Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Book Review Club: Bewitching Season

by Marissa Doyle
Young Adult fantasy / romance 
Henry Holt Books for Young Readers

Bewitching Season is the first in the "Leland Sisters" series, though there are only two girls, so I don't know how many books are planned. The setting is England in 1837, right before Victoria came to the throne, and it revolves around the London social season. The twist here is that the sisters, Persephone and Penelope (Persy and Pen) are hereditary witches.

The first book is Persy's story. She is the more talented witch of the two twins, which comes in handy later. Persy is also more studious and shy than Pen, so the social season is a bit of a trial for her. To her surprise, she attracts the interest of several young men, including their neighbor, Lochinvar Seton, with whom she is secretly in love. After indulging in some champagne at a ball, she performs a love spell on Lochinvar, but then when he shows interest, she thinks it's because of the love spelll not because he really likes her, so she starts avoiding him which alienates her twin. (In so many ways, the twins are typical teenage girls and behave accordingly.)

The external plot revolves around the kidnapping of the twins' governess, Miss Allerdyce, a very talented witch. She has been spirited to Kensington Palace where Princess Victoria lives with her mother and the villainous Sir John Conroy, who wants Ally to help him bewitch Victoria so he can be the power behind the throne when the old king dies. Of course it is up to Persy and Pen to find Ally and free her (and Victoria) from Conroy's clutches. (Conroy was a real person and he did try to control the young Victoria though I would be surprised if he ever resorted to witchcraft.)

The characters are likable and book is well-written, fast-paced and amusing. Nothing serious here, but a nice diversion. Recommended for YA readers.


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book review blogs @Barrie Summy