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Continuing with to the Phonics Challenge:

E for encore — Read a romance that is part of a series which features the same main characters in each book.

For part of the challenge, I decided to read Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer’s Sorcery & Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, first published in 1988, surprisingly.

This book is the first in a three book series featuring the same lead characters: two cousins — Cecelia and Kate — in regency England who correspond with each other, one from the English countryside and the other from London. The interesting added ingredient is sorcery and wizards. In this early 19th Century world, magic is normal. Cecelia in the countryside and Kate in London work together to try and thwart two powerful wizards who have teamed up to try and destroy a younger wizard who is slowly becoming Kate’s romantic interest. Thomas, who has magical powers, and his friend James, who is back in the countryside with Cecelia end up working with the cousins to defeat Thomas’ enemies. In the process, Cecilia learns that she has powers that she can learn to use and that her family has the gene for magic in their bloodlines.

Sorcery & Cecilia was a delightful surprise, and I would love to read the two follow-up books but they are damned expensive, especially if you want them in hardcopy. Why is that?! In any event I just loved the interjection of magic into this period of time. It was done without compromising the time and setting. In fact, the story could’ve worked without magic, and that’s what made it so good. I never felt like I was thrown out of the story by fantasy elements. But, most importantly I loved the epistolary format as well. There were times when I got a bit confused over who had magical capabilities and who didn’t, and that may have been a result of two authors writing these letters, but ultimately it came together. Another minus was that they used the old trope of one of the bad guys succumbing to the need to explain his every move and motive, allowing the time for the good guys to thwart him. That was a weakness that brought down the plot a bit. Still, I would give this book an enthusiastic A-.


The Alphabet Variation Challenge – 12 down, 7 to go (A, B, D, E, F, G, H, I, K, L, M, S …)

The Phonics Challenge – 5 down, 14 to go