So Enchanting Mass Market Paperback – Feb 3 2009
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About the Author
The author of seventeen full length novels, Connie Brockway lives in Minnesota with her husband and several dogs. An adult daughter has managed to escape to warmer climes. For now.
Top Customer Reviews
Francesca never wanted to help Alphonse in his scams and she did not mourn his death. But when Alphonse courted her he did not seem to care that all animals responded to her emotions. She thought he actually loved her. Now with his death, Francesca was adrift and wondering what she should do now. Her family wanted nothing at all to do with her. Fate comes in the form of Colonel Chase. The colonel knew of Francesca's affinity with animals having known her long ago. The colonel's young daughter, Amelie, has begun showing signs of paranormal abilities. Colonel Chase offers Francesca a position as Amelie's governess. She accepts on the condition that no one knows of her past. Francesca Brown became Fanny Walcott.
Colonel Chase, Amelie, and Fanny settle down in the small town of Little Firkin in Scotland. Diagnosed with a terminal disease, Colonel Chase set up his will, naming Amelie's legal guardian to be Lord Collier should he die before she reached her majority.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
So Enchanting starts with a bang and takes the reader where few romances have gone before - into the midst of the occult craze sweeping late Victorian England. I thought this initial setting was inspired, particularly in light of what the book is about. Issues of faith and skepticism, fraud and fact, mystery and magic are brought to the forefront as the book pits eminently skeptical, rational Greyson Sheffield, who makes it his business to expose the hoaxes and schemes of occultist charlatans, against Francesca Walcott, who, when our story starts, is a willing accomplice in her husband's fraudulent séances. Grey busts up the show, Fanny's husband abandons her, has a fatal run in with a train in France, and Fanny is on her own, disgraced and exiled. But Fanny is different from her husband and other con artists in that she does have a bit of the magical about her, which has been more of a curse than a gift, branding her as different, even dangerous, and estranging her from her family. When she's offered a clean slate by the father of a similarly afflicted/gifted girl, who wants Fanny to become his daughter's companion, to guide and protect her, Fanny jumps at the chance to live a "normal" life. She and Amelie Chase retreat to the wilds of Scotland, where they live in peaceful, if boring, seclusion for the next six years.
I really liked the relationship between Fanny and Amelie, a friendship that evolves with the story. Fanny eschews the all too easy/clichéd Merlin mentor role and even keeps her magic a secret from Amelie. They're unconventional, independent, and complement each other nicely. Fanny is the mature, (seemingly) staid, practical one. Amelie is young, emotional, and impulsive.
As for the romance, a series of coincidences brings Grey back into Fanny's life because it turns out he's the brother of the man who became Amelie's guardian upon the death of Amelie's father. A threatening letter warns that Amelie's life is in danger, and since Amelie's guardian is too busy, he sends Grey to take care of it for him. With Grey is his nephew, Lord Hayden. The rest of the book (apart from the untangling of this death threat mystery - not my fav part of the book btw) chronicles the misadventures in love of these two pairs, Grey and Fanny, and Amelie and Hayden.
Francesca's character is one of the strongest aspects of the book. She's resourceful, intelligent, and has a sense of humor. She's suffered in the past, but has adapted, recovered, and moved on. Grey seems like a powerful personality - v compelling, even if his trust issues are kind of rote (was hurt in the past by con artists, hates them all and wants to rid the world of their evil blight.) He's abrasive and rude a lot of the time, in an I'll-say-what-I-think-and-damn-the-consequences way, but cares deeply for Fanny (against his better judgment.) They're a very well matched couple - with a credible instant, deep connection thing going on, but, at the same time I'm not so sure about their chemistry (that fun, sexy banter that I love,) and I think the story was stretched a bit thin in this regard. They don't have a conversation until well into the book, more than a hundred pages. But I enjoyed the set up and the story that was woven around their eventual reunion (and 100 or so pages isn't that long to wait after all,) so I'm not complaining. I just wish there could have been more of a focus on the two of them.
The secondary romance between Amelie and Hayden also takes up a lot of space, and the book is pretty equally divided between the two romances. I would have liked Amelie and Hayden more if the book hadn't gone on so much about how young they were - in a way that gently, playfully pokes fun at the couple. Grey and Fanny are in on the joke and spend a lot of their time rolling their eyes at the besotted love birds. While I was amused too, I wish that Amelie and Hayden's romance could have moved beyond this to become something more than a parody. As it is, the joke got old for me, and since no one else in the book seemed to take their love seriously, I couldn't either. Though Amelie had more depth to her, Hayden was pretty bland.
On the other hand, there were some beautiful moments shared by Grey and Fanny, particularly near the end as they work through their issues (well mostly Grey has to become more amenable to the idea of a little trust and magic in his life) and fall in love. At the end of the book, I'm happy to see them together at last. As always, I love how Connie Brockway writes, so even though I have some reservations, I still enjoyed So Enchanting.
- If I had to give one dislike it would be that it did not need to be 400+ pages. It did drag in some places. However, that said, the last 100 pages or so will make you forgive that! Had it not slowed my initial interest the way it did, this would have been a 1-nighter read! Absolutely!
I love the cover and the insert cover, but what I absolutely loved the most - and what Ms. Brockway's coup de grace was - is definitely the ending!!! Sure we all know the happily ever after is happening for the two main characters; that's a given. But I adore that on rare occasion (such as this) the author closes with something more, something different.
Some people read for the romance, some for the steamy scenes... my thing (aside from it being historical) is definitely humor! And when you run across a book, a story, an author, that hits it *so* perfectly, you absolutely want MORE!!! So I guess I have to amend my "if I had to give one dislike...well it's actually two: I *so* wanted more magic, *more* scenes and situations with Fanny's gift/curse, and more, more, MORE of Grammy Beadle!!!
So, instead of ending the story with the typical married happily ever-after, I hope you will enjoy [as I did] Ms. Brockway's ending with a scene from the beginning of the story: in the streets of Little Firkin! I absolutely laughed my @$$ off!!
- One suggestion: (and for any fans of Julia Quinn's "Lady Whistledown" character, you will appreciate this) find a way to put Grammy Beadle in a whole string of stories! =)
- This is perhaps one of 4 or 5 books I've read this year (and I read a couple a week) that's a solid 5* and keeper! Enjoy! =)