[Review] The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
Published: 3 March 2009
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Edition: U.S. Hardback
Summary: “When Lucinda Chapdelaine was a small child, her parents left for the royal ball and never returned. Ever since, Lucinda has been stuck in perpetual servitude at her evil aunt’s jewelry store. Then, on the very same day, a mysterious visitor and an even more bizarre piece of jewelry both enter the shop, setting in motion a string of twists and turns that will forever alter Lucinda’s path. In this magical story filled with delightful surprises, Lucinda will dance at the royal ball, fall under the Amaranth Witch’s spell, avenge her parents’ death, and maybe—just maybe—capture the heart of a prince.”
This gorgeous little book was probably on the younger end of YA, but sometimes you just need simpler books to remind you why young adult literature is so fascinating. Lucinda, a child who has been left with her uncle by marriage’s wife, is eager to escape her jail and find something meaningful to do with her life. When she meets the Prince of the land everything changes.
While it was obvious that this book was a retelling of Cinderella, it was an intriguing twist on what we normally see in fairytale retellings. The evil that we expect to always remain evil turns out to be the result of evil being done to them, thus perpetuating evil. I won’t get into the details, since the book is quite simple and giving away anything would ruin the entire experience of reading it, I shall say that the messages conveyed in this book would make great reading for preteens to start getting into the heavier, more emotionally charged YA fiction.
This book was written as a standalone but I hope that the author considers writing a companion book so that we might learn more about the life of the witch, from her perspective. In fact, it seemed that the real story lay with her character rather than with Lucinda who was almost like a secondary character when we discover the witch’s secret.
Just like a fairytale, romance plays a large part in this book, and I’ll admit to reading this with great rapture when the Prince and Lucinda get off on the wrong foot, and keep missing each other’s cues, as in any good heart-wrenching romance. This book probably won’t appeal to boys, and given the rather feminine cover photo/illustration it wouldn’t surprise me if this was the publisher’s intention.
The Amaranth Enchantment was a delightful first novel that I greatly enjoyed, and hope that many young girls give it a chance so that they too can be swept away into a world of Princes and life changing events.