys your age don't usually have the capacity for magic. And in your family it has been the girls who possess it. Attending Eton is a privilege that only you, as a boy, can enjoy. Don't begrudge your sisters their education.""You get to learn Greek," Persy said glumly. Oh, how she'd love to learn ancient Greek, and be able to read The Odyssey in Homer's own words.Pen made a face at her and strolled to the ivy-shrouded window. "And fencing. Now that would be exciting. Come on, Chuckles. Let's get busy. It looks like the rain's finally stopped. After lunch you can go outside and play and not endure the torture of watching us anymore." 
Crossing the dark-paneled hall on her way to the midday meal, Persy glanced up at the great family-tree mural painted on one wall. When twin girls were born to James Leland, thirteenth Viscount Atherston, and his wife, Lady Parthenope, it was reckonedthe joke of the season: no daughters had been born in the direct Leland line since King Henry created the title in the 1530s.What few remembered after such a long time was that Leland women were known for their magical abilities. It was only thanks to Ally, whose mother had traced the histories of the magic-possessing families of England, that the Leland girls had learned to use their power.Lord Atherston was a quiet, scholarly man who took great joy in finding two perfect classical names for his two tiny perfect daughters. Though Mama had told them that she'd protested, citing the tears she had shed in her early schoolroom years learning how to spell her own classically derived name, he was adamant.And so the names Persephone and Penelope had duly been painted onto that wall, to be joined six years later by that of Charles Augustus, or Chuckles, as his sisters had christened him. Eventually Charles's name would be outlined in gold as the fourteenth viscount. Rather sooner, hers and Pen's would be joined by other names, names that belonged to eligible young twigs from other family trees.Persy's mouth went dry at the thought. Why couldn't she stay a child forever, having magic lessons with Ally and sneaking books out of Papa's library to read and avoiding the agony of coming out and balls and meeting strangers? She shivered and averted her eyes from the wall as she followed Pen into the breakfast room.Papa stood by the marble fireplace, toasting his backside and reading a small leather-bound volume of Virgil's Eclogues. Their mother, Lady Parthenope, as she was still called--she had never quite been able to forget that she was a duke's eldest daughter--stood by the window with Miss Allardyce, who always joined them for family meals.Mama looked at the clock on the chimneypiece. "Where is your brother?""I don't know. He left the schoolroom before we did," said Persy. She did not add that he had done so in a temper, tired of Pen's spotty success at halting spells: After he'd been jerked back and forth half a dozen times as her spell faded in and out, he had fled."It is fortunate that he will return to Eton in two days," offered Ally. "He is getting restless. Shall I ring for him?" She turned toward the bellpull."No, no. Let him miss a course, and then we shall see if he pays attention to the bell next time," Mama replied as she took her seat at table. "James, dear?""Of course." Papa slipped a ribbon into his book and put it on the table next to him, where he kept glancing at it longingly as Harry the footman brought in a platter of cutlets, followed by Mrs. Groening, the housekeeper, with a bowl of beetroot salad."Girls," said Mama as Harry served her, "now that Easter is past we will be leaving for London to shop for your clothes. Mrs. Albee has done an adequate job on your daytime dresses, but of course your party and ball dresses must be made in town. On Wednesday Miss Allardyce will go up to London to help open the house and start seeing about your wardrobes. We shall follow along in a few days--""But that means we'll miss lessons," Persy interjected.Mama looked nettled. "Persephone dear, you would do well to put more effort into your dancing and less into Latin. I do not want you being called a bluestocking before you are even out."Before Persy could open her mouth, Ally chimed in. "Mrs. Forrest was saying just last week at their party how well Persephone carriedherself while dancing. The vicar's wife agreed, and she is the daughter of a baronet and was presented at court.""Did she? Well ..." Their mother picked up her fork again, mollified. "However, you must show me your court curtsies. I will get a sheet from Mrs. Groening after luncheon and see how well you can do them with a train." She looked again at the clock. "Now, where could that boy have got to?""He'll remember hot cutlets regretfully enough when he's on the coach back to Eton and has only cold bread and meat to eat," said Papa, helping himself to seconds at the sideboard. "When I was his age--""Oh, dear," said Ally, rising and hurrying to the window. Mama rose too and gasped.Just then Persy heard it--a thin high wail, rather like the sound the enormous copper boiler in the kitchen made when Mrs. Groening was putting up marmalade. She and Pen rushed to the window after Ally.The strange wail was coming from Charles, being carried up the terrace stairs by the head gardener. His brown curls were damp and matted with leaves, and his left arm had been hastily wrapped in what looked like the gardener's coat.Mama was not a duke's daughter for nothing. After that one shocked intake of breath, she glided--albeit quickly--through the connecting door to the morning room, where doors to the terrace were open in the spring sunshine.Persy and Pen exchanged anxious looks. Charles was a great boob sometimes, but if anything had happened to him ..."Sit, girls, and finish your meal," Ally enjoined them. "Yourmother and I will deal with this. I rather doubt Charles will be returning to Eton anytime soon." She rang the housekeeper's bell vigorously and followed Mama into the next room. 
"Ow! You're tugging too hard!" Pen squirmed in the chair before the looking glass."I'm sorry. I didn't mean to. Just thinking." Persy made a face in the mirror over her sister's head and kept on brushing the wavy honey brown veil of hair. Pen's hair was so thick and beautiful. Brushing it out was always a soothing and absorbing task for Persy, but one that left her feeling vaguely unsatisfied with her own hair. Even if it were exactly the same color and texture as her sister's.Ally chided her for thinking Pen prettier than she, but Persy couldn't help it. Maybe it was Pen's lively, outgoing nature that added that extra sparkle to her blue eyes and animation to her features. Whatever it was, Persy felt like a pale, washed-out version of her sister."Thinking about what? Chuckles?" Pen set down the book she'd been squinting at in the dim candlelight."About Charles, and other things. He told me while Mama was getting the poppy tincture that he'd climbed the ivy vine so that we'd think he was doing a hovering spell outside the schoolroom window. We weren't even in the schoolroom anymore, which he might have deduced if he'd looked at a clock. Watching us practice magic and not being able to do it himself bothers him. One plait or two?""One, please." Pen bowed her head and sighed as Persy started braiding. "And now Mama won't let him go back to Eton until his wrist heals. All she needs is a fretful boy to deal with while she'sgetting ready for our coming out. Really, Perse, we had more sense at two than he does at eleven.""He's a boy. They don't learn sense until they're thirty. If then." Persy scowled at the thick braid forming under her fingers, then tied it off with a ribbon. Boys! And now they would have to go to London and deal with crowds of them."Stop frowning. It gives you wrinkles." Pen jumped up and pushed her down into the seat. "Anyway, we won't be doing lessons with Ally gone. Chuckles won't have to fret too much. Oh, Persy, London dresses! And Ally will be helping with them, so they're sure to be perfect.""But then we have to go out and wear them in public.""That would be the general idea," agreed Pen. She bent and put her face close to Persy's so that they were reflected side by side in the mirror. "Very well, Persephone Augusta Caroline. Tell me that you're not the least little bit interested in going to London. Swear it."Persy shifted in her seat and averted her eyes. "Stop that. All right, I can't. I do like the thought of wearing pretty new gowns and being presented to the queen and seeing--seeing everything. London. The streets and the shops and the people. The parties and balls and the people in their jewels being gossipy and fascinating. Even the princess, if we're lucky. I just wish I could be invisible while I do it. Don't you understand? When I'm at a party my mouth goes dry and all the scraps of conversation about the weather I've planned out beforehand vanish. And my gloves get damp because my hands are sweating, and I can't remember anyone's name even though they've just been introduced to me. And that's just at thelittle country parties we've been to. What will it be like at a London ball?""Hold still. You've a nasty knot here."Persy gritted her teeth as the brush tugged at her hair. The scent of lavender oil drifted past her; Pen had drizzled a few drops onto her brush to help smooth out tangles. She closed her eyes and inhaled. She usually found the scent of lavender calming, but tonight it didn't seem to work."You know you can't stay here and hide forever," Pen said after a few more strokes of her brush. "Life is full of challenges, as Ally's always saying.""Studying magic is a challenge too. It just happens to be a challenge that I'm not afraid of meeting.""Then it's not much of a challenge, is it?""Oh, hush. You're not Ally. You can't get away with saying things like that. I've got an idea, Pen. You can go to London and come out for both of us. We're twins, after all. You'll do it beautifully. Then Papa can tell suitors, 'If you like this one, there is another just like her at home.' Or better yet, he can tell them I'm a frightful bluestocking, spend all my time with my nose in a book, and can only speak Latin, so they're best off forgetting about the other Leland twin."Pen laughed and shook her head. "Shall I tell Papa that?""I was joking, goose. I know I don't have a choice. I'll just be dreadful at it and disappoint Mama sorely and be miserable for the rest of my life." Persy grimaced at her reflection."You won't be dreadful. You'll be fine. Besides, what would you do if you didn't go to London and come out?"Would Pen laugh if she told her? "Oh, I don't know. Anything."She took a deep breath and spoke in a rush. "Be a teacher like Ally, and find children to teach in families that have a history of magic, like she did with us. Or go to a university and study. I'd love to do those things more than anything."Pen shook her head. Persy could read the skepticism in her eyes. "Persy, that's--that's very noble and everything, but it's not what we are. Papa's a viscount. Viscounts' daughters don't become governesses or scholars or anything. They marry men of their own class and have babies and run their husbands' houses. Now, stop looking so grim. It will be all right. We'll be doing London together, remember?""Are you two still talking about London?" Miss Allardyce, wearing a flannel night robe and an indulgent smile, came into the room.Persy turned in her seat. "I wish I could come with you on Wednesday and visit your family's bookshop. That would give me something pleasant to look forward to.""I promise to take you there when you arrive next week, if you are not too busy shopping." Ally took the brush from Pen and finished brushing Persy's hair. Persy saw her smile in the mirror become pensive. "I shall miss you, you know. I have enjoyed my years with you very much.""But you'll only be gone a few days--" Pen began, then stopped. "Oh. I'd not really thought about that."Persy's melancholy deepened. She and Pen were about to take their places in society as adults. There would be no reason for Ally to remain as their governess once they were out. But Ally had been with them for ten years, since they were small. She was practically part of the family. What would they do without her?"Just because we're coming out doesn't mean that we want you to leave us," she added, to fill in her sister's abashed silence."Thank you. However, your parents might find my continued presence superfluous." Ally put the brush down on the dressing table and plaited Persy's hair."But we're just now really getting good at magic--at least, Persy is. I should have worked harder. I somehow never thought that you'd have to go away someday." Pen gave her a stricken look in the mirror."Not many young wives take their governesses with them when they marry," Ally teased gently. "How would you and Persy decide who got me? Or will you take a leaf from Solomon's book and divide me in two?""If anyone could manage that, it would be you," Persy said."Ah, if you think I am powerful, you should have met my grandmother. You read her grimoire, Persy. Couldn't you feel her power in it?""Yes, especially when the pages turned themselves to where they thought I should read," Persy agreed.Ally nodded. "I doubt another witch of her time was as powerful as she.""What about you today? How many witches are there in England who can do half of what you can?" Persy demanded."As the first tenet among witches is to conceal their powers, I could not say." Ally's voice was prim, but Persy caught the note of pleasure in it. "You would do well to remember that, especially as you enter society.""We know," said Pen. "You've told us before.""I shall say it again, and it will not be the last time. Consider it in this light. The last execution for witchcraft in Great Britainoccurred less than a hundred years ago. I know that sounds like a very long time ago at age seventeen--""Almost eighteen," Pen reminded her."--but in terms of how far the nation has come in overcoming superstition, it is no time at all. Most of the people who were executed as witches probably weren't witches at all, but that did not matter, did it?""But as you said, no one's been executed for witchcraft for a hundred years. I don't see what you're so worried about. We'll be careful," Pen protested."No one's been executed. But there are other ways to die, ones that do not involve bloodshed. Think about what would happen if it were to become known that you were witches. You wouldn't be burned at the stake, no. You might even find yourself popular with those who would try to manipulate you into using your power for their benefit. But the greater part of society would shun you. Carriages would speed up when they drove past your house, to avoid contamination. You would never be welcome at court. And all your suitors would vanish like fog at sunrise. It would not matter that you are both lovely, charming girls. The assumption would be that you are somehow evil."Even Persy felt stricken at the picture Ally painted. "But we aren't evil.""Of course you aren't. But in the face of popular perception, truth has little power. Do you see?"Pen's face was pale, even by firelight. "Then I suppose it doesn't matter that I'm not very good at magic, since we can never use it," she said in a small voice."I didn't say that you couldn't use it. Listen to me, girls. So longas you keep it secret, you will be able to use it to accomplish good things, useful things.""Such as?"Ally sighed. "I am not a seer, Persy. But your parents and I raised you to be moral, honest, upright women. Someday you will be able to use your magic in moral and honest ways. Until then, watch and wait. And keep your secret.""Have you ever done anything great and good with your magic, Ally?" Persy leaned back against Ally's side. She remembered why she found the scent of lavender so comforting: Ally always smelled faintly of it.There was a smile in Ally's voice. "I've taught you. Does that count? My grandmother once said to me what I just said to you. Becoming your governess was one way to do good. Maybe I will be able to do more someday. In the meanwhile, it was a more interesting prospect than marrying any of the young men who came calling at my father's shop."Persy felt a faint flicker of envy. If only she had the option of going out to teach, rather than to dance and flirt and look for a husband ..."Did young men really come to your family's shop to see you?" Pen asked."Yes." A faint pink suffused Ally's face and the corners of her mouth turned up. "They still do, though my sister has little patience for them, either. I simply never met a man who was more interesting to me than my profession as a teacher.""Doubt I will, either," muttered Persy."But if you did--" Pen began."Quite enough. I have left a list of spells for you to practice.When you arrive in town we can move on to new work. Penelope, your sister will be happy to help you with any that cause you trouble. And Persy--" she hesitated."Yes, Ally?""Do practice your dancing with your sister. I regret having had to fib to your mother about your dancing skills at luncheon today." She smiled and kissed them both good night, then took up her candle and glided from the room.Text copyright © 2008 by Marissa Doyle
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 43 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    An Amazing Book!!!!!!!! Don't Judge it because it will capture your heart!!!

    The book was one of the best books I have ever read!!! It has captured my heart just like how Twilight did, but the book is for anyone (including non-Twilight fans) I persuade Mrs. Marissa Doyle to write another book in that series, or even maybe send it to be made into a movie. I will recommend it to anyone who is bored and is looking for a book to capture their heart then when their done to read Betraying Season and learn more about the other Leland twin. This is one book I will never forget and will hopefully read the third book in this series one day. Thank You for reading my review and best wishes to Mrs. Doyle.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2008

    Amazing!

    Persephone and Penelope Leland are young witches learning magic and trying to find their future husbands. But when their governess (her name is Ally) goes missing, the sisters and their eleven year old brother search for Ally in 1837 London. But when they encounter Sir John Conroy and Princess Sophia they fall into even greater danger (though they were in danger already). Along the way Persephone and her sister will go to dances, Tea, and meet Princess Victoria. They have to stick together to find Ally and with help of a close friend, they just may be able to defeat the bad guys. <BR/><BR/>Bewitching Season was very well written. For Marissa Doyle¿s first novel it was fantastic. I loved that Persephone was a 18 year old girl that reads and enjoys books better than going to balls and to tea. <BR/>I didn¿t dislike anything in this book, I loved every single page. Bewitching Season was one of those books that you had to keep on reading even if your favorite TV show was on or that it one o¿clock in the morning. <BR/>It was an absolute page turner. I can¿t wait until the next book comes out (Betraying Season will come out spring 2009). I would recommend this book to girls that are 12 and up that love history and magic.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Tasha for TeensReadToo.com

    Persephone and Penelope Leeland are the twin daughters of a well-known English viscount and are getting ready to be thrown into their first season. While you couldn't tell the girls apart by looking at them, if you talked to them you would know that they are completely different. <BR/><BR/>All Penelope can talk about is the upcoming balls that the girls are planning on going to and the numerous gowns that she is going to wear. She loves all thoughts that have to do with future dances and possible husbands. Then there is Persephone. She would much rather hunker down and devote her time to magical studies. She really doesn't want anything to do with finding a husband or dancing the night away in a dress that she can hardly breathe in. <BR/><BR/>Just as the season is about to begin, the girls' governess disappears. It's up to the girls to figure out what happened. Along the way the girls will discover that the kidnapping has much to do with the plot to take away Princess Victoria's power. Encountering many interesting people, including a mysterious Irish wizard and a boy who might just be husband-worthy, the girls set off to solve the mystery. <BR/><BR/>I am a huge historical fiction fan as well as love books that include magic. Putting the two together created an amazing book that I instantly fell in love with. I thought that the story was completely original and absolutely spellbinding. I was highly impressed with Marissa Doyle's ability to captivate my attention throughout the entire book. I don't think I actually put the book down once - which is a big thing for me! I thought it was really neat that the main characters were twins who really didn't have much in common. The girls' differences thoughout made the book so interesting and it was really evident that they depended on each other for different strengths. <BR/><BR/>Another really special thing about this book is that the story sticks. The story keeps ringing through my head and I'm still loving it! I was really impressed with Ms. Doyle's debut novel and absolutely cannot wait for the sequel which will be out sometime next year (why oh why does it have to be that far away?!). It has definitely become a new favorite of mine, and if you haven't had the opportunity to read BEWITCHING SEASON I highly suggest you run out and get it now.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Bewitching Season

    Bewitching Season is just perfect. You just have to read it if want to have a good life. Perfect for curling up and reading it. There's magic, romance, and of course, a happy ending. You just want to read it straight through the night until you finish it. Perfect

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    an alluring early Victorian historical with strong fantasy elements

    In 1837 seventeen years old twins Penelope and Persephone Leland differ about their feelings about their debut season. Whereas Pen is euphoric looking forward to all the social activity especially with this being a coronation season in London Persy prefers to stay at home bookishly studying magic under the tutelage of their governess, Ally. However, both react the same way when Ally vanishes without a trace in Kensington Palace the sisters use their magical skills searching for her while Persy also overhears a seditious plot to keep Princess Victoria from being crowned Queen.------------- As she has in her mind and heart forever, Persy remained attracted to her neighbor Lord Seton, Lochinver, who only recently seems to have noticed her. However, finding beloved Ally comes first for her and for her sibling. The clues in balls and bashes lead to danger from traitorous conspirators who plan to use Ally¿s magical skills to turn Victoria into their puppet.-------------- Though targeting young adults, BEWITCHING SEASON is an alluring early Victorian historical with strong fantasy elements and some romance older fans of the period will appreciate the fun story line as the magic in Marissa Doyle¿s enchanting tale is how magic is treated as a skill young ladies must learn like knitting and playing the pianoforte. The twins are a delight as their personalities are vastly different on the surface with Pen being an extrovert and Persy an introvert, but inside they share courage and caring. The romantic subplot is kept for the most part in the background while the fantasy elements play more critical roles as they are the mechanism being used to control the soon to be queen. It is elementary that fans who enjoy an engaging historical with an invigorating fantasy foundation will want to read Ms. Doyle¿s fine thriller.--------------- Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 11, 2014

    This book is such a disappointment compared to Betraying Season.

    This book is such a disappointment compared to Betraying Season. It has a stupid plot and a nasty seen that will give you nightmares.
    Do not read. It is such a waste of time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2013

    Your mother

    I LOVED THIS BOOK! I read this a couple years ago and I don't know what the editors are talking about because I was only 9 when I read this and it was still fine. This book is amazing and deffinately not a waste of money!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 31, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    When I first started reading it, I couldn't quite get into it. I

    When I first started reading it, I couldn't quite get into it. I felt like Persy was going to annoy me throughout the entire book - a love spell? Really? (Though she did regret it.) And the plot line seemed somewhat predictable.

    Thankfully, it improved.

    I ended up loving all of the characters in the book - my favorite was Queen Victoria, however brief her appearance, followed by the swoon worthy Lochinvar. (Any man who discusses books, including Jane Austen books, gets top points form me.) The plot became entertaining quickly, including several twists at the end that I didn't quite expect.

    I'm rather looking forward to getting my hands on Betraying Season, though as it follows Pen and not Persy, I'm not quite sure if I'll like it. After all, no Lochinvar!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2012

    AWESOME!!!!

    I agree with the person who posted on the 30th of march this shuld be made into a movie! And the song that Persy would be thinking of twords Lochnivar in our time would be One and Only by Adele

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  • Posted May 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Bewithcing.

    I've re-read this book a couple of times and STILL get shocked with the story. I'm a VERY picky person when it comes to my books and I have to say this book is brillant in every way. You really should read this book if you like English culture (etc.) This book is WAY better than the second; "Betraying Season". I think Betraying Season...sucks. So, between the two, Bewitching Season is a better read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2011

    My absolute favorite

    This is the best book ever i have ever read & defanatly worth the money. It has all the good qualitys: Romance,Magic,Mystery,adventure ect... & is in a victorian setting.The characters are so real, with true to life emotion.With all featres wraped into one it is very captivating.If you want a book that will captivate you & keep you reading, this is for you.I am twelve and love good, mature books. This book won me over & It just may win you over too!

    Post Script:The sequel is just as captivating as the first,you should really cheak it out too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing. :)

    Bewitching Season is a fantastic book, in my opinion. It incorporates mystery, romance, and historic fiction. It is also easy to relate to, at least for me it is, since I am close to my siblings. It is easy to understand, and it had me wanting to read more.

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  • Posted December 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good For A Day

    This book is nice is you love this time, because it gives you many facts about history and how ladies acted and what they had to do back in that day, but for the actual story it was flat, and I eventualy jsut started flipping through to the end to see what happened.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Bewitching Season

    It was a great book about magic and love in a non-cliche way. It was witty and romantic. The kind of book that is can be used as a example to a young girl on how difficult and rewarding it can be to grow into a respectable and poised young women

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  • Posted September 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A fabulous new series

    Twins, Persephone (Persy) and Penelope (Pen), are getting ready for their season debut. There's so much to learn and so much still to accomplish. Persy is extremely nervous about her debut, partially that she'll have to hold conversations with strangers. Both girls will have to be careful about keeping their magical abilities quiet. Just as they arrive at their London house, they soon discover that their governess is missing. When they visit her family, the plot thickens and they begin to suspect foul play. What would someone want with their governess and why is she being held at Kensington Palace? Luckily, they receive an invitation to the palace for tea and have a small chance for snooping. Can they solve the mystery, debut into society without mistakes, and flirt with eligible bachelors all at the same time?

    I loved the romance, the magic, and mystery of this charming novel

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  • Posted September 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Very Bewitching!

    The Leland twins, Persephone and Penelope, come from a proper high-ranking London family. But what makes these sisters special is that according to a pattern in their lineage, they have magical powers, which are pretty much top secret to everyone except them and their governess, Ally. Now Pen and Persy have a different challenge: their first season in town. This is the time to go to balls and parties, where they will find a wealthy, good-looking, and just suitable in general husband to settle down with. But their time in the limelight is threatened when Ally mysteriously goes missing, and a childhood friend comes back, and is looking better than ever. On top of the pressure of meeting the Queen of England, it's more than any levitating spell can hold up!

    This book took a really truly tedious amount of time to finish. Being set in the 19th century, the language used was very different, and the plot got a bit complicated at times, especially when the author, Marissa Doyle, had to alternate third-person viewpoints. Despite these, uh, setbacks, Bewitching Season was overall a pretty good read. The characters' personalities stayed true from the beginning, and the setting was vivid and almost realistic (but with magic factored in). The only problem for me was the clich&#233; plot, but there really isn't much you can do with two teenage witches from the 1830s, right?

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  • Posted July 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    bewitching season

    The Honorables Miss Penelope "Pen" and Miss Persephone "Persy" Leland, twins who happen to have been born on Princess Victoria's birthday, are more than looking forward to their presentation at court. They've been prepped for this day for years - even if part of the time their education has been somewhat unconventional. Their governess (Ally), along with teaching them etiquette, Latin, and literature, has been secretly tutoring them in magic for many years. Not exactly something you advertise at court. Persy has always been a bit more bookish of the two and can't help but imagine herself as a failure compared to her poised and self assured sister Pen. But both girls are sure they will be fine as long as the trusted Ally is never far. That is, until she mysteriously disappears.

    Both Persy and Pen are convinced something sinister has occurred to their beloved governess - and friend - and begin to discreetly make inquiries as to her whereabouts. They are joined by their little brother Charles, aka Chuckles, who is always up for an adventure and home from school with a broken arm. Chuckles is far too observant and protective for his tender years and happens to be my favorite character by far.

    This was such a light, fanciful waltz through time. The Leland family is lovable - with the exception of Persy's constant feelings of inadequacy. The action is nicely distributed against descriptions of dresses, parties, court politics, and even a little romance. The magic portion seemed to almost be an afterthought, but still an interesting addition. A fun, engaging read for any day.
    seemichelleread.blogspot.com

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  • Posted February 14, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Awesome Book!

    I thought that the Bewithcing Season was really awesome. It was a Christmas gift. Its about twin sisters named Persephone and Penelope who are twin witches and they have a little brother named Charles (Called Chuckles) There governess and magic teacher gets kidnapped in a plot to control Princess Victoria. And Persephone doesn't like going to balls she loves to read. And thats all I'm going to tell you. But it has action, romance, history and magic in it. I recommend others to read it. Also coming out in May is a sequel called the Betraying Season which is mostly about Persephones sister Penelope.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2008

    A Magical Story

    Persephone and Penelope Leland are twins in early nineteenth century London. To the rest of the world, they are beautiful young women who are about to make their debut into society and then search for suitable husbands. But what most people don't know is that the women of the Leland family are known for their magical abilities. The twins study magic under the careful tutorage of their governess Ally. While they are usually very close, Persephone and Penelope start to have secrets from each other. Penelope is extremely excited about making her debut into London society, but Persephone would rather continue studying magic. But one day, Ally suddenly disappears. The twins get repeated nightmares about their governess, which leads them to think Ally is in grave danger. So, with the help of their younger brother Charles and also Ally's family, they try to devise a plan to find out Ally's whereabouts. Now, I don't want to start gushing in an overenthusiastic way, but I have to say that Bewitching Season had everything I was looking for in a book. The characters were very realistic, and so was the description of London society. The magical aspect of the book never seemed phony, which was refreshing. I enjoyed reading the story which was primarily told from Persephone's perspective, and the romantic twist was the cherry on top of a delicious read. What I particularly enjoyed was that the storyline was never too predictable I have read so many books now that I can often guess what will happen next in the story. But Bewitching Season truly kept me guessing, and I loved how the ending was not what I expected. I highly recommend this novel, especially for fans of the A Great and Terrible Beauty series by Libba Bray and The Luxe by Anna Godbersen. I also cannot wait until the continuation of the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2008

    A compelling novel with many exciting twists and turns!

    The beggining of the book was a little slow to me but after a few chapters you can't put the book down! I was surpirsed about how much I learned about the Victorian time period just by reading this book. There is a great shocking twist at the the end! Although I some what predicted it to happen. But you have to read it to see what I am talking about! I give this book 5 stars in a heart beat!

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