In 1837 London, young daughters of viscounts pined for handsome, titled husbands, not careers. And certainly not careers in magic. At least, most of them didn't.
Shy, studious Persephone Leland would far rather devote herself to her secret magic studies than enter society and look for a suitable husband. But right as the inevitable season for "coming out" is about to begin, Persy and her twin sister discover that their governess in magic has been kidnapped as part of a plot to gain control of the soon-to-be Queen Victoria. Racing through Mayfair ballrooms and royal palaces, the sisters overcome bad millinery, shady royal spinsters, and a mysterious Irish wizard. And along the way, Persy learns that husband hunting isn't such an odious task after all, if you can find the right quarry.
Bewitching Season is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
Doyle's debut novel is a Georgette Heyer style, light-as-a-feather romance with supernatural overtones. Ball after ball and visits to Kensington Palace and brushes with royalty await twins Persephone (Persy) and Penelope (Pen) in their first season "out" in early Victorian London society. But when their beloved instructor of magic/governess Miss Allardyce (Ally) is kidnapped by a handsome stranger as part of a devious royal plot, her two devoted wards set out to discover the truth about Ally's disappearance and save the day. Luckily, the plot relies little on magic (it's difficult for "cloaking spells" and cries of "repellere statim!" not to seem like pale imitations of Harry Potter), except as a device to conjure court intrigue. The story hinges instead on the will-they, won't-they budding romance between Persy and her handsome, all-grown-up childhood friend, Lochinvar (Lord Seton). This diverting melodrama will likely please older middle-grade readers more than teens reared on Gossip Girl its bubbly heroines, however spirited, are innocents, not schemers. Ages 14 up.