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…
I was drawn to this book by the stunning cover that practically begged me to read it. And I complied. And I’m so happy I did! From the first chapter, I was immediately transported to 1789 France and could not stop reading until the very last page. The depictions of magic intertwined with history had me captivated.
Trelease’s writing style had me fully engaged and I was in awe of the details and events that transpired throughout the story that showed her dedication to researching the time period yet her endless creativity with adding her own magical twist to it all. From the tiniest of details from the hats that Sophie made to the grandest details of the palace of Versailles, the descriptions made this book an almost cinematic experience in my head.
We’re thrown into Camille’s world and join her on her path of desperation and endless turmoil, only to be rewarded with her finding herself and her strength within her magic. The characters were a breath of fresh air and I enjoyed reading about each of them and their dialogue with Camille and each other. Even the “villain” was intriguing and left me wanting more.
This was an enchanting, beautiful and magical story. It was perfect for the fantasy and historical fiction lover in me.