Title: The Enchanted
Author: Rene Denfeld
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Acquired Via: TLC Book Tours
The lady, an investigator who excels at uncovering information to save her clients from execution . . .
The fallen priest, beaten down by his guilt over a terrible sin and its tragic consequences . . .
The warden, a kind man within a cruel system . . .
The mute prisoner, sensing what others cannot in what he calls "this enchanted place" . . .
The enchanted place is an ancient stone prison. Two outsiders walk here: a woman known only as the lady, and a fallen priest. The lady comes to the prison when she has a job to do. She's skilled at finding the secrets that get men off death row. This gift threatens her career—and complicates her life—when she takes on the case of York, a killer whose date of execution looms. York is different from the lady's former clients: he wants to die. Going against the condemned man's wishes, the lady begins her work. What she uncovers about York's birth and upbringing rings chillingly familiar. In York's shocking and shameful childhood, the lady sees the shadows of her own.
The lady is watched by a death row inmate who finds escape in the books he reads from the prison library and by reimagining the world he inhabits—a world of majestic golden horses that stampede underground and of tiny men who hammer away inside stone walls. He is not named, nor do we know his crime. But he listens. He listens to York's story. He sees the lady fall in love with the priest and wonders how such warmth is possible in these crumbling corridors. As tensions in "this enchanted place" build, he sees the corruption and the danger. And he waits as the hour of his own destiny approaches.
The Enchanted is a magical novel about redemption, the poetry that can exist within the unfathomable, and the human capacity to transcend and survive even the most nightmarish reality. Beautiful and unexpected, this is a memorable story.
Usually when I go into a book expecting one thing and getting another, it is not a good thing. However, what I found in Rene Denfeld's The Enchanted was something better than anything I could have possibly imagined this novel to be. I went in believing that it was some sort of magical realism, but in truth, the only magic in The Enchanted is Denfeld's beautiful writing.
You should know that none of the main characters are given names except in passing well into the book. Only the secondary characters that flit through the novel seem to have identities. This worked out so well for me because I know very little about the judicial system when it comes to death row inmates. I went into The Enchanted as I go into most news articles about penitentiaries: everyone is faceless and nameless except some officer accused of malfeasance, a murderer who is celebritized for their crime (yet becomes faceless and nameless once the media circus ends), the lawyers, and the victims. By the end, there was so much humanity given to these people. They were good and evil and shades of gray and made real to me. I got to see the person who had committed the most atrocious crime that was only alluded to become a man who had a certain gentleness that I shared a love of books with. The Enchanted made me stop and think, and I loved that about the book.
Flowery writing is not my thing ninety-nine instances out of one hundred, but the heavy usage of analogies in The Enchanted really worked in the telling of the story. It made the narrator become more than his crime, and it made me realize that there is beauty to be found in anyone's home, even if it's in the basement of a prison. The narrator called his home "an enchanted place" and found magic in his surroundings where so many others could and would not. The way he described it pulled at my heart because the system that encompassed his present life and his past was so broken and failed him time and again.
The Enchanted is an amazing book, and I think anyone would do well to read it. It's not a long book and a quick read, so I hope many of you will give it a chance. Sometimes it's important for us to read books to learn things, and The Enchanted certainly has something to tell us about the American justice system and how desperately it needs to be fixed.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Fishpond
About the Author
Rene Denfeld is an internationally bestselling author, journalist, Mitigation Specialist, and fact Investigator in death penalty cases. She has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Oregonian, and the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a published author of four books including the international bestseller The New Victorians: A Young Woman’s Challenge to the Old Feminist Order, Kill The Body, The Head Will Fall, and All God’s Children: Inside the Dark and Violent World of Street Families.
Website | Facebook | Goodreads
Follow the Tour
The Enchanted Tour Schedule
Open to addresses in the US or Canada.
Ends at 12:01am on April 17th
a Rafflecopter giveaway
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a copy of the novel from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for an unbiased review. It has in no way affected the outcome. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and courtesy of me.