In this follow up to Bewitching Season, Penelope Leland sets off for Ireland to study magic. Just as Bewitching Season is refined and restrained like London society, Betraying Season is much more free and sensual, like the old Celtic magic that Pen is now learning. Which is all a very flowery way of saying – this right here? This is why I bother with this blog. I thought Bewitching Season to be fairly tame, with some mild cursing and ramping up to some passionate kisses, but Betraying Season is much more racy. You’ll see by the swear count below that the language has deteriorated. Furthermore, a key plot point hinges around whether or not certain characters are virgins, and so attempts to, ahem, relieve one of her virginity, are made.
I didn’t love this as much as Bewitching Season but it’s still quite fun. The reasons I didn’t like this as much as its predecessor? Well, I like London and society balls and missed that aspect. Also, I found Pen to be quite dense at times, a quality that seemed to be out of character with the rest of her persona.
Marissa Doyle took advantage of setting this in Ireland and liberally sprinkled the book with Gaelic. This drove me a little crazy, because Doyle was not great about providing translations and because I am always bothered by the fact that I’m certain I’m mispronouncing the words.
Some may be bothered more with the magical aspects of this book. As Doyle is discussing older pagan magic, much of the story relies on the myth of the triple goddess. Some parallels are drawn to the Holy Trinity which may make some readers uncomfortable. But then again, those people are unlikely to be reading a book about wtiches in the first place, right?
Sex, Nudity, Dating –So as I noted above, a major plot point revolves around whether or not the virginity of various women is intact. To that end and hopefully without revealing too much, I can tell you that the following occur: one woman has sex out of wedlock
(but offstage); breasts are grazed, skirts are hiked, thighs are fondled, necks are kissed, passionate kisses are exchanged, hands are held; there is a pregnancy out of wedlock. There is much discussion of women’s monthly courses and we know that Persy filled Pen in on a talk their mother gave her about childbearing on the eve of her wedding. Lady Keating’s son is not by her husband. One character slanders another by calling that character highly promiscious and fabricating prior relationships. The pregnant character is told to rid herself of the bastard.
Profanity – “Jesus,” “Damn” around 9 times, “Damnation,” “damned,” around 5 times “bollocks,” “hell” thrice, “Good God,” “God knows why,” “Mother of God.”
Death, Violence and Gore – There are rumors that the Duke of Cumberland plans on killing Queen Victoria. Again there is a plot on Victoria’s life. Eamon Doherty is bloodied during political unrest. Pen has a sword pointed at her breast. Lady Keating hits her head on a rock.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – Niall goes into a pub but does not drink. Heather wine is served. The Carrighars have a wine cellar. A fairy creature offers Pen whiskey, she declines. Pen sips sherry. After dinner people drink port and gentlemen smoke cigars. Niall drinks brandy. An injured man is given brandy. Pen drinks brandy. One of Pen’s dance partners has had several glasses of strongly spiked punch. Niall wishes he had whiskey to dull his pain. Doherty and Niall drink together.
Frightening or Intense Things – The magical element here is far stronger and darker than in Bewitching Season.