A Fragile Enchantment

Wednesday Bks. Jan. 2024. 384p. Tr $20. ISBN 9781250892836.
Gr 7 Up–Niamh Ó Conchobhair is a magical dressmaker with the ability to sew memories and emotions into her wares. She is invited to make a dress for the upcoming royal wedding in the Kingdom of Avaland. Her excitement is dashed upon arriving to the new land; the groom, Kit, is pretentious and unwelcoming as he prepares for a ceremony that he believes is more about politics than romance. The attraction that Niamh has for the groom is undeniable and also the subject of the local gossip column. A commoner among properly mannered characters who treat her rudely, Niamh finds herself in the middle of a scandal. Her awkwardness is evident in her interactions. While she has affection for Kit, she is overly giving and seems to sacrifice her beliefs in order to please him. The setting and worldbuilding is magical and has a strong European feel. Saft has included not only great imagery and forbidden romance, but also a coming out and politics; she takes on plenty of topics amidst the romance, making the flow of the novel slightly uneven. Characters are cued white; some are commoners with a background that stems from Machland, which is similar to Ireland based on historical references, while others are royalty.
VERDICT Fans of regency fiction with a touch of magic will enjoy this gossipy romance with plenty of secrets. Recommended.

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