Enchantée by Gita Trelease

 

Title: Enchantée

Author: Gita Trelease

Pages: 459

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Published: 2019

Source: ARC (Gifted by MyKindaBook, thanks!)

Rating: ★★★★


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…


I have been wanting to read Enchantée since I first heard of it and it was pretty much everything I had hoped for. It had magic, the glamour of court (or should I say, glamoire), a Parisian setting and a lovely romance. It also had a feature of Marie Antoinette, although she didn’t pop up very often.

The plot of Enchantée is simple to follow. Camille, her sister Sophie and brother Alain are orphans who are trying to survive. Camille is the only one of her family that is able to work la magie and so, in order to make money, she goes to Versailles to help her family out. There, she comes across trouble.

Camille is our main character who is very focussed on doing anything to ensure that neither herself or her sister, Sophie, fall into poverty and face a worse fate. Camille definitely grows in this book as she has to deal with her alcoholic and gambling brother Alain, but also the threat of being found out that she can work magic to her will at Versailles. Camille essentially lives a double life throughout this book, but as her confidence grows thanks to the ‘fake’ life she’s living, this affects her attitude throughout the book on both sides.

During Enchantee, we see the introduction of other characters including Lazare who is working on a hot air balloon with Rosier and Armand. Lazare is a character who is trying to hide his roots but needs to use his connections at the same time to aid him in his work. He is a fairly significant character in this book. Armand is a character who felt a little unnecessary as he didn’t really take to Camille and there was no real reason why. Rosier was a very happy character who was a whirlwind of positivity on the page.

Whilst Camille is living her double life at Versailles, she meets Chandon and Aurelie, two characters who turn out to be great friends to Camille. With the introduction of these two characters, I feel like this changed Camille’s attitude towards the elite class of society as at first, she sort of resents the upper classes but throughout the book, her outlook on the upper classes changes.

This book was set in Paris and Versailles. I enjoyed seeing the contrast between the two, particularly as I felt that they helped to separate between Camille’s real life and her fantasy life. I think that this helped to show the contrast between how the rich and poor lived in France at this time. I also think that this lent to the fact that it felt like there were almost two stories that were running side by side.

I enjoyed the magical element in this book and it was quite important to the plot and to Camille and her character development. As magic is essentially forbidden and Camille is forced to hide her abilities, this reminded me a little of the witch hunts that had taken place in Europe.

I was expecting to see more of the planning of the French Revolution and more of Marie Antoinette, but I don’t think this particularly made me rate the book any differently but I do think that it may have added to the book. I just felt that I went into the book expecting something slightly different but nevertheless, I still enjoyed Enchantee.

I thought the writing in this one was good. It was a good pace and I didn’t feel myself losing interest at all. I will admit that during the first 100-150 pages, I felt the pace was slow but it did pick up and flowed really nicely afterwards. The chapters were also a nice length – I personally find books with longer chapters slower to read but the chapters in this were a good length.

Final thoughts?

I would absolutely recommend this book! If you’re looking for a book full of magic, mystery set in the city of Paris with the glamoire of Versaille, look no further than this! I thought that Enchantee was a wonderful addition to the historical YA genre and I look forward to seeing what Gita writes next.

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

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Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

Author: Mackenzi Lee

Pages: 501

Publisher: Katherine Tiegen Books (Harper in UK)

Published: 2017

Source: Bought

Rating: ★★★★


Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.


A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue has been on my TBR list pretty much ever since its release into the wild (aka the book community). I’ve heard so many great things about this book and seen so much praise surrounding it since its release and so in September, I decided it was about time I picked it up.

Having been on a ‘tour’ of Europe myself in Summer 2017, I was quite excited to explore the topic of a European tour in a more historic setting. I was happy to see that a map had been included featuring the tour stops and felt that this was a good addition to the book.

The plot was an interesting one. I can easily see how people who have read this previously have got caught up in it. The Gentleman’s Guide follows Monty, Percy and Felicity as the take a tour through Europe that goes a liiiiittle bit wrong, thanks to Monty!

Henry ‘Monty’ Montague is our main character and at first, I found myself getting a little frustrated with him even though I did find him to be quite funny. I found myself getting frustrated with him because I felt that he thought about himself a lot and didn’t consider others at times. I think that this changed throughout the book and we saw some good character development with him. I could sympathise with his want to be young and to his true self without his family’s reputation hanging over his head constantly.

Percy is Monty’s best friend who goes on the tour as Monty’s companion. They have a close relationship which is demonstrated throughout the book. Percy’s character is a likeable one that I enjoyed reading about.

Felicity was a good side character with some witty remarks and with a skill for medicine. I liked Felicity’s character in this one and look forward to hearing her story in the sequel, The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy.

I thought that the ending of The Gentleman’s Guide was a good close to the book and was quite satisfying.

Although it took me a while to read this book ( I think it was something like 1-2 months), that doesn’t reflect how I felt about this book as I did enjoy it and thought it was a good historical read. It had a good combination of some humour but also some seriousness in it.

I’m glad that I’ve finally read The Gentleman’s Guide even if it did take me a while to get to it. I’m looking forward to reading The Lady’s Guide soon, although I have seen some not so good feedback which is sad seeing as so many people enjoyed The Gentleman’s Guide!

If you’re looking for a diverse, historical read, I would definitely recommend this one!

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

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Title: The Witch of Willow Hall

Author: Hester Fox

Pages: 384

Publisher: Harlequin

Published: 2018

Source: ARC (Nabbed at YALC, thanks HQYA!)

Rating: ★★★


Years after the Salem witch trials one witch remains. She just doesn’t know it… yet.

Growing up Lydia Montrose knew she was descended from the legendary witches of Salem but was warned to never show the world what she could do and so slowly forgot her legacy. But Willow Hall has awoken something inside her…

1821: Having fled family scandal in Boston Willow Hall seems an idyllic refuge from the world, especially when Lydia meets the previous owner of the house, John Barrett.

But a subtle menace haunts the grounds of Willow Hall, with strange voices and ghostly apparitions in the night, calling to Lydia’s secret inheritance and leading to a greater tragedy than she could ever imagine.

Can Lydia confront her inner witch and harness her powers or is it too late to save herself and her family from the deadly fate of Willow Hall?


I was one of the very lucky few to nab a copy of this at YALC in July. There were 20-25 copies available and I managed to just get into the queue before it got cut off. I had heard little about this book prior to YALC and I’ve seen barely any talk about it in the community but I think I like that. Sometimes it’s really nice to read a book with little to no hype surrounding it with only the synopsis to go on.

Trigger Warning for this book: Incest

The book follows Lydia as she adjusts to the move to Willow Hall following a scandal that forced her family to move away from Boston. This book was a little creepy at times. It had ghosts and witchcraft, making it a great read for Halloween. I found it especially creepy when the ghosts came up as I’m not the biggest fan of ghosts despite not really believing in them.

I thought Lydia was a good character to follow. She was mostly unaware of her abilities, knowing she had a strange gift but not knowing exactly what it was. I felt that I could sympathise with her at times and I understood her frustrations. I liked her younger sister but Lydia’s older sibling, Catherine frustrated me. Her sister acted as though she was all righteous and there was definitely some sibling rivalry between her and Lydia. It did make sense later on in the book once things were revealed by the rivalry still remained.

There was the addition of two males characters, including the mysterious Mr John Barrett who Lydia almost immediately takes a fancy too. He is a good character but he’s also wary.

There was a hint of mystery in this book which went along with the Witchcraft and Ghostly sightings. The mystery being the truth of Willow Hall and what happened on the site that it stands on. I was really intrigued to find out why Willow Hall was haunted but all my questions were answered in this book.

Marriage was a prominent theme on this book with Catherine trying to find a suitor and Lydia’s hand is trying to be won again by an annoying side character. It should be noted that there is the mention of incest in this book.

I had this book on my Halloween Reads list having only read a little bit of it at that point, but I’m glad that I added it on to my list now as I think it’s a great debut that’s perfect for Halloween. I would most definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a creepy read this Autumn.