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Betraying Season: Marissa Doyle Does it Again

June 15, 2010

First of all, hurrah for the NYPL. I put Betraying Season on my hold list a couple of days ago, and it came in, fast!

And I read it. Fast, and delightedly. It was wonderful to be back in the Leland sisters’ magic-infused early Victorian world. With Persephone happily married, Penelope feels at loose ends around the lovebirds. She and Ally head to Ireland, so Pen can continue to study magic. A chance encounter with the imperious but hospitable Lady Keating gives Pen a ticket into the best drawing rooms.  With Ally out of commission again (their governess seems to spend a lot of time offstage) Penelope is on her own, navigating unfamiliar social worlds with Lady Keating’s kind but manipulative guidance. And then there’s the handsome son, Niall Keating.

I zoomed through this, and will probably go back to read and savor both books again. I liked getting Pen’s point of view, instead of seeing her and her motivations through Persy’s eyes. I liked seeing Pen’s  social confidence and academic flightiness (what Persy saw) fleshed out into some awkwardness, thanks to her internal monologue.

What I loved best of all was seeing a different magical culture. In the Irish world Doyle creates, there’s a separation between the magic tradition of England, based on Latin spells, and a Druid-Goddess fueled magic of Ireland. It brings up interesting gender discrepancies too, from the young men who aren’t sure about having a female student at their lessons, to the Maiden Mother Crone set of roles that crops up in some witchcraft traditions. On reflection, it also reminds me of Diane Duane’s A Wizard Abroad. In the best possible ways.

Now, when I get a chance to read Georgette Heyer, I”m going to expect some levitation!

But more to the point, I can’t wait for Marissa Doyle to write the next book. I hear it’s a prequel….

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