[or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot]
Cousins Kate Talgarth and Cecelia Rushton have been separated. While Kate enjoys the Season in London, Cecelia stays in the country. The cousins don't enjoy the separation, but they keep in touch via letters. Both are soon in the midst of a magical plot. It all started with a chocolate pot. Kate finds herself betrothed to Thomas, Marquis of Schofield and Cecy is sneaking around the countryside trying to find out what her neighbor James Tarleton is up to. Their connections with these gentlemen put Kate and Cecy in danger, but these young ladies are more than up to the task.
What I thought: I don't know how I missed this book. I love Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles. This book was just as fun. I loved the format--letters. My fondness for epistolary novels is one of longstanding. This is only the second one I've read where the letters are answered. The first being The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society. Kate and Cecy, or should I say Caroline and Pat, have a talent for writing letters. Their uncanny ability to relate incidents keeps the reader from missing any of the action. Adding magic to Jane Austen's England was ingenious. (And it's been done again with Marissa Doyle's Bewitching Season and Betraying Season.) Kate and Cecy are so well written that they might be some of Austen's heroines.
I love that the girls' relationships with their respective gentlemen are uneasy. They don't quite know how much to trust each other. The tension works well throughout the novel. The ending (not quite happily ever after, but close) was satisfactory and left me wanting to read more about Kate and Cecy's adventures. I'm glad the series continues with two more books: 2) The Grand Tour and 3) The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After.
A quick note about the authors' afterward: The letter game seems a novel idea (no pun intended!). It makes me want to find a writing friend and set to. Why haven't more books been born out of this game?