Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Blog Tour: Enchantée by Gita Trelease - Review and Author Q&A

Enchantée by Gita Trelease

Publishing Date: February 5, 2019
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Pages: 464
Young Adult Historical Fantasy

The Premise from the Publisher: "Paris is a labyrinth of twisted streets filled with beggars and thieves, revolutionaries and magicians. Camille Durbonne is one of them. She wishes she weren't... When smallpox kills her parents, Camille must find a way to provide for her younger sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on magic, Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy food and medicine they need. But when the coins won't hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family's savings, Camille pursues a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Using dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into a baroness and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for magic. As she struggles to reconcile her resentment of the rich with the allure of glamour and excess, Camille meets a handsome young inventor, and begins to believe that love and liberty may both be possible. But magic has its costs, and soon Camille loses control of her secrets. And when revolution erupts, Camille must choose-love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, reality of magic-before Paris burns" (Flatiron)

My overall thoughts and review: I've had a fascination with all things France and Parisian related for as long as I can remember. It's been years since I've been to Paris, but that city will always hold a special place in my heart. There's just something so fascinating about the time of Marie Antoinette and the french court that has always intrigued me. My favorite movie is even Marie Antoinette. I was over the moon excited when I first heard about the premise of this book. This was exactly what I wanted in a book and when I finally finished it, I was over the moon impressed and this definitely goes down as one of my favorite YA reads of 2019 (and we are only in the beginning of the year)!

The story follows Camille, who is struggling to find a way to make ends meet, with a younger sister who isn't well, and an older brother, who gambles away most of their money. Her family has always dabbled a bit in la magie, which is magic that was once incredibly popular at the court of Louis, the Sun King, but now a taboo topic. She turns scraps of metal into coins, but she finds that she needs to do more when her brother threatens the safety of her and her sister, Sophie. She finds an enchanted object among her mother's possessions, and is able to glamour herself to look like an aristocrat. From there, Camille has the plan to disguise herself as a widow, and to play cards at court to earn some money. However, the cost of practicing la magie like that is that it requires real blood and sorrow, so it's quite draining on Camille physically. There she finds herself dealing with when to stop using la magie, and seeing the reality of what it's doing to her and her relationships. I just really liked Camille as a character because she was so strong but also you could really see her struggle with her class, and the pressure she felt to provide for her and Sophie. There's moments where she struggles with her identity and I feel like reading something like that can really translate to today's readers even. We attempt to fit in with certain clothes, makeup, etc, and at times, it can become unclear where the "real" you begins and ends. Camille was incredibly relatable as a character, and you'll find yourself just rooting for her and hoping for a good outcome for her.

To keep this to the point and without spoilers, Camille finds herself actually building a little friendship group at Versailles which was great to see (I loved Chandon!), and the romance is quite lovely in the book too. You also really see the strength in the bond between the two sisters and that was great to see. Lastly, I loved seeing Versailles as the backdrop because I honestly loved going there so much. It's definitely my favorite place to see in France. There's a lot of growth for the characters, twists and turns in terms of plot, and a bit of history about la magie which was nice to tie it all together. This book was like the perfect blend of historical fiction with elements of fantasy and magic. I loved this book and it was a wonderful standalone by Trelease. I can't wait to see what else she writes next. If you loved Caraval by Stephanie Garber, you will definitely enjoy this one!

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ - 5/5 stars

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon, and Book Depository

Author Question and Answer
Q: Can you tell us a bit about the title and why you chose it? And can you tell us some places in Paris that inspired your text? 
A: I knew I wanted a French title for the book, and I love one-word titles, even though they can be hard to come up with! In French, “Enchantée” means “Enchanted.” It’s also something people say when they’re first introduced; in English, I could say, “Pleased to meet you,” but in French I’d say, “Enchantée.” (Sometimes in old movies you’ll hear people say, “Charmed, I’m sure,” which is similar.) Enchantée felt like the perfect title because my protagonist, Camille, has to be introduced into the very strange and etiquette-bound world of the French court. She also becomes enchanted by that world against her will. Camille’s also a magician, so she has to work her own kinds of enchantments. As a title, Enchantée just seemed rich with possibilities!

Paris is my favorite city. I placed Camille’s apartment just north of where I once lived in the Marais district, when I was teaching English in Paris. Camille visits the Place des Vosges, a beautiful square built in the seventeenth century, when it was the most fashionable place to live; the grand mansions of the Marais (some of which now house the Picasso Museum and the Musée Carnavalet), and the cathedral of Notre-Dame. One of the things I love about Paris is that many of these places remain virtually unchanged since 1789.
Thank you so much for dropping by the blog today, Gita!! :D 

Don't forget to swing by the other blogs for more content from Trelease and to check out their reviews! :D 

Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by Raincoast Books for participation in the book tour. All opinions of the book are my own.

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