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review 2018-09-07 17:00
‘Enchantée’ will sweep you off your feet and take you back to 18th-century Paris; this historical fantasy is rich with magic, romance, and even some actual events
Enchantée - Gita Trelease

*Warning: words en Francais may appear sporadically.

 

This book is…enchanting. I didn’t have it on my radar until quite simply everyone seemed to be asking about this novel about two sisters living in Paris during the French Revolution, one with the gift of magic, and with the desperate need to get themselves out of the dire situation they are in. They are poor, with Camille using her magie to turn pieces of metal they find in the dirt into coins, while Sophie is ailing, weak with a terrible cough. Their brother Alain is a drunkard and cruel, deeply in debt from his gambling, and the sisters just dream of finding a home away from their brother, Sophie perhaps marrying into aristocracy and money, while Camille has dreams of owning a print shop like her deceased father once did.

 

I’m not usually swept up into a book such as this, one that is a spell-binding combination of magic, romance, historical fiction, and fantasy, but although it’s a long book (some parts seemed overly long, and I felt like the whole thing could have been quite a bit shorter), I was entranced by the characters, as well as the setting.

 

Author Gita Trelease has painted a vivid portrait of Paris in the 18th century in ‘Enchantée’, when the contrast between the rich and the poor was stark, and Marie Antoinette was taking court. Readers will be pleased to know that they will served up ‘beacoup de’ servings of what it was like to live as a French aristocrat at that time, as Camille takes on a new persona, as the Baroness de la Fontaine, when she uses her ‘magie glamoire’ to gain entry to Versailles to play and turn cards. While there she rubs elbows with the rich she would otherwise detest, but ends up making friends as she makes enough money to change things for herself and Sophie. She internally struggles with her use of magie and the differences between the rich and the poor at that time, even though she is using it to change her fortune.

 

There’s a ‘rags-to-riches’/Cinderella tale here, a face-off between the handsome suitors (the handsome, devilish rogue, Seguin, and the more reserved but romantic ingenue, Lazare). The book provides a wonderful look at the culture of the time (I absolutely loved all the research obviously done regarding the use of hot-air balloons; that was probably my favorite part), as well as our protagonist wrestling with so many ideals and virtues. This gives a fantastic deeper edge to the book, and gives a real nod to climate preceding the Revolution. The poverty that was experienced by the ‘poor’ thanks to the disparity created by taxes and wheat prices, is fervently clear throughout, and it’s the thing that drives Camille all the way through her saga at Versailles, and pushes her use her magie. But the question is always, is it worth it? And does this make her just like the aristo? I think the answers are a bit murky at the end, despite the ‘happy ending’.

 

I would very much imagine that many of those who have fallen particularly for the setting of belle Paris, have not had the privilege, like myself, of visiting France, and may not even speak much French; the book is addled with short French phrases, for which, Trelease has put a glossary in the back of the book. It may remove a little enjoyment to keep looking things up, if you don’t know the meaning of those words, but my guess is you have rudimentary French knowledge to have interest in the book in the first place. I appreciate the explanation of all the historical facts and figures as they appear in the book, as they are fascinating.

 

The pace of the book picks up rapidly at about half way through the book, which I felt could have been a lot plus rapide; I feel as though a historical fiction/romance is a bit extravagant at close to 500 pages. If you’re looking for a book with lots of action and adventure, this one isn’t it, and thanks to the coy teasing nature of the romantic flirting, even that isn’t super juicy and doesn’t take up a wild amount of those pages. But of the ones that it does, they’re not overdone or too sickly sweet.

 

‘Enchantée’ is a fabulous romantic story set in Revolutionary France and I’d say ‘vas-y’ (that means go for it), if you’re enamored by historical romance at all. This has a sumptuous setting, unique voice, and made a change in all the YA I’d read lately.


By the way, Paris remains one of my most favorite cities today; take a plane and read ‘Enchantée on the way (sorry that you have to wait until February for it, malheureusement)!

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/36613718-enchant-e
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review 2018-07-21 00:52
The ultimate reading resource
The Read-Aloud Handbook: Seventh Edition - Jim Trelease

Every now and again when I receive new books to shelve, I come across one (or quite a few) that I pull aside to read for myself. That's how I stumbled upon today's book. The Read-Aloud Handbook (7th Edition) by Jim Trelease immediately caught my eye for no other reason than I'm a giant nerd for my profession. :-D The first half of the book is a discussion about the importance of reading and more specifically reading aloud to children from birth to...forever. This is not just Trelease's personal opinion but is backed up by extensive research and a plethora of data on the topic. However, it's not all technical jargon replete with charts and numbers. He uses examples from his own childhood which he describes as 'print rich' with a father who modeled reading habits as well as read to him on a regular basis. He was also fortunate to have a teacher that read aloud to the class each day. (This is a rarity in schools because of the rigorous standardized testing schedules and something I strongly contest.) He also received encouragement from a teacher who sent a note home to his parents praising his behavior and writing capability. (That really can make all the difference, folks!) Trelease also talks about the rearing of his children and their nightly routine of book reading.  Perhaps the most compelling parts of this book are the firsthand narratives of the significance of reading aloud throughout childhood and the benefits gained from it. It is chock full of anecdotes from principals, teachers, parents, and librarians and how they did their part to guide the children in their lives to become lifelong learners and readers. I've used quite a few of the 'tips and tricks' that he discusses like using ebooks and audiobooks for visually impaired and illiterate parents in the workshops and one-on-one discussions I've had with parents in my community. (P.S. Wordless picture books are another great resource.) Whether you're a professional in the field of library sciences or education or simply trying to create a love of reading in your own children this is a must have. I bought a copy for myself before I'd even finished reading it! 10/10

 

Oh and did I mention that the second half contains a Treasury of books subdivided by reading comprehension, age group, genre, and best books for reading aloud? WHY AREN'T YOU READING THIS YET? 

 

What's Up Next: The House with a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2012-12-10 00:00
The Read-Aloud Handbook
The Read-Aloud Handbook - Jim Trelease This should be required reading for every parent and teacher.
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review 2011-05-09 00:00
The Read-Aloud Handbook - Jim Trelease I had read this in the 1980's, when I was working toward becoming a teacher. But I wanted to read it again, now that I have a child of my own. This newer version covers new technologies that didn't exist in the 80's. The information on the power of books, the ways to make them attractive, and the ways in which a reader's interest can be sabotaged was all good, although not new to me and mucch of it common sense. It's hard to believe (and a bit scary) that there are teachers and parents out there who don't know this stuff. The best part of the book is the extensive and well-written reading list. Well worth perusing.
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