I was skeptical, I’ll be honest. Enchantée was touted as perfect for anyone who enjoyed Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and I loved The Night Circus. It took a few pages, but I soon got sucked into the story and reveling in it. To be fair, magical realism and the French Revolution is a pretty good combination, and whilst not unique in literature, Gita Trelease merges the two beautifully; you could even say it is enchanting. However, I have an issue with this book. Whilst Gita has lived in many places around the world, and I have no doubt uses the French littered throughout the book accurately, for me it feels out of place and try hard. It’s not a little bit here and there, it’s labelled on, italics popping up everywhere, reminding you of what you should have known since picking the book up: that we’re in France.
All in all, whilst Enchantée is a lovely read, and absolutely perfect for anyone who read and enjoyed The Night Circus, there is no real competition for the latter. More than anything else, I finished Enchantée eager to dive back into The Night Circus. Re-read here I come.
I’m putting this in the non-fiction category, even though its place here is somewhat questionable. Already steeped in controversy, Rubenhold herself has said¹:
“I knew it [the book] was going to be controversial. I had no idea how controversial. There are people out there who feel they have ownership of these women’s stories and there is an orthodoxy.
“If you question those ‘facts’, then God have mercy on you. The response I’ve had to this has been unbelievable.”
Unbelievable, as she writes in her book, that the modern day individual can’t move beyond the narrow-minded misconceptions of the Victorian era.
The Five is a fantastic hybrid of fact and supposition. Rubenhold has clearly done her research and has been able to deliver not only a rounded account of the lives of Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary Jane, but make them indelibly human and the crimes of Jack the Ripper all the more abhorrent because of it. Rubenhold also makes these women heroes, drawing conclusions on their circumstances that it is hard to believe are false, and weaves the most gritty, real image of victorian London I have ever read.
We all know more than we really need about Jack the Ripper and his crimes, but we never knew what was really important; we never knew about his victims. Now we do. They are no longer a handful of London’s prostitutes who’s names were immortalised in print by way of their death. No. They were daughters, wives and mothers, and were heroines of their age.
I dip back into my favourite young-adult fantasy literature when I need a brain break, and this time I went with Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass. Not the greatest of ideas. Not that I don’t enjoy this book, Throne of Glass was a great start to this series, but I hate the way the whole thing turned out. I’m still raging over some of the character arcs and it all just got a bit much! It will always be a great yarn, but it will always be tinged with so many questions. So many “what could have been’s.”
I find most of my blogs through instagram, and Steffy is someone I’ve been following for years. I dip in and out on instagram, YouTube and the blog itself, and I love how herself she appears to be. We all know how social media is but the glossy snapshot of how life really is, but to her credit, Steffy is shouting out the lifey parts of life, loud and proud, and I am honoured she is willing to share so much with us (I also can’t wait to see how her house renovations turn out!!)
You can find out more about Steffy and her awesomeness here.
¹ The full Guardian article can be found here.
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