September 04, 2019

#BookReview: Enchantée (Enchantée #1) by Gita Trelease

Synopsis: Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians...

When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.

But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she's playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns…

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About the Author:  Born in Sweden to Indian and Swedish parents, Gita Trelease has lived in many places, including New York, Paris, and a tiny town in central Italy. She attended Yale College and New York University, where she earned a Ph.D. in British literature. Before becoming a novelist, she taught classes on writing and fairy tales. Along with her husband and son, Gita divides her time between a village in Massachusetts and the coast of Maine. Enchantée is her debut novel.

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟
My Review:  I was die hard trying to get my hands on this book and I am so sad that it was just kind of meh.  This one felt like an overload of things going on.  It felt the author had a ton of ideas an instead of doing a few books with them she crammed them all into one.  Which made this one just so hard to follow.  The other issue I had was that for me this was very predictable.  I guessed the twists before they were revealed and I really wished I hadn't.  And other parts of this one just didn't work out for me at all. So sadly my expectations overran what this book was set to give me. 

Gr 9 Up-Against the tumultuous backdrop of the French Revolution, two orphaned sisters, Camille and Sophie, struggle to survive on the streets of Paris. Possessing an inherited gift of magic from her once-aristocratic mother, Camille begins "turning" coins and cards for rent and food. When her debt-ridden, abusive older brother, Alain, steals their meager earnings, Camille is determined to save herself and Sophie. She conjures deeper, darker magic, creating a double identity, Baroness Cecile Descharlots, with a new appearance, elegant dress, and access to the gaming tables at Versailles. Even as she prospers and befriends courtiers and vicomtes, Camille's double life begins to fray. Her aeronaut boyfriend, Lazare, is hiding his own secrets. She suspects an ardent court admirer, Vicomte Seguin, of sinister intentions and destructive magic. Her pursuit of fortune in the royal court conflicts with her empathy for the common man. Then, Sophie disappears. Multiple threads of history are woven into this tale: the role and persecution of magicians in the French court; experiments with balloon aeronautics; contemporaneous attitudes toward women, queer folks, and biracial nobility; the opulent, decadent lifestyle of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI; and, the rising outrage of impoverished citizens. Informative historical notes and a French glossary are appended. Distinctive characters, vivid 18th-century images of Paris and Versailles, lively French-infused dialogue, an appealing heroine, and an upbeat ending propel this lengthy romantic fantasy. VERDICT Romance and fantasy readers will enjoy the magic realism, ruse and tension of Camille's double identity, authentic historical references, and Camille's daring, passionate spirit. A must-have.-Gerry Larson, formerly at Durham School of the Arts, NCα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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