Blurb (as on Goodreads):
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…
Here is a book that is French at its very core. Enchantée takes us to Paris- during the time of Louis XVI (1789). Camille Durbonne has magic running through her veins. She is constantly being weighed down by raising her younger sister Sophie- still recovering from smallpox and brother Alain- an alcoholic who couldn’t handle the sadness his family was pushed into, after their parent’s death.
Camille turns nails into gold coins to feed her family and to pay Alain’s debts, but that isn’t enough because she can’t keep the coins from changing to its true shape after a while. Camille’s magic feeds on pain and blood, but she never seems to enough of those, even when on days the pain to keep her family afloat is beyond her tolerance.
One day when Alain threatens to kill her, Camille decides to cast a form of dark, forbidden magic that will eat her away in the process. She turns into a Baroness and enters the deceptive world of the royals. She plays cards and makes friends, but the court has another deception going on, one that is bigger than anything Camille could fathom.
Camille also meets a charming, reliable and trustworthy balloonist (and more, obviously). This is a book that brings together magic, treachery, love, and friendship in a dramatic, royal, and thrilling manner.
The historical part about Enchantee however, takes a back seat most of the times and is mostly a character-driven story. There are instances from the history that we see throughout the story but Camille (a commoner) is the center of it all, the story from her perspective. The characters are well written, and it was so much fun to know them and follow their deeds and deceptions. What I missed was certainly more information on the events of historical significance. Camille’s relationship with her siblings and the members of the court is notable and extremely amusing.