Enchantee by Gita Trelease

cover image

Macmillan, 2019. ISBN: 9781509895977.
(Age: Young adult) Recommended. 8.5/10. Themes: Young Adult - Fantasy, Romance, France and Paris 1789. An exciting fantasy tale where the illustriously rich King Louis XVI, Marie Antoniette and the image conscious aristocrats living in their palaces or the inner courts of Versailles, are starkly presented against the diminished poor peasants and their hovels. Arrogance and disregard for humankind is contrasted against courage, persistence, fortitude and devotion to the well-being of loved ones.
Orphaned seventeen year-old Camille strives to care for her frail younger sister Sophie while learning to move away from an older, abusive brother Alain, addicted to glamour, money and position. So poor and desperate, Camille resorts to her limited knowledge of inherited maternal 'magic' (Magie - dark margic) in order to make money. After some surprises about her past and her abilities, Camille learns that the magie will offer hope of a future of security in terms of food, housing, health and safety. However, with this lure, Camille begins to pursue grander schemes for herself and her sister. Is she fast becoming addicted to gambling, like her desperate brother? Is she quickly becoming addicted to magic as she slowly loses herself?
Amongst all of this, Camille makes friends with aristocrats (a group of people who she resents). Camille finds unexpected romantic love, but is he attracted to the-true-to-herself Camille, or to her alter ego the Baroness de La Fontaine? Double identities exist and will slowly be exposed.
HOPE - is presented to her in the form of a new invention devised by a small group of forward thinking gentlemen - to fly and be free. Hope was instilled in Camille by her father who was a printer. He taught her about the importance of freedom of the press. She learnt the value of the word in print - 'It was a kind of magic. A magic to alter the World'. This hope is what France needs in order to bring about change, revolution - to begin to balance the massive divide between the rich and the poor, between those with positions and the common people.
Enchantee is a wonderful debut historical fantasy novel by Gita Trelease (who states that she is searching for a secret portal to take her back to Versailles). This novel has so many messages for readers who are looking for a story which enlightens while providing page-turning entertainment.
Maria Burford