There was something about the description of Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer that drew me in – cousins in 19th century England encountering boys and magical intrigue? Sure, why not.
This novel’s main characteristic is that it started its life as a letter writing game between two writer friends as an exercise to hone their skills. The plot of the story was not discussed between the authors, they simply took turns writing from their particular character’ perspective laying out the various components as they went. What this does for the reader is to create two novels happening simultaneously with shared characters while also delivering a cohesive plot.
I promise it’s better than that description makes it sound. As an amateur writer who scribbles for fun the very idea of embarking on such an exercise scares the bejesus out of me. Not only did Patricia Wrede to and Caroline Stevermer publish this story but they continued on with these characters for two more books. This is the case of two writers finding a perfect match and defining clear character voices in Kate and Cecy keep the reader interested and able to separate the different voices.
The only detractor I can really lay out (besides some rather stupid decisions by the antagonists, but really – aren’t they supposed to make stupid decisions every so often?) is that since most of the secondary characters are already known to our two leads they do not do a great job of making them distinguishable for the reader. For the early part of the book I had a tough time telling the difference between the various aunts and gentleman callers.