Bothari’s #CBR4 Review #22: The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
This was the third and apparently last book about cousins Cecelia and Kate, and while it was good, it was a bit of a letdown after the second book. I think I enjoyed the adventures more when they were together, and this book is back to being epistolary. Cecilia and James leave their numerous children with Kate and Thomas while they go off on a mission from the Duke of Wellington. In this book, the husbands get letters/chapters too, and that definitely adds to the story. All four of them write back and forth as they stumble onto shady characters, magical mysteries, create new spells, and talk endlessly about the children, nannies, and servants.
All the elements of the previous two books are there, but they seem a little less-than somehow. The mystery (a missing wizard and some concern over a newfangled steam train) is fine, but doesn’t come together as gloriously as book two. The letters are great fun to read, but they don’t glow like book one. The characters are still grand, but now they seem weirdly class-conscious, as if having herds of children had made them more aware of their station and their money. All that said, if there was a book four, I would happily read it. The writing and the characters are still great fun, even if this book didn’t wrap itself around my brain like the others did.
A snippet from a letter to James from Thomas:
“I have every confidence in your skill at interrogation and in Daniel’s complacency. The man’s sublime interest in himself is only matched by his serene assumption that the rest of the world shares it. With luck, Daniel will never even notice he’s been questioned.”
The four heroes are smart, resourceful, loyal, and funny. Even a slightly less-than adventure is still a fun ride.