I just finished reading "Sorcery and Cecelia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot", by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. I've been looking for a good book to read ever since I finished the last Septimus Heap book. This one wasn't too bad!
The story takes place in Victorian England, and is comprised of letters sent between two cousins, Kate and Cecelia. Kate is in London, "coming out" this Season, being 16 years old now, and Cecelia is at home at Rushton Manor in Essex. The two correspond throughout the Season, and disclose secrets about the strange goings on in their lives. Both are intrigued by magic, but both are forbidden to study it by their ever-watchful and extremely proper aunties, Elizabeth and Charlotte. Forbidden to study magic, they are unwittingly drawn into a subversively sorcerous plot to destroy Thomas, the Marquis of Schofield (who is a magician in his own right), and his friend James Tarleton (no wizard, but an extremely loyal friend of Thomas.)
The story line twists and turns, drawing the reader deeper into the recesses of the tale, revealing humor, intrigue, and two different plots. After readng the story, I read the afterword at the end of the book with the two different authors, and discovered that the entire story was indeed written in a series of letters. The two authors had entered into "The Letter Game", in which they collaborated on the development of the main characters and the setting and the timing (when the story would end), but each created their own plots and additional characters, and did not discuss them with each other. After the letter game ended, they got together and revised, refined and created a more readable and understandable story, then dashed off to an editor. It wasn't originally intended to be published - it was just for fun. The letters are long on fun and gossip, full of creativity and wit.
I enjoyed the book immensely. I think it would be fun to play the letter game, too! I wish I could find someone who was interested in playing. What fun it could be!