The Grand Tour or the Purloined Coronation Regalia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer continues the tale begun with Sorcery and Cecelia. In a series of diary entries and depositions, Cecilia and Kate recount their experiences with their new husbands and wedding travels (on conjugal duties, Kate notes, "I've spent my whole life being clumsy, and this seems to offer more scope for embarrassing myself than anything I've done yet"). Mysterious events follow the quartet across Europe. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Fast on the heels of Sorcery and Cecilia arrives this happily-ever-after tale of the honeymoon of our two young heroines, Kate and Cecilia. But wait . . . an extended Grand Tour of the Continent in 1817 comes complete with mother-in-law, ever-present servants, and two husbands apparently still involved in the cleanup after Waterloo has sent Napoleon into exile. With a supporting cast that includes the dandy Beau Brummell (in French exile for gambling debts), and the Duke of Wellington, the young couples are socially madeas should be the case for any standard Regency novel, most of the conventions of which the book blatantly apes. Where it varies is with its slight touch of magicbut the less said about that, the better. Teenage girls should enjoy the endless discussions of wardrobes, and the lightly sketched intimacy of the newlyweds. The action is recounted through journal entries supplied by Stevermer (Kate) and Wrede (Cecy). Kate is the more identifiable of the two, yet their voices are so similar that one finds it necessary on occasion to page back to learn whose journal one is currently in the midst of. 2004, Harcourt, $17. Ages 12 up.
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, September 2004: Kate and Cecilia are still writing in this sequel to Sorcery and Cecilia (an ALA Best Book for YAs), but now the cousins are together, and they write as "From the depositon of Mrs. James Tarleton," and "From the commonplace book of Lady Schofield," because now they are married to the men they met in the first book. As a foursome, they embark upon the grand tour of Europe for their extended honeymoon journey, first crossing the Channel to get to Calais (where they meet Beau Brummell) and on to Paris, then the Alps, Milan, Venice, Florence, and Rome. The year is 1817, just after the defeat of Napoleon and the end of the Napoleonic Wars. As Michelle Winship wrote in her review of the first book in KLIATT, "Jane Austen meets Harry Potter" in this story, combining the formality of the comedy of manners of Austen with magic spells and sorcery. An odd combination, but charming. This book does not stand alone, however, and should be purchased only where the first book has been read and admired. KLIATT Codes: JSRecommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, Harcourt, Magic Carpet, 469p. map., Ages 12 to 18.
Gr 8 Up-Cousins Kate and Cecy, first introduced in Sorcery and Cecilia (Harcourt, 2003), are married to Thomas and James and honeymooning in Europe. With continued echoes of Jane Austen, the marvelous mixture of fantasy and Regency romance easily captures readers' interest. The alternating voices of Cecy, in her deposition to the Joint Representatives of the British Ministry of Magic, and of Kate, in her commonplace book, tell of married life, attempted robberies, murder, magic spells that work (and a few that backfire), and the search for the reason for a series of mysterious thefts of arcane historical artifacts that are linked to magic and a king's coronation. On their tour, the newlyweds take their place in European society, meeting well-known historical figures such as Beau Brummell and various noblemen and magicians. The plot moves at a sedate but steady pace befitting the period, and the characters shine as they struggle with their magical legacy and grand adventure, while they try to prevent the coronation of a new Napoleon. This book will appeal to fantasy readers who appreciate something more sophisticated than Harry Potter-style magic.-Janet Hilbun, formerly at Sam Houston Middle School, Garland, TX Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
A frothy follow-up to Sorcery and Cecelia (2003) serves another sweet syllabub of historical fantasy. Cecy and Kate-Our Heroines-accompany their brand-new husbands to the Continent, expecting only a delightful extended honeymoon. Inevitably, the irrepressible cousins tumble immediately into a sinister sorcerous plot, which the combined magical talents of three wizards, the courage of Wellington's former aide, and even the cunning of their assorted servants may be insufficient to foil. Kate and Cecy remain intrepid, competent, and charming withal, and their doting spouses are pattern-cards of perfection. It's great fun to watch the authors tweak the tropes of Regency romance into a fantastical mode; but it takes the plot forever to creak into motion, and the atmosphere of menace suffers when the protagonists seem to worry more about missing gloves than murderous brigands. The epistolary technique, which served the first novel admirably, feels strained and artificial in the sequel; it can be difficult to tell the voices apart. Like the cucumber sandwiches on which the characters nibble, an elegant and refreshing treat, but ultimately unsubstantial. (Fantasy. YA)
"The marvelous mixture of fantasy and Regency romance easily captures readers' interest . . . This book will appeal to fantasy readers who appreciate something more sophisticated than Harry Potter-style magic."School Library Journal
"A satisfying blend of magic, mystery, adventure, humor, and romance."Booklist