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Gita Trelease
Macmillan Children's Books
ISBN: 9781509895977

This is a delightful, historical fantasy novel for first time author Gita Trelease. Her wonderful writing takes you back to the beginnings of the French Revolution in France. Where with each turn of the page you get more involved with twists and the turns of the plot that involve the main character, Camille Durbonne.

17-year-old Camille is struggling to survive life in Paris, due to the death of her parents from small pox. She has a younger sister, Sophie, to take care of but Sophie is unwell; alongside this, the money that they do earn is stolen by their older brother who is a gambler and a drunk. Camille has to turn to a skill that her mother taught her from a young age...magic. She is able to turn objects from metal to coins, and later learns she can also turn the numbers on playing cards. This leads her, after her brother physically abuses her, to open 'the burnt chest' that her mother told her was dangerous. She takes out the contents that will help change her life and her sisters, but not without consequences!

At times the pacing of this novel was a little slow as there is a strong focus on the atmosphere within the story. The court life of the wealthy/royalty has an in-depth description so that the reader can get involved in all its intricacies and political intrigue. As a reader you get such a sense of the great divide between the nobility and the poor of Paris; you can almost feel the sorrow of the people as they are completely disregarded by the wealthy.

I don't want to say much more, but alongside all the drama there is a romance behind the scenes that gives the reader relief from the tension of the real plot.

There are mentions of physical and sexual abuse, but nothing in detail that would make the story inappropriate. In my opinion they actually help make it realistic, due to the era that the story is set in.

Enchantee has 452 pages that are suitable for the 13+ confident reader. It would also be great for book clubs as there are many discussion points. At the back of the book the author has added a glossary of some of the french terms that are used and some historical notes on some of the true events and people that she has cleverly entwined her story around. I believe that there is going to be a follow-up, if so I will be eager to read it to see how these characters evolve.

480 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Linda Brown, school librarian


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