The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
Lucinda Chapdelaine works in her uncle’s jewelry shop, trying to avoid the wrath of her nasty aunt. She didn’t always live the life of her servant. She remembers living a fine life before both her parents died, but for now she helps her aunt and uncle keep the shop. Then the Amaranth Witch comes to the shop with beautiful but unique gem that she wishes to be made into a necklace. Yet, before the gem can be returned to the Witch a charming street boy steals it from Lucinda. The Witch, Beryl, offers Lucinda her old home back, freedom from her aunt, and friendship if she returns the gem. Only the street boy has sold it to the Prince, who wishes to give it to his betrothed. Lucinda must take many risks to get it back so she can finally return to her home.
This story is an original fairy tale and not a retelling, though it does feel a bit like Cinderella in some parts. In fact, there is more than one character gets a Cinderella ending in the book. I found Beryl strange at first, and she is sort of strange. She comes from a different world, and she’s not quite human but not quite fairy. I don’t really know how to describe her. Sometimes I liked her, other times I didn’t. Either way I thought that this really was an entertaining story to read. It is another one that I’ll re-read just to enjoy the ride again. It is a must read for those who love the whole fairy tale scene. This book has the handsome prince, a mischievous but redeemable thief, and a clever determined heroine with a stubborn animal side-kick.