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. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.
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…
Magical, historical, romantic. Seriously, this book had it all for me. Gita Trelease managed to take me to a Paris I could have never imagined. The magic is beautiful and intriguing, as is the setting.
The writing itself is reflective of Paris and the Parisian lifestyle; it is eloquent, raw, elegant and sophisticated. Each description of the setting allowed me to step into the streets of Paris and experience the world Camille does everyday.
The descriptions were tantilising and vivid, yet not too descriptive. One of my favourite descriptions was when I could actually taste the sweet air, ‘The warm air in the small rose and cream striped shop tasted like sugar.’ I look forward to reading more from Gita Trelease, to truly experience whatever world she takes me, as the reader, to next.
Camille Durbonne lives with her sister and brother. Her brother becomes addicted to gambling and drinking, becoming unrecognisable and violent. The underlying issues in this novel were emotional and thought provoking. Camille achieves what she sets out to do, finding a way out of the slums of Paris. She struggles to find her true self as she takes on the role of Baronness and uses her magic to gain a life, better than which they had. Without a mother and father, the girls must survive together and their courage and bond is strong. I loved the characters and particularly the romance that grows between Camille and the balloonist, who she meets as she courageously saves him. I wanted to ride in the hot air balloon. How romantic!
I haven’t read a fictional book in this time period before, so I was interested to read about the characters during the French Revolution. I also loved the historical facts at the back of the novel. Usually I find myself researching the time period after reading a novel of interesting historical significance. This was a nice addition to the book.
Overall, I would highly recommend Enchantee. The author writes in such a unique style that it is a portrait of the setting. If you love historical fiction, I would suggest reading this, as everyone needs a little magic in their lives at some point.