Archive for May 17th, 2008

The Grand Tour


 Quest the First…

Read at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time II criteria. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology…or your five books might be a combination from the four genres.


Book 3:  The Grand Tour: Being a Revelation of Matters of High Confidentiality and Greatest Importance, Including Extracts from the Intimate Diary of a Noblewoman and the Sworn Testimony of a Lady of Quality by Patricia C Wrede & Caroline Stevermer

Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books (September 1, 2004)
ISBN-10: 015204616X

Both book covers: Jacket Design by Kelly Eismann

In this elegant, old-fashioned rambler, a sequel to the historical fantasy Sorcery and Cecilia, a party of five Brits (three of them are wizards)–Kate and Thomas Schofield, Cecy and James Tarleton, and Lady Sylvia–takes a “grand tour” of 19th-century Europe. What promises to be a pleasant exploration of old world antiquities and fancy shops turns out to be an adventure of a lifetime when Cecy receives a mysterious alabaster flask (a coronation treasure) from an agitated Lady in Blue. Before they know it, they are wrapped up in a magical conspiracy to take over Europe.
Written in two voices by two different authors, the novel alternates between Cecy’s deposition and excerpts from her dear friend and cousin Kate’s diary. Despite the crisp, clever dialogue and wonderful character subtleties in this Jane Austen-style comedy of manners, readers may be confused by the episodic nature of the novel whose mysteries take their sweet time in unfolding.

From School Library Journal
Grade 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.–

This is book 2 of a series of books by Patricia C Wrede & Caroline Stevermer, the first being Sorcery & Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot.

Once again Amazon did a good job at reviewing this book.  It is only a short period of time from Sorcery & Cecelia to The Grand Tour.  In this book both girls married the magicians that they were involved with.  They had a double wedding and are going on the Honeymoon Grand Tour together, along with Lady Sylvia (also a magician).

In Society back in the 1800’s when these books take place, it is proper for a Grand Tour of Europe to get to know who’s who and to be seen in all your splendor.

The book is a mixture of the grand tour of that time, and a mystery that begins to unfold along the way. 

In the tradition of movies I’ve seen such as Sense and Sensibility, things do not move quickly, and are done most proper for the coming out of such ladies. 

I found I enjoyed the book quite well, but not quite as much as the first book. 

It was nice now that the two married couples were involved in things and the fact that you were reading whan each girl wrote down in their private journal, made you, once again, feel like you were snooping! 

I think I most enjoyed the way the authors have set these books up… first you read the letters the cousins wrote to each other in Sorcery & Cecelia, and now you are reading the entries of their journals.  This give you two different views as you go along and keeps you on your toes.

I’m not sure these books are for everyone.  They might be more of a women’s book, but I’ve found them a nice change of pace (in time and place) and just plain enjoyable.

Next I will read the third book of the series, The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After.  (Love the titles of all three of the books!!)

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