Friday, January 5, 2007

The Letter Game

Last night I finished Sorcery and Cecelia or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot, and I enjoyed it so much that I was positively giddy. I was even more thrilled when I read in the afterword that the two authors (Wrede and Stevermer) created the manuscript by the Letter Game. They picked a setting and assumed two different characters, writing to each other in the guise of those characters. They never discussed plot with each other and their story continued to progress until the letters were maddeningly frantic and they wrapped it all up into a gratifying conclusion. Then they looked at the stack of paper and said “I think we’ve the makings of a book here,” made some minor touchups, and got the thing published. Oh my goodness, it’s just so fun.

I love the characters, Cecelia and Kate—two young ladies who are clever, witty, strong-willed, and inventive. They are just slightly scandalous for the time period, which makes their adventures that much more entertaining. I strongly relate to them—the sort of girls who are less elegant than their peers and receive less attention from the boys, but who have smarts and personality to make up for it and who are eventually appreciated by two intriguing young men.

I do find the title of the first book problematic insofar as Kate is just as important as Cecelia in the plot, so I’m not sure why they would have used only Cecy’s name in the title (unless they just liked the sound of it—“Sorcery and Cecelia” does have a pleasing effect).

Today I’m going to begin the second book in the series, The Grand Tour, even though my sisters-in-law tell me it’s not quite as good. According to them, the third is much better. This seems to be a trend with what I’m reading lately.

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