Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Mislaid Magician, or Ten Years After

So, remember how I recently mentioned a few YA fiction books that I really enjoyed, like Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer? Well, I got to thinking about that book in particular, and looked it up again, only to find that there was a third book in the series, and this is that book, so I got it! (The second is called The Grand Tour.)

I really enjoyed the first two books, which cover some events in the lives of Cecelia and Kate, two young adults living in a Regency England where magic is commonplace. One of them discovers that she is a magician, and they both eventually find dashing young husbands. Good, lighthearted fun, in the form of letters written to each other. One of the really fun things about these books is that each of the authors took on a particular character and then they actually wrote these letters to each other, as the characters they were portraying. People who can have fun like that are the kind of people I want to be friends with!

But anyway. Back to the book at hand. So this one is, surprisingly enough, set ten years after the last one leaves off, and now both girls have several children and are settled and respectable ladies. They are again each asked to solve a different mystery, and their mysteries end up being somewhat intertwined as usual. I enjoyed reading this one, but not quite as much as the last two, and I can say with confidence that it is entirely because of the way the subject of children are treated in this book. Although it's obvious that both girls love their children and husbands and they are loved in return, there's a lot of them trying to escape from having to deal with the children, or being grateful that they can leave the upbringing of their children in the nurses' hands, and so on. I'm sure this is all historically accurate and all that, but the writing style didn't really feel like something that was trying to be historically accurate. It just seemed like the author's take on child-rearing, and that made me sad. Not a huge deal but you know, not as entertaining for me and all that.

This leads to to wonder, because in Patricia C. Wrede's Dealing with Dragons series (which you may remember if you were involved in my childhood at all), the main character has one child, but the books skip from before the child is even conceived to his 16th birthday with no detail in between. And since Ms. Wrede also doesn't have children of her own, does this reflect simply her lack of experience, or perhaps her personal feelings about children?

I don't know, but either way, it made it a slightly less enjoyable read for me. Still, great fun to read, and I still really like the series. I also enjoyed the surprising introduction of a famous historical figure into this book, which now allows me to label it historical fiction...but only jokingly.

No comments: