by Gita Trelease
Review by Bronwyn Eley
Bienvenue à Paris! But not just any Paris – this is a strange and wondrous time. Paris 1789. Twisted streets and twisted minds. The court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette… and the bejewelled playthings inside this illustrious palace.
Enchantée revolves strongly around love – love for one’s family, love for oneself and love for strangers. Our protagonist is seventeen-year-old Camille who, after the death of her parents, takes up the role of carer and peace-keeper to her remaining family: sweet and sickly Sophie, and volatile and abusive Alain.
What I love about Camille is that she is both brave and reckless, selfish and selfless. At first, she is completely selfless. Using la magie (dark magic taught to her by her mother) in order to provide for her family and sacrificing her own morals and beliefs in order to do so. As things progress, and Camille starts to use her magic for grander schemes, the selflessness leeches away and what is left is anything but simple: an addict.
Having banished her drunkard brother (bravo, I say!), Camille begins to reflect the very same qualities that she so despised in her brother. Camille transforms herself with magic to resemble the fine and beautiful Baroness de la Fontaine – a disguise grand enough to gain her access to the intimate inner court of Versailles where she gambles in order to grow her wealth and circumstance. Inside she meets both friend and foe alike as her addiction to magic grows alongside her winnings.
It was fascinating to sit back and be privy to a strange world where young men and women – children, in my eyes – were left to their own devices. To gamble, to drink, to play, to scheme. Camille, like the reader, is innocent to all of this. But just like Camille, I found myself constantly drawn to Versailles and wondering what was going on inside.
In stark contrast to the glittering palace of Versailles, Camille strikes up a confusing relationship with a young man with his head in the clouds. Lazare is beautiful, charming and ambitious. His obsession with hot air balloons is almost endearing, as he funnels his life, wealth and time into his project. The moments she spends with him and the balloon were a breath of fresh air, a welcome reprieve from the false and fast-paced Versailles.
I completely and utterly fell into this world created by author Gita Trelease. Enchantée is absolutely enchanting and I dare you not to fall in love with it.