Being the Private Correspondence Between Two Prominent Families Regarding a Scandal Touching the Highest Levels of Government and the Security of the Realm
by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
Harcourt, 2006. 328 pages.
I loved these authors’ earlier books, Sorcery and Cecilia and The Grand Tour, so much, it was a no-brainer to buy this third book about cousins Kate and Cecy in a magical regency England just as soon as it came out. However, I was still at the stage where I only got library books read, because library books have a due date. So the book sat in one of my many to-be-read piles and peeked out at me tantalizingly.
Well, after I loaded up on Advance Review Copies at ALA Annual Conference this summer, I decided to make myself a rule, or I’d never get any of those books read. Now I alternate. After every library book, I read a book I own. It’s working great, and this was one of the first books I own that I selected. I was so happy to finally get around to reading it!
The books are set in an alternate England, where people mix their attention to manners with magic. The authors have written the books by writing letters between the characters, Kate and Cecy, who are cousins. It’s been a long time since I’ve read the earlier books, but that wasn’t a problem with understanding what was going on. And, after all, the book is set ten years into the young ladies’ marriages, so it’s probably appropriate to read it later.
At the start of the book, Cecy and her husband James are asked by the Duke of Wellington to investigate the disappearance of a distinguished magician who was investigating a problem with the ley lines — lines of magic that run throughout England. They leave their children with Kate and Thomas, and the precocious children of both couples figure into the correspondence.
What follows is a mystery and an absorbing adventure. This is clever, light reading. There are some very fun and surprising bits of magic thrown into the mix. I don’t need to say a lot more. These books take regency England mixed in with magic. If that sounds delightful to you, you should definitely read them. This one isn’t really a romance like the first, but it is a fun mystery and reminds me more of Amelia Peabody books from when Ramses was young.
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Source: This review is based on my own copy, purchased via Amazon.