Find your next favorite book

Become a member today and read free for 30 days
The Amaranth Enchantment

The Amaranth Enchantment

Read preview

The Amaranth Enchantment

ratings:
3.5/5 (40 ratings)
Length:
278 pages
3 hours
Released:
Sep 1, 2010
ISBN:
9781599905754
Format:
Book

Description

When a mysterious piece of jewelry and a strange visitor arrive in the jewelry shop where she works for her evil aunt, Lucinda's course takes a surprising turn. With the help of the Amaranth Witch, a young (and harmless) con-artist, and a prince, Lucinda uncovers secrets about her own royal past. A strong seller in hardcover, this original fairytale marks an exciting debut from a lyrical new voice

Released:
Sep 1, 2010
ISBN:
9781599905754
Format:
Book

About the author

Julie Berry grew up on a farm in western New York as the youngest of a family of seven book-loving kids. She now lives in eastern Massachusetts with her husband, four young sons, and two cats. She is the author of six critically acclaimed books for young readers. All the Truth That’s in Me is her first novel for teens and adults. Visit her at julieberrybooks.com


Related to The Amaranth Enchantment


Inside the book

Top quotes

  • There was more to his eyes than sparklesomething pure and hopeful, like a boy picking flowers for his mother. It made me trust her. It made me trust him right down to my toenails.

  • Underneath his broad-brimmed hat, his features were so noble and fine, he looked like héd swallowed the sun for breakfast.

  • Aunt closed the distance between us in two steps and clouted my ears.

  • He clamped his jaw shut, and an iron look crossed his face.

  • Aunt’s gracious-for-customers face curdled. She blinked rapidly.

Book Preview

The Amaranth Enchantment - Julie Berry

THE Amaranth

ENCHANTMENT

For Jack, for Plum,

and always,

for Phil

Table of Contents

Amaranth

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Epilogue

Acknowledgments

Praise for the Amaranth Enchantment

Amaranth

Immortal amarant, a flower which once

In Paradise, fast by the tree of life,

Began to bloom; but soon for man’s offence

To Heaven removed, where first it grew, there grows,

And flowers aloft shading the fount of life,

And where the river of bliss through midst of Heaven

Rolls o’er Elysian flowers her amber stream;

With these that never fade the Spirits elect

Bind their resplendent locks.

—Milton, Paradise Lost, iii, 353–361

Prologue

I sit on a velvet stool at Mama’s feet, watching her brush her hair.

I don’t like brushing my hair. Nurse yanks the snarls, and it hurts. But when Mama brushes hers with slow, smooth strokes, it spills like chocolate over her milk white shoulders.

Nurse wants to put me to bed, but Mama is going to a ball tonight, and she says I can stay up to watch her get ready. I am five years old.

Mama flicks her hair toward me like a horse’s tail. It tickles my face. Anna, her maid, wrestles with her heavy hair the way Cook battles with brown bread dough. I play with Mama’s tin of lilac-scented powder and wait for Anna to finish weaving in strands of tiny pearls.

At last Mama turns to me. Well?

You look like a fairy queen, I say.

She smiles. Then you’re my pixie.

Papa comes in and fastens the clasp of Mama’s necklace. A net of emeralds and gold unfolds at her throat. Papa kisses her neck, then stands back to admire her. Mama brushes the stones with her fingertips.

Someday, Lucinda, she says, these jewels will all be yours.

I already have some, I say, pointing to a gold charm bracelet around my wrist.

They smile, kiss me, and hurry down the hall, warning me to be good for Nurse. Papa, so tall and handsome. Mama, sparkling and trailing perfume.

They leave for the ball.

But they never come back.

Chapter 1

I was sweeping the shop when a glimmer between two floorboards caught my eye. A penny? I knelt for a closer look.

With a fingernail I pried out a grimy length of delicate chain. I rubbed it between my fingers. Gold! I tugged until it popped loose, then moved to the window for better light.

My heart beat faster. Just a short length of kinked chain, broken in the middle. Near the clasp, clotted with dust, was a tiny pendant. I bit my lip and polished the dirt away.

I knew it, even after ten years. A golden rose enameled red. My eyes misted over.

Aunt appeared at my side. What’s that you got there?

I closed my fingers over the bracelet.

It’s mine, I said. From when I was little. I just found it in the floorboards.

She held out a hand. Give it to me.

Oh, why didn’t I think to conceal it from her? It’s mine! My parents gave it to me.

She paid no heed, but pried my fingers apart and snatched the bracelet. She dangled it in front of her nose. I watched, fuming. Could she never let me have something of my own, even something so small as a happy memory?

Shoddy work, she pronounced. I’d have thought your parents could have afforded better. Still, she dropped it into her pocket, it’ll clean up enough to sell when Ernest repairs it.

I knew what would come of it, but I was too angry to care. That bracelet belongs to me, I said. You can’t have it.

Aunt took a step closer.

Listen here, my girl, she said. Nothing belongs to you. This trinket, she patted her pocket, is a tiny payment on all you owe us for your keep. Seems you need a reminder of that.

Next would come the wallop. I braced myself.

The bell on the door jingled, and Aunt froze. In a wink she had on her storefront smile, and the hand that was about to slap me was patting my shoulder. Harder than necessary.

A woman entered the shop. She was tall and slim and dressed in a gray cloak with a hood that hid most of her pale face. The wind swirled around her as she entered, even for a moment after the door shut.

How may I assist you, Madam? Aunt said in her customer voice as she slid back behind the counter. I jabbed at the corner with my broom.

The woman approached Aunt.

I am in somewhat of a hurry. Her speech was refined, with an accent I couldn’t label. I need a new setting for this. She opened her hand.

Aunt sucked in her breath. In spite of myself I edged toward the counter for a better look.

In the woman’s smooth palm lay the largest gem I’d seen in ten years of hovering around Uncle’s goldsmith’s shop. It was perfectly round and smooth, about the size of a walnut, and milky white, though its surface glinted with reflected colors.

People just didn’t bring gems like that into Montescue’s Goldsmithy. Aunt’s eyes bulged.

Is it a pearl? I asked.

The lady turned her gaze my way. She blinked as if startled.

Aunt hissed through her teeth at me, then favored her customer with an oily smile. Pardon our servant, she said, her voice dripping like honey. She’s an ignorant, presumptuous girl who forgets her place.

As if I could forget my miserable place.

The woman studied me up and down. Was I dirty? I brushed off my apron.

I see, she said. She turned to Aunt. Can you create a new setting for this so I may wear it on a chain as before?

Certainly, Aunt said. Although . . . how shall I say . . . this is an unusual piece. So splendidly large! The amount of gold it will take, and the challenge of setting a round stone without facets . . . She coughed lightly.

The woman pulled a purse from within her cloak and poured out a pile of gold pieces on the counter. I am prepared to pay whatever is needed.

Aunt’s eyes gleamed as she watched the woman scoop the coins back into her purse. We are most gratified, Madam, that you have entrusted Montescue’s with this precious ornament! I assure you, no detail will be spared. She smiled the closed-lip smile that hid her terrible teeth. If you’ll just sign your name and address in our book, we’ll contact you when the setting is finished. She pushed the red leather volume toward the lady, who dipped the pen in the ink and wrote.

Aunt made a show of squinting at the writing. I’ve forgotten my spectacles. What is your name, Madam? Aunt did not own spectacles, nor could she read.

Beryl, the woman said, her hand on the door.

No surname, I noticed. Strange. She looked at me again, which gave me a curious, goose-pimply feeling, as if she could read my thoughts.

For the first time, I noticed her eyes. They gave me a pang, they were so lovely, wide and deep and long lashed. Like something I might have seen once in a dream of a guardian angel. I had to force myself not to stare.

To Aunt, the woman said, If you’ll pardon the question, I am in need of a servant. I would gladly rid you of this ‘presumptuous’ girl and take her in hand myself.

Aunt’s gracious-for-customers face curdled. She blinked rapidly.

Take me in hand? I wasn’t a dog in need of training. Servant to a wealthy lady? My parents had such servants once. If my parents were still alive, I’d have a lady’s maid myself right now.

But they weren’t, and I didn’t.

It seemed likely this Beryl would feed me and unlikely she’d beat me. If she did slap, slim as she was, her wallops shouldn’t sting so much as Aunt’s. I nearly let myself hope.

Beryl continued. I would offer a fee for your inconvenience, to help find a replacement.

She really wanted me. Whatever for?

Aunt’s mouth opened and shut. I wanted to laugh. I could practically see the wheels spinning in her head. What to say now? That they couldn’t get on without me? That I wasn’t, in fact, a servant but unpaid almost-kin? That they couldn’t afford to hire a paid servant? But she wouldn’t dare offend the lady. Perhaps she would sell me. And how would that feel?

As of this moment, just fine.

Aunt wasn’t my real aunt, nor Uncle Ernest my uncle, though once he was, back when he was married to my mother’s sister, Evangeline, who died. Evidently I took after Evangeline in face, which didn’t help my cause with Aunt. Since my parents died and Uncle took me in, she had soothed her itch by tormenting me daily. But there we were, until I saw my way clear to supporting myself.

Such as by finding employment as a servant. Why not? At fifteen, I was ready.

I looked up at Beryl and Aunt, who were still locked in a staring match.

Beryl spoke before Aunt could answer. I apologize. It was presumptuous of me to ask. We’ll say no more about it. And with a small bow, she withdrew and shut the door. Thunk went the door against the jamb, and poof went my little flicker of hope.

I watched the woman’s back disappear down the street.

Is she gone? Aunt asked, breathless. I nodded.

Ernest! she shrilled, grabbing the gem and running toward the stairs. She halted in the doorway and turned. I looked down. I’d hoped she had forgotten.

Aunt closed the distance between us in two steps and clouted my ears.

Slap.

That’s for speaking out of turn, she said, and slap. That’s for making eyes at her so she’d want you. As if anybody would. A fine spectacle you made of yourself. And thisslap, slapis for crossing me over this insignificant rubbish.

Meaning my bracelet.

She turned and vanished through the doorway to the kitchen and on up the stairs.

At least she’d gotten both sides evenly. I rubbed my ears. They felt hot.

I let a couple of tears fall. Not for the slaps. She couldn’t hurt me there. I cried for the bracelet, and for Mama and Papa, and for the friendless days on end that I’d spent in this wretched shop without being able to recall their faces. The bracelet had given me a fleeting memory, sweet as candy, until she snatched it away.

No, not quite friendless. Uncle was kind, in his way. But he couldn’t shield me from Aunt’s spite—no more than he could shield himself.

I wiped my eyes and rubbed my face and put my sorrows back where they belonged.

In the rare moments such as these when I was alone in the shop, I liked to pretend it was mine. I took my rag and stood behind the counter, polishing its glass surface. Inside, on red velvet faded to brown, sat the few forlorn little ornaments that Uncle kept for sale. Mostly he did goldsmithing work to order, repairing belt buckles and hair clips for folks who came in, but he kept a scant inventory of dusty, outmoded pieces. The days when Montescue’s was a fashionable, prosperous jewelry store were gone.

There was one piece I loved, a garnet ring. Easily the finest piece we had, if only a garnet. Sometimes Uncle let me slip it on when Aunt was out. I rubbed out a smudge in the glass over where it stood in state among the other tawdry trinkets, and dreamed it was my own.

The bell tinkled. Twice in one morning! I looked up.

A handsomely dressed young man came in looking bewildered, as if héd taken the wrong turn on Jericho Street. He consulted a card in his hand. At the sight of the shabby store his face fell, but he entered anyway, apparently determined to make the best of it. Twice he looked over his shoulder and out the window, as if hoping to avoid being seen.

When his eyes adjusted to the dim light, he noticed me for the first time and smiled.

I stared and forgot to curtsy. Underneath his broad-brimmed hat, his features were so noble and fine, he looked like héd swallowed the sun for breakfast.

He approached the counter. Good day, he said. I’m hoping you can help me find something very special. He smiled, showing his dimples.

I couldn’t resist. How special? Was I being coy with a customer?

He dimpled even more. Very special. A gift for a lady, as it happens.

Ask a foolish question, Lucinda.

Something unusual, something that says . . . He gazed upward, gesturing melodramatically, . . . forever.

Twang went my heartstrings. Forever. Even if I wasn’t the lady in question, I was charmed, and not just by his unnerving beauty. There was more to his eyes than sparkle—something pure and hopeful, like a boy picking flowers for his mother. It made me trust him right down to my toenails.

A gift that says ‘forever,’ I repeated slowly. Well, the goldsmith could engrave the word ‘forever’ on the back of something, but that would cost extra. . . .

No, no, no. He looked flustered for a moment, then relaxed. You’re teasing me.

I? Never. I smiled at him, far longer than I should have. But the pleasure of seeing him smile back made me forget everything I ought to remember, including his special lady.

His lady. Was I fool enough to think héd come in for the pleasure of smiling at me? Fool enough to imagine, maybe. But he was a customer. He lived to be served.

What do you have in mind, sir? I asked. We have some very nice combs over here, inlaid with mother-of-pearl. I traced my fingers along the counter. And here we have some lovely cameos, just what a lady would want. They can be worn on a pin, chain, or ribbon.

I came to the garnet ring. It pained me, but I said it.

Here’s a pretty ring. Red, the color of love. Also, I was sure, the color of my face.

He bent to examine it, and frowned. Do you think it says ‘Forever’?

I began to wish that a hive of hornets might visit his special lady, or that perhaps her ankles would swell after eating strawberries.

Don’t you suppose it depends upon the lady? You must know something of her tastes.

He shook his head. That’s just it. I know nothing of them.

His eyes were so beseeching that I yearned to help him, even if it was to woo some plump, spoiled daughter of a wealthy aristocrat who couldn’t possibly deserve him. From what little I knew of love, even I could see he was in need of advice.

Perhaps, I said, you should start by paying closer attention to her.

He looked startled, then he laughed. It’s not that. I’ve never met her. We’re betrothed. She arrives tomorrow. I need a wedding gift, and I’ve searched all the shops in Saint Sebastien with no success. So I came here.

Héd never met her. Very interesting.

He watched me, an uneasy expression forming on his face.

Do I know you?

I could only wish. I don’t believe so.

This didn’t seem to relieve him any. You think I’m an idiot, don’t you?

I was astounded. Me? Think you . . .? I beg your pardon, I . . .

You’re right, of course, he said, beginning to pace back and forth.

He needed calming. Perhaps, I began, in a soothing voice, it would be better to learn what she likes before buying her anything.

He cut me off. How can a gift say ‘Forever’ for someone I’ve never met? It’s madness!

On this, we agreed. Feeling reckless, I decided to encourage this line of thought.

Perhaps a better sentiment for your first gift to this lady would be, ‘Good Luck.’

Oh, Aunt would dice me to hash for that if she heard it.

He clamped his jaw shut, and an iron look crossed his face.

Oh, dear. " ‘Bonne chance,’ as the French would say?"

An expert on human relations, I see, he said, nodding. I don’t suppose you believe love could last forever.

I’d hurt him. I looked away, chagrined.

You’re mistaken, I said. I do believe it could. But it would depend upon the lovers.

He folded his arms and watched me, forcing me to return his gaze. Oh, those eyes.

And what kind of lovers must they be? he asked.

The You-and-Me kind? I bit my lip. True ones? How naive that would sound.

His gaze burned me, but I couldn’t break away from it.

I was spared from answering by the sound of Uncle’s heavy footsteps coming down the stairs. The spell was broken. The gentleman looked away. I took a deep breath.

Here comes the goldsmith, sir, I said, curtsying to my young Adonis. He can help you place a custom order for something you care to describe. He’s most skillful.

Uncle rounded the doorpost and stood, scratching his head. He smiled his absentminded smile at me, then looked at the young man. He grabbed hold of the countertop and leaned against it as he lowered himself down to an arthritic half-kneel.

Your Majesty, he said.

Chapter 2

Your what?" I said.

Er, said my customer.

Prince Gregor, we are honored, said Uncle. At least one of us was cogent.

I flopped down onto my knees, which made me disappear behind the counter. I considered crawling underneath and hiding on a shelf. I looked up to see the prince—the prince!—peering down over the counter’s edge at me.

You don’t need to do that, he said.

Do what?

Get down on your knees. Unless you are proposing marriage.

I scrambled to my feet. As you wish. I dusted off my skirt. You know best. Stupid response! Could I mortify myself any more?

He turned and doffed his hat to Uncle, who’d only just barely gotten back on his feet.

I fear I must be going, sir, he said. I haven’t time for a special order. I need something sooner. His eyes glanced my way. Your shop assistant shows great promise.

He was mocking me. I was ridiculous to him.

Then he bowed to me. A pleasure. Might I ask your name?

As God is my witness, I swear this is true: I couldn’t think what it was. I felt as nameless as an unwanted baby.

Lucinda, Your Highness, Uncle said.

The prince’s eyes were unreadable. Good day to you, Miss Lucinda.

And to you, I called over the thunking of the door. I watched him dart away down the street until his coat was a blue smudge on my window. Hoped héd heard me. Hoped he hadn’t.

Uncle and I faced each other, dumbstruck.

What would Aunt say? I whispered.

He put a finger over his lips. I

You've reached the end of this preview. Sign up to read more!
Page 1 of 1

Reviews

What people think about The Amaranth Enchantment

3.6
40 ratings / 26 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    it was very fun and interesting for me !!! I think the ending should have been better and more exciting!! but it was a great book!!!!
  • (3/5)
    The Amaranth Enchantment is a new fairy tale with many classic elements - a poor but beautiful girl, a handsome prince, and a little bit of magic thrown in. Romance and fairy tale fans are sure to love this.  
  • (3/5)
    other worlds, Cinderella and other themes in a story with lots of twists not always strong but a good read
  • (3/5)
    I couldn’t quite decide whether this book was meant to be a Cinderella re-telling or whether it simply drew on the tropes of that story. Regardless, I find it odd that both this and Beauty Sleep rely on a similar plot development, albeit with different results. I liked it, but I was never convinced by the world-building–Berry didn’t seem able to choose between a fairy-tale world and a version of ours with magic. [Feb. 2010]
  • (4/5)
    Once upon a time...
    Lucinda had a wonderful life; parents who adored her, wealth, privilege, all the fine things of which a girl dreams.

    Now...
    That's all gone - Lucinda's parents are dead and she lives working as an unpaid drudge for her kind, goldsmith uncle and the mean greedy wife he doesn't dare to defy. Then things get worse than Lucinda could have ever imagined - following the death of her uncle, Lucinda's aunt accuses her of the theft of a precious stone left in the shop by Beryl, the Amaranth Witch (Falsely! It was that street scamp Peter!) and kicks Lucinda out onto the streets. Lucinda will have to use all her wits to retrieve the stone from Peter, but distractions abound, particularly in the forms of charming Prince Gregor and one stubborn goat named Dog. As Lucinda searches for Peter and the stone, she discovers that not all is precisely as it seems, but can she learn the truth in time or will disaster strike?

    Although it is an original story, The Amaranth Enchantment has all the hallmarks of the best fairy tales - an orphan, a fairy godmother, a prince, hidden identities, a masked ball, and of course, lots of magic and romance!

    I hope the above is all correct as I actually read this over a year ago. I was very distracted while reading it because I had gotten it into my head somehow that it was a fairy tale retelling as opposed to an original story, but I couldn't make it fit with anything I knew. Everything made much more sense once I realized it was an original.
  • (4/5)
    My only complaint was it was too short. I sped through it in a couple hours, tops.
  • (4/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Ending was disappointing.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)
    The Amaranth Enchantment, by Julie Berry, has this really charming quality to it, and while reading it I often thought, “You know, this could be made into a Miyazaki film.” It had that Studio Ghibli feeling.Lucinda, the main character, is an orphan living with her kindly uncle, and her cruel and greedy aunt. And then she meets a witch, a prince, and a thief. And if that sounds like the start of a fairy tale to you, then you’re on the right track, and we haven’t even met the goat yet.When a very important jewel belonging to Beryl (who may or may not be a witch) is stolen, Lucinda accepts the task of finding it once more, in exchange for her childhood home, and enough money to never have to depend on anyone else again.But well, easier said than done, right?I really liked The Amaranth Enchantment, and it’s an easy book to start reading and then get lost in. A lot of books I read chapter by chapter, but this one I read in chunks, wondering where the time went.Still, there was a lot that frustrated me about it. Lucinda and Peter (the thief) had great chemistry together, whereas Lucinda and Gregor had about as much steam between them as two piles of moss. I just kept hoping, “Oh, maybe now she’ll finally shut up about Gregor and pay attention to PETER!” Alas, it was not to be.Plus, the pacing of the story was…odd. I don’t know that I would call it bad, but it definitely threw me off a bit in places, especially toward the end. I think some of the scenes could have been rearranged and it would have helped.And yet, I really liked this book. It’s clever, and the two characters we spend the most time with, Lucinda and Peter, are interesting and intelligent. And like I said, there’s a goat!I really emotionally invested myself in the story. At one point I had to turn off my Kindle and go about the rest of my day, because I was so worried about what was going to happen to Lucinda that I couldn’t keep reading. And then I got over it because I was so worried about what would happen to Lucinda! I HAD to keep reading.By time she reaches her happy ending, there’s no doubt that she deserves it, and I felt..satisfied. The fairy tale feeling.
  • (4/5)
    This was a Cinderella-type fantasy romance. It had a small amount of magic but overall it was a story about a girl, Lucinda, who was born into a wealthy family only to suffer a terrible reversal of fortune when her parents die. By age 5 all the luxuries and niceties are gone and she is taken in by her kind but poor uncle. She grows up tending to his jewelry shop and trying to stay out of the way of her very unkind aunt.Lucinda, now 15 years old, is cleaning the shop one day when a series of events change her life once again: a "witch" drops off a valuable pearl to be repaired, the handsome young prince stops in to search for a piece of jewelry for his soon-to-be princess, a very likeable young thief breaks into Lucinda's room and steals the pearl, her uncle dies and her aunt throws her out onto the streets. What happens next is a fast-paced and often times funny adventure of how Lucinda steals back the pearl, winds up in jail, escapes and then falls in love.Overall I enjoyed this story, especially because it definitely passed the time while I was driving to Ohio. There are some strange threads to this story that sort of stood in the way of making this a 5 star book. When you read it, I think you'll understand but I also think you will greatly enjoy this one simply because it is light-hearted and fun with a small amount of danger and mystery.PS: An amaranth is a mythical red flower that never dies.PPS: I dare you not to fall in love with Dog!
  • (4/5)
    Poor orphan girl in a miserable situation, trusty animal sidekick, mysterious but beautiful witch, a charming prince, yet another prince in disguise, and a ball that decides the fate of just about everything. This little fantasy novel has everything that builds a fairy tale, and it pulls it off okay with some unique plot devices. The science fiction elements are completely unexpected, for one thing. In the beginning, Lucinda, the main character, was refreshingly unique because she does cry and she does think for herself, but later on she starts to just be a bit of a crybaby. Still, she manages to overcome her tears every time, so good for her.All in all, it's a very average fantasy book that's perfect for when you want a quick fairy tale read, but it's nothing special. I'm hoping that with more practice, Julie Berry can produce some really spectacular fantasy novels.
  • (4/5)
    This book is just what I needed to read. It was sweet and enchanting and kept me hooked until the end.This novel is an obvious spin off of Cinderella, which is something, I personally, never tire of, but I could see how some might not be too enamored with another Cinderella story. I still feel The Amaranth Enchantment had a unique spin to it that made it its own. I could probably gush and gush about this book forever, but I just loved this story! It was corny and was just what I need to warm my spirit. I definitely recommend this book to those who love an innocent love story that has a happy ending.
  • (3/5)
    Ever since the death of Lucinda's parents, she has been forced to live under the thumb of her bitter and overbearing aunt and her weak uncle, working at their jewelry store. Within one eventful day, Lucinda's life drastically changes. During this short period of time, she deals with a lovesick prince, a mysterious witch, a charming thief, and a tragedy that leaves her homeless. Things quickly go from bad to worse for Lucinda as she tries to put the pieces back together. When I picked up The Amaranth Enchantment, it was because I was in the mood for a feel good, happy ending fairy tale. I was certainly not disappointed in that but I was surprised to find that Julie Berry's story had plenty of action as well as unexpected plot twists and turns. I enjoyed that each of the characters showed both strength in some areas and weaknesses in others. It made them much more realistic. The prince was a little weaker than I would have liked personally, but he fit so well with Lucinda. The Amaranth Witch was by far my favorite character, mysterious in so many ways yet very apparently flawed and insecure. I would recommend The Amaranth Enchantment to anyone who enjoys a happily-ever-after kind of story with some unique twists and turns along the way
  • (3/5)
    A spin on the story of Cinderella. Lucinda Chapdelaine is born of a wealthy family. She loses her parents at the age of five and finds herself living with her uncle and step-aunt.Within a matter of days, Lucinda meets a number of very unique characters. One day, two interesting customers appear in her relative's jewelry shop. The first is Beryl, who brings with her a rather large and mysterious jewel to be repaired. The second is a young man who is very handsome. She finds out that he is Prince Gregor and happens to be looking for a piece of jewelry for his betrothed that says "forever". When a priest visits the store and informs the family that Beryl is a witch, Lucinda is prompted by her aunt to return the jewel to said owner for fear of being cursed by the "Amaranth Witch". Lucinda does not return the jewel as told, she decides to hold on to it. That night, a strange young man named Peter appears at her window. He needs a place to hide and Lucinda -against her better judgment- allows him to stay on the floor. Little does she know, Peter is a notorious street thief and the jewel in her pocket when she goes to sleep, not so safe.Lucinda's life turns upside down when her uncle suddenly dies and she is thrown out on the streets by her aunt. The three strangers she recently met will change Lucinda's life, for better or worse.A heroine, an evil step-aunt, a witch, a prince, a thief, a princess, a royal ball, an immortal villain and a goat named Dog.A nice, easy read. The story was cute and slightly different from the original Cinderella. Probably more for the young teens, 10-16.
  • (5/5)
    This was a fun and enchanting read. Those you enjoy princess/fairy tale type stories you will definitely enjoy this book. It was a sweet tale full of twists and turns with lovable characters.Lucinda is being raised by her Uncle, who is a jeweler, and her Aunt who hates and abuses her. She used to be the daughter of nobility but her parents' untimely death destroyed all of that. When her uncle passes away Lucinda is forced out of the house by her aunt and ends up moving in with the Amaranth witch. Now Lucinda is tasked with retrieving a special jewel and gets entangled with evil judges, a handsome price, a dashing thief, and a goat who acts like a dog.This book was an excellent light fairy tale read. The plot is incredibly well woven and full of magic and mystery. There are some wonderful twists at the end which really keep the reader guessing. The characters are all well-done and likable. Lucinda has a good amount of spunk and a nice sense of humor that keeps things fun. The writing style is easy to read and very engaging. The book is appropriate for middle grade and older readers.All of the characters in this book were interesting and fun. You have to love the charming prince and the thieving rogue; sure they are kind of typical to a fairy tale story like this but they were really well-done in this story and lots of fun to read about.Overall this was just a very fun and entertaining read. A wonderful light read for fairy tale lovers out there. If you like this book you might also be interested in Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith, Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, or any of Tamora Pierce's books.
  • (3/5)
    What’s better than a traditional Cinderella story? One that steals elements from the tale, but forges its own path. The Amaranth Enchantment is about a girl named Lucinda whose parents died in a horrible accident the night of a ball. She goes to live with her uncle and step-aunt, a woman who treats her like a servant. A magical woman—the book’s version of a fairy godmother—is the catalyst for Lucinda leaving to make it on her own. Following the elements of a fairy tale, she falls in love with a prince and winds up at his ball, but that’s where the similarities end. In a way, the novel reminds me of a Disney movie because memorable characters include a lovable thief named Peter and a pet goat named Dog (why Dog, idk, but it’s cute!).The Amaranth Enchantment might read like a fairy tale, but it also has some sci-fi tendencies. The “godmother,” Beryl, is from another planet and has a special stone that gives her magical abilities. This stone is so valuable that an evil man wants it and will stop at nothing to get it back. Beryl begs Lucinda for help, offering to restore everything she lost if she can retrieve the stone, which was stolen by a thief named Peter and sold to the Crown Prince. This is one place where The Amaranth Enchantment succeeds: Lucinda doesn’t wait around for a man to save the day. She pulls it together and takes charge herself despite the consequences. She was the opposite of Beryl, who wasn’t able to solve her own problems. My favorite character was Peter, the thief. He was the most animated, and stole every scene. He had surprises up his sleeve that I never saw coming, too. I felt he was the most well-developed of all the characters. While I admired Lucinda’s spunk, I felt she was a little too naïve at times and often found herself in bad situations due to this. I also wish Prince Gregor was a little more fleshed-out. There weren’t as many romance scenes as I would have liked, but I’m hoping to see more in Berry’s future novels. For a debut novel, The Amaranth Enchantment had many good ideas, and the story was still fun to read. There were twists and turns I never saw coming, and I loved the fact that despite the Cinderella influence, Lucinda was her own heroine, and not a reincarnation of anyone else.
  • (4/5)
    This book seems to combine elements from several fairy tales, but it works. Lucinda lives with her uncle and mean stepmother after her parents go to a ball and never return. She encounters a young thief, and a mysterious woman all in one day, and the two, separately, will change her life. She falls in love, has her heart broken, is almost killed, and falls in love again. She even manages to regain what is rightfully hers. Julie Berry does a very impressive and skillful job of weaving together what initially seem disparate events.
  • (3/5)
    So I guess I'm kind of in a "fairy tale" book mode. This is the third one in just the past few weeks. Can't say it's a bad thing, I suppose that sometimes it's just good to enjoy a book that's magical, simple and reminds me of my childhood. After enjoying Princess of the Midnight Ball and Princess of Glass so much, The Amaranth Enchantment was kind of "next in line" for these types of books. However, I found that there is a huge difference between those two novels and this one.The Amaranth Enchantment is a simple, fairy tale-esque novel in a historical setting that appeals more to middle school-age readers than teen level. The novel tells the story of young Lucinda who, after being orphaned, was sent to live with her Uncle and abusive Aunt. Being treated as little more than a servant, Lucinda works in her relatives' goldsmithing shop until one day, the mysterious Amaranth Witch appears in the shop. After ending up with the witch's prized gem, Lucinda finds herself in the company of a boy who isn't who he seems. But after being kicked out of her home, Lucinda befriends the Amaranth Witch and find herself at the center of a danger game of finger-pointing...Overly simply and somewhat contrived, The Amaranth Enchantment is, overall, an incredibly predictable and dull book. Though the end does seem to come somewhat out of left field (and appears to have been tacked on specifically so that the book could have a "happy ending"), the rest of the story is fairly predictable and just feels flat and mostly uninteresting. In particular, the author seemed to take one or two plot points and then spin them around endlessly without really going anywhere, taking to long to get somewhere, or just to take up space.I was strangely surprised by this, as The Amaranth Enchantment started out with plenty of promise. The setup was interesting, Berry's writing style is wonderful, the mythology Berry spun about the witch was unique and fascinating, but it just didn't seem to really go anywhere or come into its own. These were some of the things that kept me reading, but with flat characters and a dull plot, pushing through this slim 300-page volume was painful at times.While this certainly isn't the worst book out there, and Berry's writing style does show promise and talent, The Amaranth Enchantment just wasn't that enchanted to me.
  • (4/5)
    A prince who looked like he swallowed the sun? A princess who looked like she's made from crystal sugar? Those words made me laugh when I read them.And who names their pet goat Dog? Only in this story, I think.This is probably the first book in a while that I devoured reading as soon as I got a copy (and finished the book I was reading before) I had to read and find out what happens next! Who is Beryl? What is she? Even Peter kept me guessing.I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Lucinda is such a lovable character. She's like Princess Sarah and Cinderella combined into one. With Beryl as her fairy godmother. Sort of. Except she's immortal and deathless.My mouth literally fell open while I was reading the ending! I knew there was something about Peter! Who would've thought he'd be King? And Gregor's older brother too!This is also the first book I've read (in a while, too) where the Prince cried. He felt more real than all the Princes I've read of. Heroic? Handsome? Sure, but never crying for a girl.The side of the story about Beryl was a bit weird though. The way the angels played a part in the story. Was Beryl like her fairy god mother? With a story of her own?Hmm... But I like the ending. I feel sad for Lucinda and her home, but happy for her and Gregor. I did wish for a royal wedding scene though, at the very least and a bit disappointed it didn't happen.I love Dog!4.5 stars, again!
  • (4/5)
    Orphaned as a child, Lucinda works as a servant in her uncle's shop. When a stone entrusted to her by a woman rumored to be a witch is stolen, Lucinda attempts to steal it back - from the crown prince.
  • (5/5)
    This was a really great book. Cinderella retold. It was well-written, good for tweens, and checks out well at the library.
  • (2/5)
    It's a cute story but a bit too simply told. The age group is more young middle school than teen. The twist on the traditional Cinderella tale is nice but the from an alien world character of the witch seemed out of keeping with the general spirit of the story.
  • (3/5)
     Can't say that I loved it....but a well written page turning book. Just right for the audience targeted. Cinderella is my all time favorite fairytale and this was a nice twist to it. Good one to enjoy with your younger children well...girls anyway...boys might like it as it does have a nice amount of adventure in it that might keep them involved. All around nice book with not alot of snags just a good old fashioned game of seek and find.
  • (4/5)
    This was a really good book. I heard about it through a newspaper article my mother sent me with a list of LDS women who have all jumped into the YA Fantasy realm. The article listed 2 of my favorites, Stephenie Meyer and Shannon Hale, and also included Julie Berry, Jessica Day George, and Mette Harrison Ivie.I am so glad my mom sent me that article. I've read 2 books by Ivie and 3 by George and they were all pretty good. This is Julie Berry's first book and I really, really enjoyed it. The writing was witty and concise. The story was believable (as far as magic is concerned) and there were a few twists along the way.
  • (3/5)
    It was a little disjointed, especially towards the end. It didn't seem to flow very well. Also, it was a little frustrating how the main character, Lucinda, jumped from one conclusion to another. However, it's a quick read, holds the reader's attention, and is a lovely fairy-tale quality young adult novel.
  • (3/5)
    15-year-old Lucinda Chapdelaine used to be the daughter of well-to-do merchants, intimate with the royal family themselves. Then, her parents die in an accident, the family’s wealth mysteriously disappears, and Lucinda is forced to live with her uncle and her horrible aunt. Lucinda lives and works like a servant, never even daring to dwell on the past or dream of a better life.Then, a beautiful stone sets off a chain of events that changes Lucinda’s life. She befriends Beryl, a mysterious lady with witch-like powers, who gives Lucinda a difficult task. If she succeeds, she may end up with all her former glory restored, and perhaps even more in the way of friendships and love. If she fails, however, it may cost Lucinda and her friends their lives.Julie Berry does an admirable job of modernizing the feel of a classic fairy tale. The tone of the story is lilting and reminiscent of old stories, full of peril and triumph, and then more peril and more triumph. I really enjoyed all the fantastical elements of THE AMARANTH ENCHANTMENT: this is a mixture of beloved fairy tales like Cinderella and more.The characters, however, were not very easy to connect with. Berry’s storyteller writing contributes to the fairy tale feel of the novel, but also distances us from the characters at the same time. It took most of the book to convince me to care for Lucinda, her ragamuffin friend Peter, and Prince Gregor—although the hint of a love triangle between the three really helped keep my feelings of apathy at a minimum.Overall, THE AMARANTH ENCHANTMENT will satisfy readers looking for a tale full of magic, heroic actions, wonder, and victory.
  • (3/5)
    When she was small, Lucinda's parents were killed in a carriage accident on the way to a ball. Now she works as an unpaid drudge for her overbearing aunt and quiet uncle,an unsuccessful goldsmith. But when a beautiful and mysterious woman, the Amaranth Witch, brings a pearl-like jewel to be reset, Lucinda's world turns upside down once again, in this fairy-tale-like story.Pleasant enough, I guess.