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The Amaranth Enchantment Hardcover – March 3, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Intriguing characters, fine plotting, and a richly worked narrative carry the reader into Lucinda’s vaguely medieval world. Orphaned as a small child when her wealthy parents were killed in a carriage accident, Lucinda has grown to the age of 15 as the maidservant in her goldsmith uncle’s home, suffering abuse at the hands of his wife. Life changes quickly for Lucinda after her uncle dies when she attempts to complete an errand to return a strange glowing stone to a woman locally known as the Amaranth Witch. A street thief, the local Prince Charming, a goat with the manners of a loving dog, and an evil chief justice are among the characters who complicate and enrich Lucinda’s life as she discovers her own past and the otherworldliness of Beryl, the amaranth lady. Tamora Pierce fans will particularly appreciate Berry’s smoothly rendered first novel, where magic and historically accurate courtly rites are balanced with Lucinda’s maturing sense of independence, fate, and self. Grades 6-8. --Francisca Goldsmith

About the Author

JULIE BERRY grew up in western New York. She holds a B.S. in communication from Rensselaer and an M.F.A. in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College. She now lives in eastern Massachusetts with her husband and four young sons, and works for a technology startup. This is her first book.


Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 610L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (March 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599903342
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599903347
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.3 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,506,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Julie Berry grew up in western New York. She holds a BS from Rensselaer in communication and an MFA from Vermont College in writing for children and young adults. She now lives in eastern Massachusetts with her husband and four young sons.

"All the Truth That's in Me" (September 2013, Viking) is Julie's first YA novel. It has earned starred reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, BCCB, and the Horn Book. It's been named a Horn Book Fanfare title, a School Library Journal Best Book of 2013, a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013, and a Junior Library Guild selection. It's been nominated for a Carnegie Medal and a YALSA BFYA award. It's being published in 12 international countries and territories. Julie is also the author of "The Amaranth Enchantment" and "Secondhand Charm" (Bloomsbury) and the "Splurch Academy for Disruptive Boys" series (Penguin Books for Young Readers). A forthcoming middle grade release is "The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place" (Fall 2014, Roaring Brook). Julie's works appear in audio and international versions worldwide.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 72 people found the following review helpful By small review on May 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A very loose retelling of the Cinderella tale. Lucinda's parents died in a carriage accident when Lucinda was a young child. Since then, her aunt (cruel) and uncle (nice) have raised her in their jewelry shop. Lucinda's life was fairly ho-hum until a mysterious woman known as the Amaranth Witch drops off a gigantic jewel in need of a new setting, a beggar boy steals the jewel, Lucinda's uncle dies, and Lucinda is kicked out of her home after her aunt accuses her of theft. Does that sound like a bit much to believe? Wait, it gets worse.

I could swallow all of the above if the characters were good enough to carry the story and the suspension of belief didn't require much more than your average fantasy/fairy tale (or at least made some sense). However, the characters weren't good enough to carry the story. Lucinda was almost the tough and spunky, but not in that annoying way, heroine, but she didn't quite get from character storyboard to endearing and memorable. Beryl was just so sad and desperate it was pathetic, wallowing around instead of either trying to fix her situation or move on with her life. The prince was cut from the same cardboard early Disney princes were cut from, but with a dash of "annoying" thrown in for good measure. There was also zero chemistry between them. Peter had the makings of a good character (and much better love interest), but he never reached his promise and the conclusion of his storyline was over the top silly. The goat named Dog was the best character in the book, and even he was completely random and never explained.

And then we get aliens. Yeah, aliens. This brought the book from "Ok, but nothing memorable" and into the realm of "What was the author thinking?" Instead of remembering the book as, "What was that one about again? I think it was ok?" I'll now remember it as, "Oh, isn't that the one with that alien well thing thrown in?" Not the best lasting impression.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jackie Parker on August 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry is a very loose Cinderella story. Lucinda was the prized daughter of wealthy and influential parents, but when they die, she is left penniless and sent to live with her uncle and evil step-aunt. Now she's fifteen, her life is bleak, and she doesn't see a way out. All of this changes in a matter of hours when three strangers separately enter her life - a mysterious lady, a handsome thief, and a prince (princes don't need adjectives).

Strengths: The evil aunt is given a reason for being evil - not an excuse, but the reader understands a bit better why she behaves the way she does. She's also not entirely irredeemable. Basically, she's a villain with a little bit of depth. Nice to see, and not something required of a Cinderella retelling. So, points for that.

Lucinda was interesting. The plot was compelling - I did want to know how it turned out (ok, mostly I wanted to see the bad guy vanquished and find out what boy she ended up with). I laughed in a few places. I was invested.


Yes, but. You knew this was coming.

I have to question if any fantasy elements were even necessary. I honestly don't think they were. This could have been written as a simple historical fairy tale (minus the, er, fairy bits) and, frankly, I think it would have been a stronger story for it. Alternate realities? Preternatural goats that that verge on magical, but are left without explanation whatsoever? There was a whole secondary world built up here, and very little need. It's like normal evil wasn't evil enough and needed to be ramped up with magic evil. And, ok, if magic was needed, why the alternate reality? Why go to the trouble? It's not like the powers were all that special to require that.
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29 of 39 people found the following review helpful By R. B. Scott on March 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
My 15-year-old daughter, Bailey, recently wrote this review of The Amaranth Enchantment:

By R.Bailey Scott

Original, relatable, humorous, and fantastic do not begin to describe the fresh, yet masterful, prose of Julie Berry, author of The Amaranth Enchantment. The story grabs you within the opening lines:

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

"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."

When it ends 306 pages later, you will find yourself asking for more.

The Amaranth Enchantment follows the captivating story of fifteen-year-old Lucinda Chapdelaine as she struggles to find herself and replace the sense of family she lost when here parents died.

Sent to live with an evil aunt, Lucinda works as her house servant until one day when a mysterious stranger arrives at her uncle's jewel shop and sets her off on a magical journey full of astonishing twists and turns, temporary disappointments and joy.

The story line is fast-paced and exciting, and the plot unique and intricate, something rarely found in fairy tales. While headed toward a happy-ever-after-ending, the book entertains and amuses with many laugh-out loud moments, while still revealing a depth of understanding about loneliness, home, and discovering one's sense of purpose.

While the focus is on Lucinda's adventures and victories, Berry inserts the character of a predictable prince, for, as she puts it, "What's a fairy-tale without a prince?
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