Fans of Sorcery and Cecelia, or The Magic Chocolate Pot will be eager to get their hands on Doyle’s debut novel. Certainly I pestered my teen librarian until she agreed to order a copy for our library.
Penelope and Persephone, twin young magicians, are headed to London to make their debut. But while Penelope is eager to face the onslaught of parties and ballgowns, shyer Persy would prefer to stay quietly in the country to keep studying their secret magic. Such is not to be, however, and when they arrive in London to find their beloved governess/magic teacher kidnapped, there is nothing for it but to set out to rescue her.
Doyle presents interesting court intrigues as King William holds onto life until his niece (Victoria) can turn 18–a nice bit of history tucked in unobtrusively–, an annoying but still nice little brother, a bit of magic to help keep dresses from tripping one up and former childhood friends who are revealed to be perhaps a bit more than just past playmates.
The story follows Persy as she comes into her own in London. I would have liked to see a little more development for Penelope, her character and adventures weren’t the focus and I didn’t see a reason to not have her story and perhaps a love interest for her as well. Perhaps it’s more realistic though for only one twin to fall madly in love. Though not quite as sharply witty as Wrede/Stevermer’s offerings, this is still a highly engaging novel and highly recommended for teens looking for a romance with a little mystery and without anything ‘mean girl’ or graphic.