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Book Notes: A Fragile Enchantment

Imagine the romance of Bridgerton, with its intrigue and dresses and anonymous gossip column, then add a dash of magic, and you’ll have Allison Saft’s newest YA fantasy, A Fragile Enchantment.

Niamh Ó Conchobhair has been selected to be the royal tailor to His Royal Highness Prince Christopher on the occasion of his betrothal and marriage to the Infanta Rosa during the height of the Avlish social season. Niamh has been chosen not only for the exquisite quality of her work, but also for her magical ability to stitch enchantment into her garments. She can use her gift to craft clothing that coax both the wearer and the beholder into seeing and feeling what she intends. Niamh has also been chosen because she is from Machland—a neighboring island to Avaland, only recently independent after years of colonization and ruthless exploitation—where grievances still run deep. And the Avlish royals like the optics of granting a Machlish person such a distinguished position, hoping it will dampen some of the unrest. Avaland still provides opportunity and money, and Niamh knows she must take this chance to provide for her mother and grandmother, however much they may dislike the means.

When Niamh reaches the royal household, she finds not only beauty right out of the fairy tales she devoured as a child, but also a family at odds with itself, and with the future of the country. Prince Christopher’s marriage is a political one, not a love match, and the longer Niamh spends with him, the more she sees past his prickly, thorny exterior to the young man beneath. She begins to wonder whether the worlds they come from, seemingly so far apart, could ever find some common ground.

The cadence of Allison Saft’s prose enfolded me into her world of magical gifts which come at a cost, enchanted cloaks, and boys with thistles at their fingertips. A world of difficult choices and toxic cycles begging to be broken. A world where love must be brave and go where it wills. A world where you don’t have to be sacrificed or sacrifice yourself to the betterment of the greater good. A world with friends who tell you the hard truths. Allison Saft has crafted a fantasy as intricate and honest and enchanting as one of Niamh’s creations.

Pick a copy up today; it’ll be the perfect book to curl up with while the rain mists away outside!

— Lori