Friday, February 10, 2012

The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry

The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry. Bloomsbury, 2009. 306p. (978-1-59990-334-7)

Half way through this book I wasn’t quite sure how much I liked it because of all the theft and deceit. But then I also decided that Peter and Lucinda couldn’t be just anybody and that I most definitely wanted to know who they’d be. By the end I liked this book a whole lot better, although the thievery still bothers me.

Lucinda had been born to a wealthy, loving family, but a tragic accident killed both her parents when she was very young. Now Lucinda is an orphan living with her uncle and step-aunt, although her uncle wasn’t a blood-relative either, he had just been married to her mother’s sister. He is a jeweler but with little business, and the step-aunt is a harsh, unforgiving woman.

Julie Berry brings in elements of Cinderella, but this is not your typical Cinderella story. Sure Lucinda is an orphan and Beryl is a fairy godmother of sorts and she dances with the prince, but the plot isn’t girl-meets-prince-then-happily-ever-after. The plot centers on an unusual gem that a strange and beautiful woman brings into the shop one day. The same day the woman comes, a handsome young man wanting to buy a gift stops by and then a charming rogue (and the city’s best pick pocket) drops in. Literally. And that’s where the trouble starts. And I wish I could tell you more but I hate spoiling any parts of a story for anyone.

It’s a fun book. Amaranth Enchantment is the first book Julie Berry has published. And she does a good job. The characters are interesting – Beryl, especially, has quite the interesting history. I can only think of one instance where the dialogue was a bit stilted and could have used a bit more work. And I wish the treachery of the villain had been dealt with better at the end. My favorite character was Dog, the goat. So loyal and smart! Overall a fun, fairytale-ish story.

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