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Search tags: Rene-Denfeld
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review 2017-06-15 20:44
Disturbing and unsettling search for a lost child
The Child Finder - Rene Denfeld

A sixth sense and a highly tuned instinct are the qualities that Naomi Cottle is blessed with that allow her to find the missing children. Madison Culver has disappeared in the snowy forests of Northern Oregon when accompanying her parents in the search for the perfect Christmas tree. Naomi is determined to find Madison and in the process will encounter some painful memories from her distant pass. The snow girl is protected by Mr B and as this relationship unfolds the intention of the guardian gives the reader real cause for concern....."The day after the girl had slept in his bed for the first time, B had come back from trapping and sat on the edge of the bed...."


There is a strange, almost dreamlike quality to the storytelling. The author in this detached form of communication with the reader creates a very uneasy and unsettling image of neglected and disturbed children..."it is better for a child to attach to an abuser than to experience the blind hole of neglect."... Naomi travels to the endearingly named Stubbed Toe Creek and with the help of Ranger Dave hopes to unravel the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the young Madison Culver. Is there a connection with the snow girl? Will recently realized childhood memories help Naomi in her painful search for the missing child?...."What were you running from, then? she had asked. Monsters, was all that Naomi could remember. And to this day, outside the hints in her dreams, it was all she could remember still." Many thanks to the good people at netgalley for sending me a gratis copy in exchange for an honest review and that is what I have written.

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text 2015-11-12 05:14
The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld
The Enchanted - Rene Denfeld

Wow. Just wow! This book has everything I want in a book. Phenomenal writing, fantastic plot, intriguing characters, and a genius to it that is rarely ever found in a book. 


Rene Denfeld did an amazing job in writing this book. She asks questions that most people are too afraid to ask. Like are monster worth saving? Should we have empathy towards them? And should they be called monsters in the first place? These are all questions that I have asked countless times and the answer is, ultimately, up to you.


I fell in love with the voice of the narrator. This person just melts my heart. I sympathized with everything he went through, and his love for books mirrored my own so much that I just nodded whenever he went on a romantic soliloquy about his favorite books and the library.


I cannot praise this book enough. Read it. It's different in its type of story telling, but that just adds so much more to the experience. There's a lot of violence and rape in this book so keep that in mind when venturing in, but it is definitely worth the read.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-10-23 18:17
The Enchanted - Rene Denfeld

There’s something beautiful about the death row inmate who imagines golden horses running through the prison beneath him and magical birds looming just outside. The main character in Rene Denfeld’s The Enchanted is a murderer… but also a poet.

As he waits out his final days of life in a jail cell, the narrator has little else to do but observe and fantasize. He notices the corruption amongst the guards and how easily the prisoners can be bought or sold into submission. He also notices the priest and the lady investigator, who if they were smart, would never have stepped foot in that horrible place. She digs through the criminals’ pasts looking for anything that might exonerate them. The priest, fallen, thinks he can redeem himself by offering some amount of comfort to the damned. Sadly, however, there is no comfort to be found for the tortured souls on death row. Even when the lady finds all the evidence she needs to free an inmate, his mental state is such that he’d rather die instead.

This book is filled with stunning imagery and attention to detail, such as leaving the main characters nameless and making many references to the irrelevance and superficiality of names. And, as if the words themselves weren’t striking enough, Denfeld gave me another reason to love this novel by giving the mentally ill death row inmate a love for books. Learning to read and get lost in a story gave him the ability to see what an enchanted place prison could be and this magic is what made his final days acceptable.

It’s hard to describe such a beautifully written story in words that do it any justice, so I’m just going to force you all to read it, particularly if you like poetic prose, and definitely if you are the kind of person who finds beauty in pain.

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review 2015-09-27 03:39
The Enchanted
The Enchanted - Rene Denfeld

This is a difficult book to review. I can barely explain what it’s about let alone tell you why I love it.


The Enchanted is narrated by an omniscient death-row inmate. He’s an unusual guy. He believes that golden horses live under the prison, men live inside the walls, and creatures come out to steal the warmth from the urns of cremated prisoners. The unnamed narrator tells the story of the prison and the people who live and work there.


I’ve always struggled with adult literary fiction because a lot of it is plotless. This book also lacks a strong plot, but the characters are so compelling that I wanted to keep reading. The narrator tells several intertwining stories. One of them is the romance that happens between a death penalty investigator and a fallen priest. Another story is about how a corrupt guard’s greed permanently alters the life of a teenage prisoner. The final major story is about a death-row inmate who is eagerly awaiting his own execution and fighting the efforts to get his death sentence overturned. Through it all, the narrator reveals his own life story and explains how he ended up on death row. It’s hard to tell which stories are real and which are a product of the narrator’s imagination.


The writing in this book is some of the best writing I’ve read in a long time. It’s eerie. I especially love the descriptions of the cremations and the creatures that come out to hug the warm urns. I thought about those creepy creatures for a long time after finishing the book.


This story is brutal. There is rape and murder and many forms of abuse. Most of the characters are horrible people, but the author humanizes them. They aren’t likeable at all, but it’s easy for the reader to understand how the characters ended up in prison. The death-row inmates are not one-dimensional monsters. They are complex (and profoundly screwed-up) humans. All of the characters are realistic and fascinating to read about.


The ending is haunting. No matter what your opinions are about the death penalty, the ending will make you think. It’s powerful in a quiet sort of way.


I do have an issue with how this book is advertised. I read the book because I saw it labeled as ‘magical realism’ on a website, but I don’t think ‘magical realism’ is an accurate label. This book is not like other stories I’ve read in that genre. I think that people who go into the book wanting magical realism will be disappointed. All of the magic seems to happen in the narrator’s head. He uses it as a way to cope with being in a terrible environment. So, I’d recommend abandoning all of your expectations before starting the book.


This bizarre little story is one of the best things I’ve read in a long time. If you’re okay with slower-paced books, I’d highly recommend this one.

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review 2015-02-16 16:50
Review | The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld
The Enchanted - Rene Denfeld



The entire theme is that even monsters have a story. This one is set within a prison and told by a inmate on death row. We also see stories from York, a prisoner with his execution date nearing, and the lady (an investigator) who falls in love with the priest. There is no other way to describe this book other than that it’s a dark tale from a unstable perspective.  




  • Overall I mostly enjoyed the writing style. I have a little nitpick about it that I’ll mention in the cons, but I still did like it. It was poetic and had a good flow to it. One that gave enough detail to paint a picture but not too much as to overwhelm the reader. It had a good balance.


  • The perspective and theme to this story is so unique and is my favorite part of the book. You don’t see a lot of books like this, touching on such a darker side of humanity, and doing it with such magical like etiquette. This is the entire reason I picked up the book in the first place.


  • A few times while reading I stopped to think, and that’s a good thing. There are little thought provoking lines in there that seem to effortlessly placed. A job well done in that aspect.




  • The narrating is a bit confusing. I wasn’t clear if it was the inmate was narrating the entire time (and thus probably improvising/making up much of the story) or if it switched to an omniscient viewpoint to tell the lady and priest’s story.


  • The similes were overdone at times. Sometimes they just felt out of place or forced, and sometimes I didn’t even get what was trying to be described. The writing itself even felt…forced at times. As if it was trying to be grand while that’s just something that should happen.


  • My biggest con about this book is that it just got boring. I was basically skimming at the end just to be able to finish it. There was no push for me to want to finish the book. I didn’t care about what happened to the characters, and I want a book to make me care. It fell flat for me. I just didn’t care despite how much I wanted to, which is a real shame; because this was one I was really looking forward to reading. I felt like more could have been done.


I would recommend to


Anyone who wants something different to read. This is a decent short read with a unique perspective. If you’re wanting something different, and darker, to read, this would be it. The warning I have is it does deal in some heavy issues like abuse and rape and so forth. While it doesn't go into excessive details it's definitely not glossed over, so such things may be unappealing or trigger provoking for sensitive audiences. 


Final verdict


It was okay. I didn’t not like and I didn’t love it, it was just okay. If it sounds interesting to you and you want to pick it up, great, do so! But if it doesn’t sound like your type of read you’re not missing out on anything fantastic.

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