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The Grand Tour: Or the Purloined Coronation Regalia [Hardcover]

Patricia C. Wrede , Caroline Stevermer
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 469 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books (Sep 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 015204616X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152046163
  • Product Dimensions: 3.6 x 14.4 x 20.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,248,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Regency fantasy 6 Sep 2004
This is another book set in a Regency period in which magic is part of everyday life, and magicians are everywhere. Cousins Kate and Cecy (the heroines of 'Sorcery and Cecelia') are now married and are on their honeymoon with their husbands Thomas and James. As they travel across Europe mysterious things happen, there are several murders, and valuable magical objects go missing. The two couples have to find out what is happening and who is behind it all. This is a very enjoyable story with lots of humour and plenty of adventure and magic. There are rather too many love scenes between the married couples, which are a bit of a bore. On the whole, I thought this one was not quite as much fun as the earlier book, but it is still a very entertaining read.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The book is dull and not worth investing in. 6 Aug 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Avoid this, the persons in the book can hardly be of interest to anyone. The book drags on, and nothing really happens, I have given up on this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  52 reviews
49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An amusing reprise 24 Aug 2004
By Chris Laning - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Sequel Syndrome is a terrible thing. First you write a brilliant, hilarious first book and it's a hit. But then...... THEN, you have to do it again.

Well, Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer have written a witty and amusing reprise of _Sorcery and Cecilia_ (aka _The Enchanted Chocolate Pot_), but in my opinion it's not quite up to the caliber of the first book.

One reason for this is that the plot isn't as dramatic. Yes, it's an intriguing riddle -- what ARE the insidious Mr. Strangle and the young man he's supposedly tutoring up to? And yes, we're _told_ (but never shown) that all of Europe is in danger. But our least favorite people from the first book get tidily killed off, there's a lot more about the tedium of coach travel over bad roads than about magic, and nearly everybody they meet is either nice or rather ineffectual.

The heroines (and heroes) also have a lot less work to do. The danger is less dangerous, troubles happen only one at a time, no one is working at cross-purposes, and there don't seem to be any sub-plots (more's the pity). Even the puzzle isn't that hard to put together if you know anything about medieval European kings. Only two people get kidnapped, and only toward the end of the book, and nothing really happens to them -- again, we're _told_ they are to be sacrificed, but they never even get close, and rescue (of course) comes in time.

Actually, the ending is about the most dramatic scene in the book, and while the rantings and revelations are pretty good, it's soon over. Fortunately or unfortunately, there are also some loose ends left untied, so we might be in for another sequel.

I also had a few minor quibbles -- it's been a long time since I read the first one, and I have this vague feeling that both heroines have somehow forgotten some of the things about magic that they learned in the first book. And a sickle made of pure gold is certainly romantic (especially if you are trying to be an Ancient Druid) but I have my doubts about whether you could actually cut much of anything with it, let alone use it as a murder weapon.

Also, whoever designed the cover art (and I know it wasn't the authors) should be forced at parasol-point to read several long and highly educational histories of costume until they get a clue. The clothes the heroines are wearing look _nothing_ like Regency clothing, but rather more like someone's vague notion of what teenage girls ought to have looked like in the 1950s. Sheesh, there are enough Regency novels out there that even publishers (who actually DO choose the covers) ought to know what Regency clothes look like.

It's a fun read, pure fluff and no educational value, funny, acerbic, and a little sweet. I read it twice the first week it came and will undoubtedly want to read it again -- and it's inspired me to go back and re-read the first one. (The sequel wouldn't have been as much fun if I hadn't known what happens in the first book.)

But I've seen both authors do _so_ much better writing independently. Patricia Wrede's _Mairelon the Magician_ and _Magician's Ward_, which are both set in the same universe as this one, are much more complex and interesting. The final confrontation scene in _Mairelon_ winds up with about fifteen people either trying to hold one another at gunpoint, fainting, trying to make off with the treasure, or threatening to elope, and just when you think it's as bad as it can get, _another_ person shows up and complicates things further. I've read it a dozen times and it still makes me laugh out loud. The pacing is perfect.

Caroline Stevermer, also, can do much better -- she's a much slower and more meditative writer, but her imaginative inventions are dazzling, her people are fascinating, and her latest, _A Scholar of Magics_, is every bit as far-flung, eminently logical, and imaginatively mystical as her first book, _A College of Magics_.

I liked _The Grand Tour_ and it's always fun to see what happens to old friends next. But I don't think _Grand Tour_ is going to get as many re-readings as the other books I've mentioned. Let's hope two excellent authors can make the synergy work better if they do this again.
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kate emerges; Cecy is submerged. 18 Aug 2004
By Susan Shedd - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
These really are delighful characters, and the plot is of a weight suitable to a Regency romance. The primary difference between this book and its predecessor is that, in this outing, I preferred the "Kate" sections to those by Cecilia. "Sorcery and Cecilia" had a much more even tone. I believe this may be due to the different literary devices -- no letters, as the two women are traveling together, often in uncomfortably cramped circumstances.Kate gets to use a diary format, but Cecy's is from her depostition concerning the plot they uncover and foil. Since Cecy is communicating with strangers in official positions, we hear very little about her adjustment to the married state or her inner thoughts about her own role. Kate, however, is talking to herself. We get to see her marriage from the inside. We also get to find out what the results were from all those "tests" she was given at the end of the first book. Very satisfying -- and that's all I'm going to say about it.

The uneven tone is the only significant flaw in this book. I agree that a single villain, well-known to the characters, is more interesting than a relative stranger plotting at a distance. However, the really fascinating idea behind the spell the plotters have put together more than makes up for it. The book treats it lightly -- no Dan Brown hysterics -- but it has a lot more to it than appears on the surface. The characters are a lot of fun, and I particularly like getting to know more about the maids that Kate & Cecy hire.

Writing a book together has to be a lot of work. I would enjoy seeing this series continue with one couple "featured" in each novel, receiving occasional letters/messages/spells from the other. That way, Kate & Cecy (and their marriages) would get equal time -- but not at the SAME time!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! The sequel is out... 21 Oct 2004
By Stanley Climbfall - Published on
Personally, Sorcery and Cecelia is one of my favorite books. So, I was obviously thrilled when Ms. Wrede and Ms. Stervemer announced they were writing a sequel. I wasn't disappointed.

While this book isn't quite as memorable as Sorcery and Cecelia, I still loved it. The way the plot moves is different than its predecessor, but it made it seem better to me. Cecy's entries are part of an official document she must write, while Kate's entries are from her personal journal; these two styles tie together very well.

I like the "mystery" type style that goes through the book. I thought it was a great story line, and I really enjoyed it. This book is so much fun to read because it does have a good story line but it also stays fairly true to the time period.

I think that everyone will at least like, if not love, this book. It's also a great book to reread along with Sorcery and Cecelia.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not so grand, but a decent read 31 Aug 2004
By Aunt Amethyst - Published on
The Grand Tour is halfway decent, the half that is decent (in my opinion) being the half written by Patricia C. Wrede. The tone of the book, particularly as it progressed and in the passages by Caroline Stevermer, was rather melancholy and morose, lacking the jovial adventuresomeness of Sorcery and Cecelia. Furthermore, the feel of the story was quite uneven, with Ms. Wrede's passages being reminiscient of her Mairelon the Magician books, and Ms. Stevermer's portions resembling A College of Magics. It was evident that each author had her own story that she had wished to tell, but rather than collaborating as in their first book, they each rather tried to continue their own storylines without regard to the others, making for an awkward read.

The characters were more fully realized; however, each author had her own characterizations for each of them, contributing to the uneven feel of the book. Kate's passages were intolerably long, and the book in general was dragged out. Despite its length, the characters still only made it to France and Italy, hardly the Grand Tour the title implies.

I think most fans of Sorcery and Cecelia will be dissappointed by this sequel, but I recommend it anyway. There

are a few memorable moments that I won't spoil, and the whole beginning of the book was really quite good. Those readers who liked A College of Magics would find the whole thing enthralling, I'm sure, as the bulk of it was by Ms. Stevermer and was reminsicent of her other work. The ending was dissappointing and overly sentimental. It left little room for a third sequel; judging from the trouble the authors seem to have had collaborating, I suspect that this was deliberate.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As good a sequel as can be expected. 2 Aug 2005
By Willow and Jasmine - Published on
I must say I LOVED Sorcery and Cecelia. It is one of my favorite books which is why I wasn't expecting the sequel to be as good. It wasn't. Oh, it was still a good fantasy novel, but the plot seemed to drag and was a bit confusing in some parts. Cecy, who was so much fun in the previous book, is overshadowed by Kate. Kate seems to have all the entries in the book and all the good parts. Cecy only gets her share towards the end of the nearly 500 page novel. The plot was still good and exciting near the end, but it did seem about 100 pages too long. Still, if you are dedicated Kate and Cecy fan, read it since it is the sequel, but definitely don't start with this book. It is fun, but not anywhere near as good as the first.
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