Archive for May 21st, 2008

 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 4:  The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After by Patricia C Wrede & Caroline Stevermer

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books (November 1, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0152055487

In this third magical mystery involving two letter-writing cousins, the women’s quiet lives of domesticity are interrupted when the Duke of Wellington asks Cecelia’s husband to look into the disappearance of a German magician in the north of England. Cecelia and James hurry to investigate, leaving Kate and her husband to care for their six children. The story is told in the form of the correspondence between the wives as well as the husbands, until the mystery is solved.  Suggest this Harry-Potter-meets-Jane-Austen series to romantic-fantasy readers, but strongly encourage them to read the earlier ones first.—Jennifer Stubben, Barrington Area Library, IL
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From Booklist
Set in an alternate England in which wizardry exists, this sequel to Sorcery and Cecelia(2003) and The Grand Tour (2004) takes place in 1828. After placing their children in the care of cousin Kate, Cecy and her husband investigate the disappearance of a railway surveyor-magician and the strange properties of ley lines–powerful, invisible channels of magical energy. The story unfolds through the characters’ letters, in which the formal locution of the period is leavened by the wit and chattiness of good friends sharing revelations and confidences.

This third installment takes place 10 years (and a number of children) after The Grand Tour.

The first book was in the form of letters between the two female cousins Cecy and Kate.  The second book took the form of writings into their journals.  This third book goes back to what started it all.. letters between Cecy and Kate.  This time though we also get to read some correspondence between the magician husbands, Thomas and James.

It starts off as a simple “will you watch the kids so I may accompany my husband for a few weeks”… into , yep you guessed it… another mystery for them to figure out. So, wile Cecy and her husband are off trying to figure things out, Kate and her husband are left at home watching all the children.  Although it might seem that Kate and Thomas got the short end of the deal, let me tell you that enough things happen to them during this time to keep letters from both sides interesting and compelling to read on and on.

It actually gets pretty funny because you go from one mystery to things that are happening with Kate as she watches both her own kids and Cecy’s children.  Toss in a few letters from the husbands and the sister from hell and you have a good read!

In my opinion it’s well written.  I certainly can imagine myself in England back in the 1800’s, and the fact that these two authors have managed to make being a wizard something of a normal state of being is really great.

I enjoyed this series mostly because I really think the way it’s written is a nice change of pace and very enjoyable.. but I also think it may not be for everyone.

 It’s a bit of a period piece, along with a mystery for each book, and then on top of it all you feel as if you are “listening in on their lives” as it all happens via the letters and journals.  Very original and very enjoyable.. I applaud Patricia C Wrede & Caroline Stevermer for this trilogy of writing.

Just as an fyi… book one (Sorcery & Cecelia) can be read as a stand alone book.

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