Did I mention that I read several books while on vacation?
As a big fan of Patrica Wrede and Caroline Stevermer's Sorcery and Cecilia, I was very much looking forward to Marissa Doyle's Bewitching Season. Instead of cousins, however, Doyle's book features two twin sisters, Persephone (Persy) and Penelope (Pen) Leland who both study magic from their tutor Miss Allardyce (Ally). And, even better, Bewitching Season includes Princess Victoria as a character. I've always had a fondness for her, as we are the same height (4'10"), which means that the steps of Parliament match my tread just as much as they matched Queen Victoria's!
But, back to the book. Of course, nothing is as it seems in this tale of magic, mischief, and the question of who will control the county when Princess Victoria ascends to the throne. Persy and Pen are thrown into the middle of the intrigue when Ally is kidnapped by a mysterious magician who is being blackmailed by someone close to the throne. Attempting to locate where Ally is being held only draws them closer to danger.
Intermixed with the mystery and magic of the tale is Persy's desire to have nothing to do with the London season and getting married. All she wants to do is learn magic. Her sister, Pen, however, wants nothing more than to attend balls and be presented to the Queen, something which utterly terrifies Persy. But with the return of her neighbor, Lochinvar Seton, a boy that she hated growing up until one day when they realized they both shared a love of books, she is confused about her feelings towards marriage and love and how Lochinvar fits into everything. Pensy does makes mistakes with her relationships, both with her sister Pen and with Lochinvar, before finally figuring everything out.
For the most part, I was not disappointed. I did have a few slight quibbles with the (what I thought) shabby treatment Pen received from Doyle. She was reputed, granted from Persy's persepective, to be the beauty of the family, and yet seemed to pick up no suitors while Persy had multitudes. I'm hoping that Pen's story will be expanded if there is going to be a sequel. And there is, right? Also, the conclusion of their magical exploits seemed a bit too similar to a scene from Sorcery and Cecilia for my tastes.
And there is going to be a sequel coming out next fall! Betraying Season. And it will be Pen's story. So, yay!
And, if you want some fun historical tidbits, check out Marissa Doyle's blog.