Berry, Julie The Amaranth Enchantment
Bloomsbury see St. Martins 2009 306p 16.99 978-1-59990-334-7 ms/hs
In this unusual adaptation of a Cinderella tale, Lucinda must combat the vagaries of fate to regain her place in life. The author mixes adventure, political intrigues, a magical background, and a little romance into this very well done book.In this unusual adaptation of a Cinderella tale, Lucinda lost her wealthy parents in an accident when she was five and was forced to work in the jewelry shop of her uncle and his miserly wife. One day, all sorts of mysterious events occur. She is behind the showcase when a beautiful woman, Beryl, comes into the shop to have an enormous gem reset and leaves the magical gem with Lucinda. Shortly thereafter, the Crown Prince comes to buy a gift for his betrothed and, finally, a young pickpocket cajoles her into protecting him and rewards her by making off with the jewel. Upon the death of her uncle, she is thrown out into the street, picks up a most unusual and protective goat that seems to think that it is a dog, and makes her way to her old home to discover Beryl in residence. Beryl takes her under her protection and Lucinda’s life brightens until evil rears its ugly head once again.
This engaging fantasy is not a simple retelling of a fairy tale but a sprightly written and exciting adventure. It offers both magical and suspenseful action in a well-paced plot and with engaging characters. The story is rich and interesting, the locations are beautifully rendered, and the characters are very three-dimensional. They come from different places in society and have different points of view but seamlessly join together to help each other. The author mixes adventure, political intrigues, a magical background, and a little romance into this very well done book. SO