Enchantée by Gita Trelease
ARC received through Netgalley for a fair review.
Publish Date: February 5, 2019
I don’t know what’s come over me lately but I have really been enjoying the occasional historical fiction book! First I was blown away by Stalking Jack the Ripper and its sequels last year, and now I’m falling in love with a man in a hot air balloon in France! Having a French last name, and French heritage I took it upon myself in college to study French as my minor. I have used said minor a total of pretty much zero times since finishing college and so needless today my French is a little rusty. This book was like a walk down memory lane, I was brushing up on my terms right and left. It was actually really a fun experience trying to figure out what I could remember correctly and looking them up in the glossary in the back of the book to see if I was right. I can see where this would get a little annoying for the non French speaking reader though, because the French writing was everywhere throughout the book.
Aside from the language in the book the time and the setting were perfect for the atmosphere. Set in Paris in 1789 this book follows the story of a young girl named Camille who is trying to get by on small magic tricks that turn scrap metal into coins so she can pay for a meager meal to share with her siblings. Her parents are dead from smallpox and they are barely surviving. Her brother is a gambling addict who has sold almost all of their belongings and still continues to lose what he doesn’t even have. Her sister is recovering from her own illness and Camille doesn’t want her out on the streets working until she knows shes healthy enough. Life is tough and when Camille sees a flying balloon with two young men aboard about to crash, she doesn’t think twice to run to their rescue. What does she have to lose?
Along the way throughout this book we learn that magic and power have a strong allure and once you are in its hard to get back out again. Why would you want to go back to being powerless when you have felt all that it can do? Even if its hurting you, but saving all of those you love? What would you do to make sure your siblings are safe and healthy? What would you give up? When Camille is faced with these questions she knows the right path to take but its harder than it seems because not only did she find power among the magic, but friends and maybe even love. By getting out there and trying new things she found passion in things she never thought she would do, like flying in a hot air balloon, and playing hide and seek with friends. She discovers a life out there that she couldn’t otherwise have if she didn’t use the powerful magic that her mother warned her about. But even though it comes with a price, Camille thinks that she can handle it even when it starts to take its toll on her life.
The only complaint I would have while reading this is that it does sometimes get a little slow. This is usually the case when I read historical fiction though, which is why I tend to lean towards other genres of books. Even though it was enough to notice that it does tend to slow and get bogged down with lots of descriptions of the lavish scenery, it has its purpose and in the end it wasn’t enough to take away from the story. It picks back up quickly and I was able to keep my attention on the book and ended up enjoying it quite a bit.
By the end of the book everything wraps up well, It was a stand alone book so there won’t be any sequels and that’s okay because I think the story wrapped up completely without any loose ends. It was neat to see how the real parts of history fit in with the magical story being told in a way that the whole story felt real. I could possibly be convinced that it really was a bit of magic and a love story that got the first hot air balloon in the air in Paris all those years ago. Just the other day I saw a photo in a restaurant of all the history of flight, and on the poster there was the same hot air balloon flown by a man named Rozier and created by the Montgolfier brothers, which is mentioned quite a bit in the book. It was neat to see what I read about and see it is real but the flare that this book put to the real story was so well done that it made it seem like I knew secrets about history that no one else knew. I’m starting to finally realize why historical fiction can be so fun to read sometimes and its books like this that make that happen. I really enjoyed this and I hope you all do too!
If you liked this book:
When reading Enchantee there were so many times when I got the same feelings I did while reading Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody. I think it was the atmosphere in both with the card games and the gambling with a hint of magic involved. They both had a very similar vibe and for that reason I think that Ace of Shades is the perfect follow up for Enchantee.
Do you have a genre of books that you tend to steer clear of? What is your least favorite genre? Whats your most favorite? Do you have any favorite historical fictions that you would suggest I give a try? Let me know!