Monday, May 5, 2014

Review: The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

Publisher: Harper
Pages: 256
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Edelweiss

Release Date: March 4, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

A wondrous and redemptive debut novel, set in a stark world where evil and magic coincide, The Enchanted combines the empathy and lyricism of Alice Sebold with the dark, imaginative power of Stephen King.

"This is an enchanted place. Others don't see it, but I do."

The enchanted place is an ancient stone prison, viewed through the eyes of a death row inmate who finds escape in his books and in re-imagining life around him, weaving a fantastical story of the people he observes and the world he inhabits. Fearful and reclusive, he senses what others cannot. Though bars confine him every minute of every day, he marries magical visions of golden horses running beneath the prison, heat flowing like molten metal from their backs, with the devastating violence of prison life.

Two outsiders venture here: a fallen priest, and the Lady, an investigator who searches for buried information from prisoners' pasts that can save those soon-to-be-executed. Digging into the background of a killer named York, she uncovers wrenching truths that challenge familiar notions of victim and criminal, innocence and guilt, honor and corruption-ultimately revealing shocking secrets of her own.

Beautiful and transcendent, The Enchanted reminds us of how our humanity connects us all, and how beauty and love exist even amidst the most nightmarish reality.

My Review:

I think I am going to have a hard time talking about this book, it was such a beautiful story, but written in way that makes it difficult to read at times. The way the story is written is emotional and you really feel the emotions and how scary a place this can be. I absolutely loved the lyrical style of this book, that honestly just took my breath away and had me devour the book in one sitting.

Rene Denfeld brings beauty to such a broken and lonely place through her characters and the way the character gets by. The story is told from the perspective of a man on death row and of his feelings of what he observes of those around him. The character escapes this dark reality by reading books and he lives in his own imagination, as he makes a story about those that he spends every day with.

I thought this was going to be a fantasy type book but even though it's not what I expected it was still such a beautiful story. This is a story that really shows us hope for those that truly have no hope left, and I think it also gives readers a look on the death penalty and makes you wonder about it. There are many different characters that we follow that have such an impact on the lives of these prisoners, there is the priest, and the Lady, who tries to help many of the inmates before they go for execution.

This is such a raw and powerful novel, that really delves into the lives of some of these characters. I would have liked a little more of the Lady's past and that of the warden as well. We do get to see a small glimpse of the Lady's past and learn her own secrets as she digs into York's past. I think this helps show a contrast of how people can both be from a dark place and yet work to turn out differently. The Lady is a perfect example of someone who is in both places, she knows the dark world and yet is also a sign of hope for those who are currently there.

Honestly, this is such a magical book, the writing is beautiful and pulls at your heart. It is a story of love and compassion in the darkest places. Please pick up this book and check it out for yourself, because my review will never do justice to the beauty this story is. 


  1. I just made a CHAPTERS online order and I knew I forgot a book - it was this one. What a great review, it sounds amazing. From what I've heard from many people, it's definitely a magical story.

  2. I keep hearing good things about The Enchanted! I can't wait to read it for myself!



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