Updated: Feb 27
“In the end, who can say which way is the right and which way is the wrong, as long as one of them leads to happiness?”
Enchantée by Gita Trelease, depicts the tale of three siblings living in the Marie Antoinette era. Two sisters and a brother trying to survive poverty without their deceased parents there to assist them. The story follows the eldest of the girls, Camille Durbonne who literally sacrifices her blood, sweat, and tears to provide for her younger sister who suffers an unknown illness. All the while trying to keep what little she gains from her drunkard brother. Eventually, she realizes she needs to do more if she ever wants her and her sister to sustain the comfortable life they always dreamed they would have. This prompts her to utilize dark magic and weaving herself into the intense game of Court.
Camille often comes off as naive and oblivious despite being older than her sister, she continues to follow many of the same paths despite knowing it will lead her nowhere enjoyable. This is particularly seen when you read the scenes between Camille and her brother. I do not want to spoil how their relationship is by the end of the book, because there are some surprises. However, at the beginning of the book, he is absolutely deplorable. He continues to take and take and take until they have little to their name. Yet, she continues to allow them to go through it. I understand she eventually changes this, but looking at the way this book is written, this has gone on for quite some time. Why did she wait so long to halt her feet on this downward path? Is what I am constantly questioning when reading. Not only that, but the enemy in this book was so very obvious about his reasons and yet she could not see them. In a way, I guess I can understand why she might not have seen him coming a mile away, you have to remember she is still young and had never dealt with people of the Court before. That is why I was never really getting upset when I felt like she should understand something that I understood. With that being said, I adored her so much. She is brilliant, resilient, creative, and sincere. I rarely find characters that I can find sincere, especially people who are using dark magic to get their way. However, even as she weaves this magic to her benefit, you can tell deep down that she has a good heart. I describe her as the female version of Robin Hood with magic. I encourage you all to read if only to enjoy the personality that is Camille.
Camille had a great dynamic with this new group of friends that she finds herself surrounded by. They were so good that I was honestly concerned for them now-and-then, despite not reading enough scenes that involved them. What I loved most is they were exceptionally well constructed, each conveying something interesting to their scenes. The chemistry with the romantic interest, however, at times felt more friendly than anything else. I hope and feel like there will be more for those two in the future. That this is just the beginning details for the following book.
The world-building was the best part for me; you really experience a sense of what it is like to live in their condition while those who reign over you have more than they need. As a woman who lives in a world where the wealthy are above the rest of us, it is very easy to relate to this. Furthermore, as a lover of period books, this world was everything I could ever want. This book is like a mash-up of the worlds from both Jane Austin and Harry Potter, and I am here for it. The author did a fantastic job of giving insight into this world without taking away from the story, which is extremely hard to do. There were no huge dumps of information or anything that was outright told to us. What I appreciated about her world-building is that while someone of it was told like narration, there was also a showing of it. Therefore, the world for me receives a five by five in my best Faith impression.
The plot of the book was fantastic for me up until the very end. The pacing was so beautiful, but as we neared the last few chapters, it felt like everything was sped up. I couldn't make heads or tails of some things because it wasn't explained well in the rush to complete the book. The enemy of the book is what failed the most for me. I'm all about characters cleverly finding a way to defeat their opponent, but based on everything we discover about this enemy, I find it hard to believe he would allow some of the things that happened to him, to happen. I don't know how to explain it without spoiling it, it just made little sense to me. I still enjoyed the book obviously; I just wish the ending wasn't so rushed or easy.
I have been deliberately taking my time with this book because it's incredibly enjoyable. I gave this book four out of five stars mainly because the ending felt a little rushed and I would have loved having a few extra chapters to conclude the story. Regardless, I enjoyed this book and I would give it a second read. I cannot wait to read the next book. I don't know if it's a continuation of Camille's story or if this is a new story in the same world. I honestly hope it's still Camille's story, I feel like we haven't seen enough of her yet. Some parts of the story were a little predictable, but it's just so eloquently written that I doubt you will care. It has nobles, court, magic, love, betrayal, and everything we love about period books. Enchantée is a well-executed book and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves period or dark fantasy books!