The Grand Tour: Or the Purloined Coronation Regalia Hardcover – 1 Sep 2004
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Cecy and Kate continue their writing in journals rather than letters back and forth. The 2 seets of newlyweds decided to travel together for their honeymoon and to find out something about magic. Keeping in mind this is a YA book, it does lag sometimes. Hoowever, the ending was fantastic!
I would highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a Georgette Heyer type of heroine. I am now off to read THE MISLAID MAGICIAN OR 10 YEARS LATER.
The story is again told antiphonally by the two cousins, in this case through entries in Kate's "Commonplace Book" (ie, journal) and Cecy's deposition to the "Joint Representatives of the British Ministry of Magic, the War Office and the Foreign Office". The distinguished bureaucrats may not have required the full deposition and commonplace book, but the modern reader will be entranced.
Almost from the very minute the traveling party lands in Calais, events of a magical persuasion threaten to overtake them. A mysterious lady in blue leaves a package meant for Thomas' mother with Cecy and when it's opened the object turns out to be a magical artifact of great age and power. Then a midnight thief attempts to steal the parcel. The would-be robber is foiled, but he manages to escape - leaving only a Turkish slipper behind. Soon the newlyweds learn of several more successful thefts from various sites across Europe. In each case, an important antiquity tied to various coronation rituals is stolen. Clearly, something devious and threatening is afoot.
In this adventurous sequel to Sorcery and Cecelia, authors Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer have sent their young heroines (and heroes, of course) to explore the European Continent just two years after the final defeat of Napoleon. Once again, the combination of Regency manners, romance, magic and dastardly deeds is used to great effect. Clearly Ms. Wrede and Ms. Stevermer (both of whom are capable of magic with their pens) had a great deal of fun writing this novel. Cecy, Kate, James and Thomas are all extremely likable and the plot is full of action and derring-do, with a few tender moments thrown in for good measure. In Sorcery and Cecelia, Kate and Cecy were separated (one in London, one in Essex), and the novel was written as a series of letters between the two. This time around the cousins are together throughout, so the use of letters was impracticable. Instead, Cecy's voice is heard through her sworn deposition to various members of His Majesty's Government, while Kate relates the more personal details in the diary she received as a wedding present from her uncle. Once again, the combination of the two points of view adds depth and color to the narrative. Given the fabulous plot and the high quality of the writing, this book is both a pleasure to read on every level.
For those who read Sorcery and Cecilia from cover to cover without being able to put it down (as I did), you will enjoy this story and your familiar characters and their silly antics (and yes Kate does fall in a canal in Venice as Thomas hoped), although this book is not as compelling.
For those who didn't read the first book: go read the first book it's great. However this book will stand alone just fine.
Kate and Cecy and their husbands Thomas and James as well as Thomas' mother in law arrive in France and are immediately given a mysterious package by a mysterious woman. The package is stolen and there is great concern as to the intentions of the thief as the package contained the saint ampoule, the oil in which is used to anoint kings and emperors. Their are also mysterious rituals taking place at sites of power and more thefts of items associated with kings. They meet Mr. Strangle and his young charge Theodore who seem to be associated with this mystery in some way.
As Kate and Cecy travel the continent following various characters and visiting various cities, we travel with them and learn more about this mystery. I enjoyed the descriptions of these classic cities and the fun magic and mystery involved in this story. Go ahead and read it, you won't be disappointed, but you won't have as much fun as you did the first time around, so don't get your hopes up too high.