Bothari’s #CBR4 Review #21: The Grand Tour by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
The first book, Sorcery and Cecilia, was marvelous, and this one was even better. This was one of those sequels that feels like hanging out with old friends. Cecilia has married James, and her best friend/cousin Kate has married Thomas. They leave their Victorian England home to travel the Continent for their honeymoon trip. Being the impetuous, clumsy, curious, adventurous wizards-in-training that they are, they soon find themselves knee-deep in a mystery, which grows into a full-scale conspiracy.
Items of magical significance are disappearing from all over, and the nefarious Mr. Strangle and Sir Hilary (introduced in the first book) are obviously up to something. The Duke of Wellington asks our heroes to keep an eye out for magical items, or clues to the already-taken ones, while they use their honeymoon trip as cover. Along the way, they encounter new villains and new allies, but still manage to have fun.
I found this book in the young adult section, but I love how smart it is. There’s some history (from fashion to Napoleon), some geology (where are the Apennines, and why is it bad to cross them in the summer?), some girl power stuff as Kate and Cecilia fight to make themselves accepted players in the game, and some really interesting magical theory. Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer have put a lot of thought into this world and how it all fits together, and how spells would work in an almost-real world. Thomas is able to study ancient Roman spells and adapt them to ‘current’ (1800s) use, and the science behind the spells is fascinating.
I feel like a dork ending a review this way, but really, this book made me happy. Up next: Cecelia and Kate, Ten Years Later!