Marissa DoyleHolt, Apr 2008, $16.95
In 1837 seventeen years old twins Penelope and Persephone Leland differ about their feelings about their debut season. Whereas Pen is euphoric looking forward to all the social activity especially with this being a coronation season in London; Persy prefers to stay at home bookishly studying magic under the tutelage of their governess, Ally. However, both react the same way when Ally vanishes without a trace in Kensington Palace; the sisters use their magical skills searching for her while Persy also overhears a seditious plot to keep Princess Victoria from being crowned Queen.
As she has in her mind and heart forever, Persy remained attracted to her neighbor Lord Seton, Lochinver, who only recently seems to have noticed her. However, finding beloved Ally comes first for her and for her sibling. The clues in balls and bashes lead to danger from traitorous conspirators who plan to use Ally’s magical skills to turn Victoria into their puppet.
Though targeting young adults, BEWITCHING SEASON is a alluring early Victorian historical with strong fantasy elements and some romance; older fans of the period will appreciate the fun story line as the magic in Marissa Doyle’s enchanting tale is how magic is treated as a skill young ladies must learn like knitting and playing the pianoforte. The twins are a delight as their personalities are vastly different on the surface with Pen being an extrovert and Persy an introvert, but inside they share courage and caring. The romantic subplot is kept for the most part in the background while the fantasy elements play more critical roles as they are the mechanism being used to control the soon to be queen. It is elementary that fans who enjoy an engaging historical with an invigorating fantasy foundation will want to read Ms. Doyle’s fine thriller.