Shopping in Paris, sightseeing in the Alps, riding gondolas in Venice—the Grand Tour planned by spirited cousins Kate and Cecy and their new husbands, Thomas and James, should be the perfect celebration of their whirlwind courtships. That is, until…The seasickness. The long carriage rides over bumpy roads. The midnight intruder who leaves behind a fashionable Turkish slipper. The tediously educational visits to ancient sites (where they always seem to run into the same peculiar people). And, oh yes, the mysterious parcel that hints at a murderously magical plot of international importance. Now the newlyweds must embark on a daring chase across the Continent. But what with Cecy’s explosive attempts to hone her wizardry, Kate’s alarming propensity for losing gloves, and a trial of misconstrued clues, will they be able to thwart the evil conspiracy in time? Clearly, this isn’t quite the calm and relaxing journey the girls were expecting. Though who cares, because this unconventional Grand Tour is turning out to be the best adventure of their lives!
The Grand Tour continues the fun of Sorcery & Cecelia, with even more intrigue, danger, and adventure. While I’m unsure of how, exactly, magic works in this world, Cecelia and Thomas do and experience some awesome things with it, and Kate has a particularly awesome moment in the end, as well. I also love the concept of knitting letters to other people.
Stevermer and Wrede do a really good job with the plot, building it up with little mysteries and hints and then bringing it all together in the end neatly. I know that in Sorcery & Cecelia they did not know what the other person was doing in terms of plot, and I wonder if it was the same, here. It seemed a bit too unified within the two viewpoints for that, but perhaps they’re just very good.
My one complaint is that the book seemed unbalanced between Kate and Cecelia’s viewpoints. Kate seemed to have much more frequent narrations than Cecelia; no sooner did we get one Cecelia entry than two or three Kate entries followed. In addition, Cecelia’s entries were very technical and focused on magic, whereas Kate’s actually delved into her love for Thomas a little bit. Kate and Thomas were very affectionate and loving, but Cecelia and James may as well not even have been married for all the attention they showed each other during her narrations.
Recommended Age Range: 14+
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Mr. Brummell’s face went quite expressionless. He fingered the bottle for a moment, then, holding the stopper carefully in place, he turned it over and made a brief examination of the underside. “Ah,” he said in a satisfied tone, and returned it to Lady Sylvia.
“‘Ah’?” said Thomas. “I could have said that much myself.”
“You just did,” James told him.
Mr. Brummell ignored them both and looked at Lady Sylvia. “I believe the rather blurred mark on the base of the flask is the seal of the Archbishops of Notre-Dame in Paris. As you might reasonably be assumed to be traveling to Paris, I suspect you were meant to take the flask there.” He paused, considering. “Under the present circumstances, I am not at all sure that would be wise.”
The Grand Tour continues the high fun and adventure of Sorcery & Cecelia on an even grander scale, and the two authors manage the plot really well between the two of them. The book seemed a bit unbalanced between the two viewpoints, however, and Kate was the only one who acted married.