Saturday 30 March 2019


Enchantée by Gita Trelease   {Reviewed by STELLA}
The world is changing and Camille must find her place in it if she is to survive. It's a time of strife in France. On the cusp of a revolution, the court and its aristocrats are enraptured by their own fantasy, living the high life in their palaces, playing games, partying and gambling while the people in the street starve, die of disease, and the harvests are crippled.  But for Camille, her problems are more immediate. She’s seventeen, her parents have died from smallpox, her younger sister, Sophie, is still frail and recovering from her brush with the disease, and her brother, the supposed bread-winner of the family, is mired in debts and drunkenness. Paris 1789, on the edge of revolution, is not an easy, nor safe, place for a young woman, but Camille has a gift: a little magic at her fingertips. Being able to turn small nubs of metal into coin means bread and candles. But the coins are only temporary and, as Camille has to venture further and further from her home, she realises that something more dramatic is required. The turning point comes out of desperation when Alain, her brother, steals the rent money that she has carefully hidden away and, protesting this theft, he rages against her, striking her down. Maman always warned against opening the partially burnt chest, but needs must and Camille discovers her magic is far more powerful than she imagined. Also more dangerous. Transformed by a dress reeking with dark magic and alive to the touch, Camille enters the glittering world of Versailles and the crazy wickedness of the court - only to gamble for what she and Sophie need. Yet she is enchanting and enchanted - captured by the hunger of the magic, fascinated by the glamour of the court, propelled on by the wit and intrigue of those she meets and their pretty and petty, sometimes dangerous, liaisons. As the Baroness de la Fontaine she navigates this world at first nervously and then at ease, with an appetite she can’t quite believe of herself. Being the Baroness takes its toll though, and the more she lives this double life, the greater the curse of the powerful magic, draining her of vitality and leading her towards a dark tunnel of sacrifice and dangerous individuals. All are not who they seem. In the world of Camille, life isn’t straightforward either. A chance encounter with a group of young men - balloon enthusiasts and amateur scientists - sets her on another course of discovery about herself and her ability to be daring and brave, physically and emotionally. At the centre of this world is Lazare, the reluctant aristocrat and charming (and good-looking) aeronaut - both accepted into the upper-class circles by dint of birth and his powerful fathe,r and looked down upon for his difference - his part-Indian heritage. Camille is both drawn to him yet perplexed by him and her new-found emotions. How can she trust anyone and be truthful, when her life is so complicated? Can she control the magic or will the magic dominate her? This teen novel is filled to the brim with history, intrigue, danger, friends and enemies, love and deceit. Highly enjoyable and charmingly compelling.  

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