Enchantée by Gita Trelease
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: February 5th, 2019
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Magic, Family, Romance
Let me just take a quick second here to say that I finished four novels this weekend. It feels like I’m binge-reading (so you know it won’t last), because I only recently got back into reading fiction so it’s like my subconscious (and body overall) is trying to make up for the ‘‘lost time.’’ That said, if this book had been awful, I would not have forced myself to read it. My experience reading it may be a little different than an Anglophone’s experience because I went to a Francophone school and we looked at the French Revolution again and again and again. I also studied Marie Antoinette in my Art History classes, which helped humanize her in my eyes, because her family portraits showed her love for her children.
So I expected to understand this historical world well, regardless of the magic thrown in. I had no qualms with the world at all (thank God because after finishing The Gilded Wolves I could not have welcomed more confusion in that department). On the contrary, I enjoyed immensely the author’s descriptions of places. She writes beautifully—lushly. I would take a class in writing with her, that’s how much I think she can make it as a bestselling author. I do, sadly, believe that she should work on dialog and reactions better. Camille was lovely, and the way she cared for her sister Sophie touched my heart, but every single character in this book is so… dramatic. At times, this is entertaining because it means scenes are not DULL, but it’s a hard story to take seriously. This is unfortunate as Camille is often in precarious situations and yet… I never really feared for her life. A satisfying story in certain ways, but still a work-in-progress in others.
Q & A with Author
Q: Is there a specific scene you really wanted to be included in the story but removed upon reconsideration?
A: Yes! When I was revising with my editor, I wrote a scene in which my characters are drifting idly in rowboats, following a stream that meanders through the gardens of Versailles. It’s midnight, the silvery moon is out, and my protagonist Camille is in grave danger of having her disguise seen through—and of falling in love. It was such a fun scene to write because the water and the boats made for close quarters and lots of potential mishaps, but in the end, it didn’t really advance the story as much as I’d hoped. Oh well! Still, I was able to use tiny pieces from that scene elsewhere in the story.
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