Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Grand Tour Review

******This is a review of a sequel, and as such has contains spoilers for the first book*************

Book talk: After everything they've been through Cecy and Kate are excited to get away from England for their honeymoon trip around Europe.  But if they were expecting a leisurely vacation with the occasional sightseeing outing they were sorely mistaken.  It all begins when a mysterious woman shows up with vial of what seems like perfume.  Before long they're chasing missing coronation regalia all over Europe in a desperate attempt to prevent a new Napoleon from rising to power.  At least they get to do so in the latest Paris fashions--there are some honeymoon traditions that are just too important to shirk.

Rocks my socks: I do love the characters and I enjoyed seeing their story continued.  It also benefits from the same interesting alternate timeline as the first novel with the added excitement of a European tour and Paris shopping trips.  The book contains a description of a knitting system they use to pass coded messages to one another and having recently learned how to knit myself I found this to be very interesting.

Rocks in my socks: Because Cecy and Kate are together they don't need to write letters to each other.  They try to imitate the style of the first book by having it told through excerpts of Kate's diary and a deposition of Cecy's, but it's missing that authentic feeling from the first novel achieved by the fact that it really was two authors writing letters back and forth.  It reads much like a regular first person narrative.  I've never given a deposition, but I've kept diaries for years and my entries sound nothing like those found in this novel, and not just because I have no magical powers (or exciting adventures for that matter).  On the one hand I liked the fact that the novel surrounds two happily married couples because so few novels do.  On the other hand there's a reason why novels usually don't feature happily married couples in the lead.  It's certainly desirable in real life, but not terribly engaging in fiction.  That's why the phrase "happily ever after" became so popular--so authors didn't have to bore their audience with that stuff.

Every book its reader: I'd give this to fans of the first book.  It's another light-hearted fantasy with fashion, magic, romance, and adventure, with the emphasis on the first two this time around.

The Grand Tour by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

Buy it at your local independent book store or check it out at your local library.

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