“Courtship & Curses” Marissa Doyle

ARC (Advance Reading Copy). Leland Sisters series, Book 3. Published August 7, 2012. Henry Holt and Company. 343 pp. (includes Author’s Note).

I have one question for the publishers of this book: why is “Courtship & Curses” included in the Leland Sisters series? There is absolutely nothing in it that has any relationship to the Leland sisters (other than Sophie is a witch like Persy and Pen). ONE comment, using a ridiculous word that little Charles liked to say, is the only other tie to the sisters.

Thus, putting it as part of the series was very misleading, and made me waste my time reading the first two books thinking Book 3 would continue the Leland sisters’ story. If I had known beforehand that this wasn’t the case, I would have just read “Courtship & Curses” and saved my eyesight for better books than the first two in the series. So readers, take note. If you want to read this, by all means don’t bother with the first two books. “Courtship & Curses” can stand alone on its own merits.

Sophie is a young witch, forced to figure out why her magic stopped when her mother and sister died. She is left with a shriveled foot and walks with a cane. In 1815, with such an infirmity, it is assumed she can have no place in London society except for someone who will always sit on the sidelines, and can only expect to have second best choice when it comes to eligible men.

Sophie uncovers a magical plot to kill men in the War Office, including her father and the Duke of Wellington. She and her friend Parthenope decide it is up to them to figure out who would want Napoleon Bonaparte back in power and have England’s officers out of the picture. What they find out astonishes them, and teaches Sophie more about her strength of character than anything else she had experienced up to that time.

Compared to Persy and Pen, Sophie was like a breath of fresh air. She is intelligent, as well as strong willed and strong witted. In the first two books, Persy and Pen spent their time whimpering and simpering, driving me to distraction. Sophie, despite being in love with her suitor Peregrine, was firm enough to send him packing when she felt he needed to be packed off and didn’t waste precious time bemoaning every little thing that happened to her and him in the mannerisms of Persy and Pen.

I definitely recommend giving “Courtship & Curses” a read. Just be sure to do it without bothering to read the other two books in the series.


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