Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Bewitching Season

Bewitching Season

Marissa Doyle
Fiction  Series
For ages 14 and up
Henry Holt and Co., 2008   ISBN: 978-0805082517

Persephone and Penelope are the daughters of Lord Atherton, a wealthy aristocrat who loves his books and the quiet life. What he does not know is that his daughters have inherited a certain family trait which sets them apart from other people: they both have magical abilities. Indeed their governess, who is very skilled in magic, is doing her best to make sure that her two charges learn as much magic as possible.

The time has come however for Persy and Pen to "come out" into society – London society. Their days in the school room are over and now they have to go to town to be presented to the queen and to attend numerous balls and other social events. Pen is looking forward to the experience, but shy bookish Persy is dreading it. Persy is sure that her twin, who looks just like her – will be quickly and happily married off, and she foresees a miserable lonely future for herself.

When the girls arrive in London with their parents they are very disturbed to find out that their governess, Miss Allardyce, is missing. Miss Allardyce's parents have no idea where she is and unlike Persy and Pen's parents, they know all about their daughter's skill in the magical arts. Could it be that someone wants to make use of these skills, someone unscrupulous? Is the kidnapping somehow linked to someone in Princess Victoria's household?

Together Persy, Pen, their little brother Charles, and a very handsome young man called Lord Lochinvar Seton try to solve the puzzle.

In this delightful, often warmly funny story, Marissa Doyle makes her debut by taking historical fact and giving it an interesting twist. Many of the non-magical events described in the tale really did take place in London in the 1830's. Princess Victoria – later Queen Victoria – was really bullied by a member of her household who wanted to take control of her. And young women of the upper classes really did have to go through the ordeal of "coming out" to find themselves a husband.

With its sparkles of romance and its numerous colorful characters, this is a book which fans of historical fiction will find hard to resist.