Julie Berry grew up in western New York, and now lives in eastern Massachusetts with her husband and four young sons. Her first novel, The Amaranth Enchantment (2009, Bloomsbury) was a Junior Library Guild Selection and an IndieBound Next Top Ten Pick; her second novel, Secondhand Charm, releases October 12, 2010 from Bloomsbury. She is [...]
In Julie Berry's The Amaranth Enchantment, orphan Lucinda is dressed for the ball in Cinderella-like fashion by her fairy godmother Beryl. When Lucinda finally sees herself in the mirror, it is as if she is seeing someone other than herself. "[Someone] like a princess." But when Lucinda stands up from the dressing table, she trips [...]
Elizabeth Steward Dunford begins her guest post with: "My mother told me never to read anyone else’s diary. Is that why all the diaries I coveted growing up came adorned with a miniature lock and key? To ward off all those who didn’t observe social protocol? Ashamedly, I have found myself in this category at times. (I have older sisters). So, when an opportunity to research Charlotte Brontë’s diary arose, my childhood impulse was to call my mom and ask if she thought Brontë would mind.
At a recent meeting of a Boston-based salon-style women’s group, the discussion leader, Kimberly Carlile, posed these questions, following a conversation on the transformative power of literature in our lives. Can we see our lives as stories, and ourselves as protagonists? If so, are we flat characters, or round? In fiction we’re fascinated by characters who, like real people, are flawed, unpredictable, conflicted, self-deceived, smart yet irrational, courageous yet fragile, prudent yet occasionally reckless, irresponsible yet sometimes noble, righteous yet privately naughty. Books I love best confront and embrace their characters’ roundness. The author’s empathy for, amusement at, and delight in their little cast of loonies shines through on every page.
The Amaranth Enchantment will be available on March 3. My 'I' loved Julie Berry's debut novel; the heroine, Lucinda Chapdelaine, embarks on a feminine hero's journey. She connects to and cares for others AND she gets the guy. I'm going to the book kick-off party on March 5 -- would you like to join me?