I was lucky enough to get my request of this magical book approved by My Kinda Book, so thanks to them, Amber Ivatt and Pan Macmillan for gifting me a free copy in exchange for an honest review (though I now intend to buy the finished book, as it looks so beautiful).
Enchantée by Gita Trelease:
Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians…
When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles.
But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she’s playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns…
This is one heck of a spell-binding book.
The character work in this book is brilliant.
Camille, our protagonist, is flawed and really develops over the course of the book. She is feisty, intelligent and really relatable. Lazare is such a well-rounded, complex character that’s ultimately kind and charming. In particular, his discussion around being biracial was such an interesting and refreshing addition.
The romance really grew on me as well, with more of a slow burn feeling for me personally. Every character felt well-developed and interesting, especially a prominent side character who is also LGBT+.
There is also a complex and abusive brother-sister dynamic, which is contrasted with the relationship between the two sisters that’s still complicated, but ultimately strong.
The plot itself is compelling and intriguing. The real life events and build-up to the Revolution are woven in and out of the story really well. I felt really invested in the characters and the plot, which was helped by the beautiful descriptions and intriguing setting of Paris. I especially liked Camille’s magic dress and the descriptions around her and its transformation.
As ever, I loved the political intrigue and dastardly deeds going on behind the scenes. I really loved the depiction of addiction and its awful effects, with gambling, drinking and the magic itself.
In short, I loved this entrancing book and I will definitely be picking up the sequel.