“Bewitching Season” Marissa Doyle

“Leland Sisters series Book 1.” Henry Holt and Company, 2008. Hardcover. 346 pp.

Many of you know my feelings about books in a series. I dislike having to wait for the next one to be released, and usually have to wind up having to reread the earlier books for a refresher. If all the books in the series have already been released, and it strikes my fancy to read it, then I don’t mind too much.

Such was the case with the Leland Sisters series. I had received an ARC of part 3 at the recent ALA Conference, and it looked interesting but, since I hadn’t read the first two books in the series, I was tempted to pass it by in favor of one of the other 100+ ARC’s awaiting me. However, since the books were readily on the shelves of my local public library I decided to give it a go…

It is 1837 London, and Penelope and Persephone are getting ready to make their big societal debut. They are all atwitter at the possibility of meeting Princess Victoria, soon to be Queen, when they are presented at court. Persephone (Persy) is terrified at the thought of meeting strange men and attending multiple balls, preferring to stay at home with her books and practice magic. Her sister Penelope, also a witch, is the opposite of gloomy Persy and radiates joy at the thought of their upcoming debut and all it entails.

Ally, their governess who is also a witch and their trainer, has gone ahead to prepare their London home for their arrival but, once there, they realize she has gone missing. They soon discover she has been taken prisoner in an evil plot by Sir John Conroy to force the Princess to give up her role as Queen. Before they know it, the girls are running for their lives as they try to find Ally and stay one step ahead of the evil magic trying to also control them. Amidst the confusion of trying to find Ally, Persy has to face her fears of falling in love with a man who hates witches while deciding if she really is cut out for the life expected of a viscount’s daughter.

“Bewitching Season” had its good moments, but I was greatly put out by Persy’s continuous moaning about her terrible looking hair, her plain face, her inability to know how to behave at balls, her supposed inability to dance, etc. etc. While boring the reader with all these ridiculous notions, she regales us with the witticisms and loveliness of her TWIN sister, completely forgetting that if she’s as ugly as she claims to be then why is her sister the beautiful one, etc. etc.?? It was enough to make me want to put the book down in disgust, but I tried to read around it to the storyline since I like history and enjoyed reading about 1837 London, court life, and the balls.

All the adventures were tied up with a satisfying bow, leaving me to wonder what the author would have them go through in “Betraying Season,” the next book in the series.


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