Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Grand Tour

The title: The Grand Tour; or, The Purloined Coronation Regalia
The author: Patricia Wrede & Caroline Stevermer
Publication: Harcourt, 2004  
Got it from: DC, 2006

I re-read Sorcery & Cecelia for the third time in 2011, so I thought it was high time I re-read the sequel as well.  One of the nice things about the Internet is the opportunity to engage with authors about their works.  I was about halfway through this book when I had a chance to participate in a Live Chat with the authors, which was pretty neat.  My question for them was about how it felt to go back and write the sequel almost twenty years after the first.  Caroline's response?  "It was like tuning into a radio station you really, really love."

When I first read this book almost seven years ago, I adored it.  I couldn't put it down. I was winding up my master's degree and it was the perfect distraction to all the work I was trying to get through.  This time it was - well, I enjoyed it, but maybe not quite as much as the first time.  I guess this was partly due to the fact that I knew what was going to happen.  That kind of takes away some of the suspense. 

In this sequel, Kate and Cecy are happily married to Thomas and James and they are about to embark on a honeymoon tour of Europe.  One of the delights of the book is the real-life details of what it would have been like to actually travel around Europe in the Regency period.  Any romantic notions I may have had quickly dissipated - seasickness, bed bugs, bumpy carriages and freezing temperatures were all part of the deal.  Real historical figures also pop into the book.  Beau Brummell is involved in a rather amusing dinner fiasco and the Duke of Wellington is also involved in their adventures.  Of course their honeymoon doesn't go smoothly, and the Scooby Gang couples soon find themselves in the centre of a scheme to steal ancient coronation regalia.  There's plenty of chases, highwaymen, spying and magical doings afoot.

This is definitely a sequel where you need to read the first book, but anyone who has will undoubtedly enjoy this one.  I think it's a tad overlong, but anyone who revels in the minutiae of  Regency life will howl with protest, so it's not a serious complaint.  Stevermer has a short story coming out in the upcoming Queen Victoria's Book of Spells, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that Kate and Cecy can solve mysteries again.


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