My ‘I' loved Julie Berry's debut novel The Amaranth Enchantment.
The heroine, Lucinda Chapdelaine, embarks on a feminine hero's journey; she connects to and cares for others AND she gets the guy.
Because Julie's my friend, you could argue I'm biased.
But here's what three of the industry's most reputable reviewers, including Publisher's Weekly (note the Starred Review from what industry insiders describe as “Coke to Kirkus' Pepsi”), Booklist and Kirkus have said.
Berry's enticing debut novel teems with romance, danger and suspense. Lucinda, a 15-year-old orphan, leads a miserable existence as a servant until she gains possession of an unusual stone belonging to Beryl, a reputed witch. As luck would have it, the gem is stolen and sold to a prince before Lucinda even realizes it is gone. Most of the plot centers on Lucinda's adventures trying to retrieve the stone from the prince, with whom she predictably falls in love. Fantasy buffs will delight in the author's playful use of fairy tale conventions—unlike Cinderella, Lucinda has the good sense to retrieve her lost slipper after attending a ball (“I considered leaving it there, but one footfall in my stocking feet on the cold granite changed my mind”). But the book's main appeal comes from the revelations of many secrets and unexpected twists, including the truth about Beryl. Lucinda has to work harder than most such heroines to acquire her happily-ever-after ending, but her efforts eventually pay off, while leaving readers with enough unanswered questions to set imaginations spinning. Ages 10–14. (Publisher's Weekly)
“Intriguing characters, fine plotting, and a richly worked narrative.”
“A lively, quick, stylish, engaging first novel.” (Kirkus Reviews)
My 8 year-old, Miranda, and I loved the book-signing; and at the book signing we attended, the young girls were riveted, accounting for nearly all the questions asked. Miranda and I are reading the book together for a Mother-Daughter book club that we're in; Miranda is also lobbying to have Julie Berry come speak at her school.
When you get a moment, will you go to www.julieberrybooks.com and tell Julie ‘Atta Girl'?