The Amaranth Enchantment
By Julie Berry
Bloomsbury, 2009. 308 pgs. Young Adult
Lucinda Chapdelaine, orphaned when she was five years old, lives with her uncle and her malicious step-aunt, assisting them in their floundering jewelry shop. When the prince, the Amaranth witch, and a strange gem all enter the shop on the same day, Lucinda's life takes off on an unexpected path. Lucinda finds herself on a quest to help the witch and improve her own fate, but she ends up facing forces darker than she dreamed.
This book has some Cinderella elements--Lucinda's fall from fortune, the prince, the ball, and the fairy godmother figure--but it falls flat compared to other fractured fairy tales. Lucinda is a likable enough, but her connection with the prince is undeveloped. The quest element has some interesting twists and turns, but the story just doesn't have enough depth to make it a truly great story. Fairy tale fans looking for a quick read may still enjoy it, though.