Sorcery & Cecelia: Or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot

Sorcery & Cecelia: Or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot

4.1 14
by Patricia C. Wrede, Caroline Stevermer
     
 

Two girls contend with sorcery in England’s Regency ageSince they were children, cousins Kate and Cecelia have been inseparable. But in 1817, as they approach adulthood, their families force them to spend a summer apart. As Cecelia fights boredom in her small country town, Kate visits London to mingle with the brightest lights of English society. At…  See more details below

Overview

Two girls contend with sorcery in England’s Regency ageSince they were children, cousins Kate and Cecelia have been inseparable. But in 1817, as they approach adulthood, their families force them to spend a summer apart. As Cecelia fights boredom in her small country town, Kate visits London to mingle with the brightest lights of English society. At the initiation of a powerful magician into the Royal College of Wizards, Kate finds herself alone with a mysterious witch who offers her a sip from a chocolate pot. When Kate refuses the drink, the chocolate burns through her dress and the witch disappears. It seems that strange forces are convening to destroy a beloved wizard, and only Kate and Cecelia can stop the plot. But for two girls who have to contend with the pressures of choosing dresses and beaux for their debuts, deadly magic is only one of their concerns. This ebook features illustrated biographies of Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the authors’ personal collections. 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Older fans of a certain young wizard may be interested in the fantastical goings-on in Sorcery & Cecelia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. This epistolary novel follows the adventures of two British girls in 1817 in an alternate reality where magic really works. Originally published in 1988, this edition contains some new material. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Kate and Cecelia are cousins and best friends. Constantly writing letters back and forth, they exchange all the news and gossip nineteenth-century London has to offer. But when strange things begin to happen, the girls abandon the flightiness of the social scene and determine to delve into the mysterious circumstances. First, Kate walks into a trap meant for the dashing Marquis of Schofield and is nearly poisoned by hot chocolate. Then Cecelia stumbles upon magic meant to harm her. Both girls fearlessly search for clues, piecing together the evidence as they write back and forth. Their mystery centers upon a magical chocolate pot that somehow is linked to the Marquis. Spinning spells and side-stepping evil witches, the two girls manage to solve the mystery and find true love amidst the busy London social season. The innovative technique of having the characters write letters to one another allows the reader a part in a story as important as Kate and Cecelia's. As each girl turns up new evidence, the puzzle pieces of the mystery fall into place. Written by two authors who literally crafted the story by writing letters in character, this mystery is a perfect combination of Harry Potter's magic and Jane Austen's love stories. 2003, Harcourt,
— Leah Hanson
VOYA
Brought back into print and reminiscent in style of Jane Austen, this book consists of a correspondence between Kate and Cecelia. In reality, the two authors played the Letter Game, in which each takes on the persona of one of the characters. The first writer chooses the setting, time, and characters. Beginning the correspondence, Wrede becomes Cecelia, and Stevermer Kate. Kate is in London for her first "season," but her neighbor and best friend Cecelia has not been allowed to go. Missing each other dreadfully, they write to one another almost daily. Although the setting appears to be England during the Napoleonic Wars, there is a difference: Magic is prevalent-and legal. When Kate attends an investiture ceremony for Sir Hilary, one of their country neighbors, at the Royal College of Wizards, she stumbles into a small garden area and is bespelled by a frightening elderly woman. It turns out that this woman, Miranda, is an evil wizard who is trying to steal power from Thomas, marquis of Schofield. Kate and Cecelia become embroiled in the situation, attempting to prevent Miranda's success. The plot is fairly complex as the two girls manage to get themselves into precarious situations (á la Lucy and Ethel, although the consequences here are much more dangerous). This is a fun story that quickly draws in the reader. The story will be more appreciated by teen girls than boys, and they will soon be requesting the sequel that is promised at the end of this book. VOYA Codes: 5Q 5P S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2003 (orig. 1988), Harcourt, 336p,
—Marlyn Roberts
KLIATT
Jane Austen meets Harry Potter in this romp through England immediately following the Napoleonic Wars. Kate and Cecelia are teenage cousins, best friends, and ladies of polite society. Kate is sent to London with her beautiful sister Georgina who is making her debut during the London social "season" while Cecelia remains at home in Essex. Through the letters they send back and forth, readers meet the mysterious and unnerving James Tarleton who spies on Cecelia and has motives that are less than noble. We see Kate rescue the magical Marquis of Schofield from an almost certain poisoning through a bewitched chocolate pot and in turn accept his engagement offer in an effort to fend off an evil plot against Dorothea, a lovely Tarleton cousin with a wicked stepmother. And we see the secrets of Sir Hilary Bedrick's family tree unravel and trap both Cecelia and her brother Oliver in a web of magic. The two authors took turns writing letters in character, and the result is this charming book told in voices that play off each other in a literary tennis match that pits English society life against the power of sorcery. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2003, Harcourt, 316p.,
— Michele Winship
Kirkus Reviews
Long out-of-print, a cult epistolary fantasy makes a welcome return. In an alternative 19th-century England touched by magic, Katherine and her beauteous younger sister are off to London. Kate has promised to keep in close touch with her cousin and bosom-bow Cecelia, and their beguiling correspondence comprises quite a tale. For Kate soon finds herself up to her ears in intrigue when the sorceress Miranda targets her for a spot of poisoning; meanwhile, back in the country, Cecy befriends the lovely Dorothea, who is reluctantly enchanting all the local swains. The two plots are entangled with the dastardly schemes of the wizard Sir Hilary regarding a certain chocolate pot, resulting in magical misadventures both comic and romantic. Kate and Cecy are witty, intelligent, and venturesome heroines, not above a bit of mendacity in a good cause, with nary a whiff of damsel-in-distress between them. Although Miranda and Sir Hilary exist mainly to be villainous, and the remaining characters serve mainly as plot devices or running jokes, this clever romp will appeal to fans of Regency romance and light fantasy. (Fantasy. YA)
From the Publisher
"Witty, light, and funny . . . Regency romance as well as fantasy fans are going to line up for it."—The Bulletin

"A cult epistolary fantasy . . . Beguiling."—Kirkus Reviews

"Older girls who have outgrown Harry Potter will like their slightly rebellious natures, the magical twists and turns, and especially the humor and quick pace."—The San Diego Union-Tribune

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781453254677
Publisher:
Open Road Media Teen & Tween
Publication date:
05/22/2012
Series:
Cecelia and Kate Series , #1
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
324
Sales rank:
129,403
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

Read an Excerpt

Sorcery and Cecelia

Or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot


By Patricia C. Wrede, Caroline Stevermer

OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA

Copyright © 2003 Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4532-5467-7



CHAPTER 1

8 April 1817 Rushton Manor, Essex


Dearest Kate,

It is dreadfully flat here since you have been gone, and it only makes it worse to imagine all the things I shall be missing. I wish Aunt Elizabeth were not so set against my having a Season this year. She is still annoyed about the incident with the goat, and says that to let the pair of us loose on London would ruin us both for good, and spoil Georgy's chances into the bargain. I think this is quite unjust, but there is no persuading her. (I believe the fact that she would have been obliged to share a house with Aunt Charlotte, should she and I have come to London this year, may have contributed to her decision.) So I rely on you, dearest cousin, to write and tell me everything! If I am not to be allowed to enjoy a Season of my own, I can at least take a vicarious delight in your and Georgina's triumph! I am quite convinced you will take London by storm.

Not that we are without amusement in Essex; quite the contrary! Aunt Elizabeth and I called at the vicarage yesterday and spent a stimulating afternoon listening to the Reverend Fitzwilliam discoursing on the Vanities of Society and the Emptiness of Worldly Pleasures. Aunt Elizabeth hung on every word, and we are to return and take tea on Thursday. I am determined to have the headache Thursday, if I have to hit myself with a rock to do it.

There is, however, a ray of hope. Lady Tarleton is to have a party for her niece next week. The invitation arrived this morning, and Papa says we are to go! And Aunt Elizabeth approves! She thinks it is to be an informal hop, as Lady Tarleton's niece is not yet out, but Patience Everslee told me in the greatest confidence that there is to be waltzing! I only hope Oliver will stay long enough to accompany us. He has been moping around the house like a sick sheep ever since you and Georgy left, and yesterday he asked Papa, very casually, whether Papa did not think it would be a good idea for him to go to Town this year for a week or two. He thinks he is being very sly, but if he puts off making his arrangements for another day or so Papa will have accepted Lady Tarleton's invitation and Oliver will be obliged to stay here until after the party. I have not, of course, pointed this out to him. Oliver has stated many times his dislike of hearing advice from his younger sister, so it is his own fault if he has not got sense enough to see which way the wind is blowing.

Aunt Elizabeth intends for the two of us to pay a call on Lady Tarleton and her niece on Monday, by way of improving our acquaintance before the ball (which is to say, she wants to have a look at the niece). I shall be on my best behavior, even if the niece turns out to be quite odious. There is no point in looking for difficulties the day before a party.

And there may be more excitement to come. Sir Hilary Bedrick has just been named to the Royal College of Wizards; the whole village is buzzing with the news. I suspect he was chosen because of that enormous library of musty old spellbooks at Bedrick Hall. He left yesterday for London, where he will be installed, but all of us expect great things when he returns. Except, of course, for Aunt Elizabeth, who looks at me sideways and says darkly that magic is for heathens and cannibals, not for decent folk. Perhaps that is why she holds Sir Hilary in such dislike. I would wager my best kid gloves that if it were not for Papa's interest in the historical portions of Sir Hilary's library, Aunt Elizabeth would have cut the connection ages ago.

Do, please, try to find me those silks I asked you about before you left, and if you should happen to see a pair of long gloves that would match my green crape, please, please send them at once! I should so like to look well at Lady Tarleton's party.

Give my love to Georgy and Aunt Charlotte, and do try not to let Aunt Charlotte bully you too much. And do, do write and tell me everything you are doing!

Your loving cousin, Cecy

CHAPTER 2

10 April 1817 11 Berkeley Square, London


Dear Cecy,

If you've been forced to listen to Reverend Fitzwilliam on the subject of the emptiness of worldly pleasures for hours together, I feel I ought to write something bracing to cheer you up. But after three days of a London Season I find it hard to come to the defense of frivolity with any spirit. Perhaps it will make Rushton seem more amusing to you if I complain vigorously. (Don't worry, I haven't said a word to anyone else, not even Georgina.)

First, there was our arrival in Berkeley Square, a very welcome event after a day spent in the coach with Aunt Charlotte complaining of her migraine and Georgina exclaiming, "Only look, a sedan chair!" at every opportunity. It was very late and we were very tired and soiled with our travels, too weary to feel the proper emotions on entering such a grand house for the first time. (Horace Walpole is by no means Aunt Charlotte's favorite author, but the opportunity to hire the genuine Mayfair town house he genuinely died in for the Season has given her a new appreciation of him and his works.)

Make no mistake, it is very grand. On the outside it is a high, narrow, polite-looking house built of brick. On the inside there is a high-ceilinged entrance hall with a marble staircase winding up two flights. On either side of the hall are reception rooms. The one on the right is called the blue saloon. It is very comfortable with a bow window overlooking the Square. On the left side of the hall is the drawing room, much grander than the blue saloon, furnished with lyre-back chairs, delicate sofas, and a spinet. There are velvet curtains in the windows and a highly polished marble floor, upon which I slipped and sat down hard as we were being shown about the house. This was my first piece of clumsiness in London, but I suspect it will not be my last. The general effect of the marble floor and ivory curtains is almost arctic. Only touches of primrose and black relieve the whiteness. At the top of the two flights of stairs are the bedrooms. Georgina's looks out over the Square and mine faces back into the lane behind the house. If I crane my neck I can see down into the kitchen garden—but there is nothing much to look at. Nothing to compare with the gardens at Rushton.

It seemed like a dream to me, following Georgina up and up the stairs—she like a kind of angel climbing to her proper place, her golden hair bright in the light from the lamps—me like a ramshackle shadow lurking after her, shedding hairpins and stumbling over the hem of my skirts.

The bedrooms are lovely, but that night they seemed grand and cold and I was a little dismayed to find myself in my own room all alone—can you credit it, after I schemed for years to get a room to myself? So I slipped in to Georgina to say good night and get my top buttons undone. Georgina was sitting at her window, trying to guess from the darkened glass what direction she was facing so she could say her prayers toward home. I turned her around and didn't tease her, even when I saw the lock of hair she had clenched in her moist little palm—Oliver's, tied up in a bit of pink ribbon. Can you believe it?

Well, as I say, I got her pointed in the right direction and she got me unbuttoned and told me that I had a smut rubbed clear across my forehead and a spot coming on my chin. (As if I hadn't been driven half-mad feeling it coming out all day long in the coach ...) So we parted, she to her prayers and I to my bed, the highest, hardest, narrowest, dampest bed on four lion's paws (London would be grander still if they knew how to air their sheets).

Our first day in London was spent shopping, which means I kicked my heels while Aunt Charlotte and the modiste went into raptures over Georgina. The second day, we were taken to see the Elgin Marbles, which was interesting, and to listen to other people see the Elgin Marbles, which would make the eyes roll right back in your head with boredom. The third day, we went back to shopping and I was able to get gloves. Please find enclosed a pair that I think will suit your pomona green crape to perfection. I bought a pair for myself and have spilt coffee on them already. So you see London hasn't changed me yet.

I feel quite envious about Lady Tarleton's dance. Aunt Charlotte has spoken of Almack's but never yet without looking at me and giving a little shudder of apprehension. She intends to call on Lady Jersey tomorrow. If their acquaintance has been exaggerated (and you know that sometimes people do not care quite as much for Aunt Charlotte as she thinks they do), I don't know how we will obtain vouchers. It is plain, however, that without vouchers for Almack's Assembly, Georgy will never truly shine in Society, no matter how lovely she is. For my own sake, I hope I get to go, too. It would be a shame to have trodden Robert Penwood's feet black and blue learning to dance and then never to get a chance to put it to the test.

Do you think a wizard's installation would be a ladylike thing to attend? We passed the Royal College on the way to the Museum and I'm sure I could find my way.

Do tell me all about the dance and mention Oliver a little so Georgina doesn't sigh herself away entirely.

Love, Kate

CHAPTER 3

14 April 1817 Rushton Manor, Essex


Dearest Kate,

Your letter arrived this morning, and I refuse to believe it. London cannot possibly be as dreary as you make it seem! I am quite persuaded that you are roasting me, in order to make me feel better about being left behind. Pray do not; I am most eager to learn what I may look forward to next year.

Yes, Kate, it seems I am to have my Season after all! This afternoon Aunt Elizabeth took me to call on Lady Tarleton, to make the acquaintance of the niece, Miss Dorothea Griscomb. I was determined to dislike her, for I had seen her driving through the village the day before, and she is nearly as lovely as Georgina! Her hair is paler than Georgy's, and I am sure that without crimping it would be quite straight, but Dorothea's eyes are a deeper blue and her figure is already elegant and graceful. I was sure she would be odious, for you must admit that females as pretty as Georgy are, in general, quite spoiled. I was, therefore, expecting the worst.

When we arrived, Lady Tarleton and Dorothea were already ensconced in the drawing room with Mrs. Everslee and Patience. Mrs. Everslee was looking quite put out; I believe she was hoping that with Georgy in London, Patience would come into her own. Dorothea was sitting in a corner, staring down at her teacup with a miserably uncomfortable expression, Lady Tarleton was looking stiff, and Patience was casting about desperately for a way to persuade her mother that it was time to go. I conclude from this that Mrs. Everslee had been saying something cutting.

Our appearance provided the opportunity Patience had been seeking, and Aunt Elizabeth and I soon found ourselves the only callers. I felt rather sorry for Dorothea. So I sat down beside her and tried to engage her in conversation.

I was not, at first, successful. Dorothea turned out to be quite shy, and I was reduced to insipid commonplaces about the weather and how good the cream pastries were. I was about to abandon the attempt in despair, when by the luckiest chance she said something about India.

"India!" I said. "You mean you have lived in India? Oh, do tell me all about it!"

My excessive enthusiasm was as much the result of relief at having finally found a subject of conversation as it was due to any desire to hear about foreign climes. However, Dorothea opened up wonderfully to such encouragement, which gave me the opportunity of replenishing my supply of tea, ginger biscuits, and cream pastries. Dorothea was, apparently, born in India, and did not even see England until she was eight years old. Her Papa, of whom she seems touchingly fond, made a great fortune there, and she showed me a carved ivory bracelet she had brought back with her. By the time she finished telling me about her childhood, we were fast friends, and she brought herself to ask me very softly about the people she would see at Lady Tarleton's party.

I did the best I could to explain who she was likely to see, as well as who would not be present. "My cousins, Kate and Georgina Talgarth, have already gone to London for the Season," I said (with considerable regret). "And Sir Hilary Bedrick is away as well; he is to be invested as a member of the Royal College of Wizards this very week!" I glanced at Aunt Elizabeth and lowered my voice. "It is a great pity that the Mysterious Marquis is not in residence, for I am sure your aunt must have sent him an invitation card. But then, he never is in residence."

"The Mysterious Marquis?" Dorothea said warily. "Who is that?"

"The Marquis of Schofield," I said. "He owns an estate about ten miles from Bedrick Hall, but he never visits it. I suppose Waycross is too small a property for him to bother with, compared to Schofield Castle."

"Oh, that's not it at all," Dorothea said, then looked very frightened. It took me several minutes and two ginger biscuits to persuade her to tell me what she meant by such a comment. Apparently her Mama has some acquaintance with the Mysterious Marquis, and Dorothea overheard her say that the Marquis and Sir Hilary had some sort of falling-out long ago. The reason the Marquis never visits Waycross is that it is too near Bedrick Hall. I was disappointed to discover that Dorothea knew no more than that, but I did not like to press her. Her Mama must be a veritable dragon, for Dorothea was quite terrified of telling me even as much as she did.

Aunt Elizabeth overheard us and said quite sharply that the Marquis of Schofield's affairs were not a proper topic for young ladies, so I think it very probable that the Marquis is a great rake. I find this somewhat comforting, for I was quite cast down to discover that his reasons for avoiding Essex are so ordinary. Anyone who is known as the Mysterious Marquis ought to have far more interesting reasons for his behavior than a stupid dispute with Sir Hilary.

Lady Tarleton seemed quite pleased that Dorothea and I got on so well. She went so far as to inquire from Aunt Elizabeth whether I was to make my curtsey to Society next year, saying that it would be pleasant for Dorothea to have some acquaintances in Town when she makes her come-out. Well, what could Aunt Elizabeth do but agree? I made sure to bring it up to Papa as soon as we got home, and I shall keep talking about it until everyone takes it for granted that I am to be presented next year. I only wish that it could have happened sooner, so that you and I could have gone together. What fun we must have had!

Thank you a million times for the gloves; they match my dress perfectly. I shall cut quite a dash at Lady Tarleton's dance tomorrow! I wish I had your eye for color, but try as I may, I cannot manage to match anything except muddy browns. Which is exceedingly odd, as even Aunt Elizabeth admits that I have an instinct for which colors look best on people. Speaking of which, I do hope you have not allowed Aunt Charlotte to have all your new dresses made up in insipid blues. She thinks that because something looks well on Georgina it must be becoming to everyone. Last year she tried to persuade me to let her buy me a lilac pelisse just because it was stunning on Georgy, and you know I look awful in lilac.

The house in Berkeley Square sounds perfectly sumptuous; I do wish I could see it. Have you been receiving many callers? Reverend Fitzwilliam says (with evident disapproval) that all people do in London is shop and receive callers and go to teas and parties. And does your bed truly have lion's paws, or are you bamming me?


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede, Caroline Stevermer. Copyright © 2003 Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Witty, light, and funny . . . Regency romance as well as fantasy fans are going to line up for it."—The Bulletin

"A cult epistolary fantasy . . . Beguiling."—Kirkus Reviews

"Older girls who have outgrown Harry Potter will like their slightly rebellious natures, the magical twists and turns, and especially the humor and quick pace."—The San Diego Union-Tribune

Meet the Author

For over twenty years, Patricia C. Wrede (b. 1953) has expanded the boundaries of young-adult fantasy writing. Her first novel, Shadow Magic (1982), introduced Lyra, a magical world in which she set four more novels. Her other series include the Enchanted Forest Chronicles; the Cecelia and Kate novels, co-written with Caroline Stevermer; the Mairelon books, which take place in Regency England; and the Old-West Frontier Magic series. Wrede lives and works in Minnesota. Caroline Stevermer (b. 1955) is known for her historical fantasy novels for young adults. She published her first book, The Alchemist, in 1981, and soon began collaborating with fellow Minnesotan Patricia C. Wrede to create a magical version of Regency England. They published the epistolary novel Sorcery and Cecelia in 1988, and returned to the series with The Grand Tour (2004) and The Mislaid Magician (2006). Stevermer’s other novels include River Rats (1991), A College of Magics (1994), and Magic Below Stairs (2010). 

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