Publication: May 2012 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Rating: 3.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I liked it
It isn’t easy being Sunday’s child, not when you’re the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.
When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night, Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland — and a man Sunday’s family despises.
The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction to this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past – and hers?
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis is like a love story to fairy tales. The original story, which at it’s heart is a remix of The Princess and the Frog fairy tale, manages to include so many shout-outs to other fairy tales that it’s amazing – Jack and the Beanstalk and Cinderella are very prominent.
Sunday is the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter and she’s a bit more magical than she ever guessed. The daughter of a woodcutter, Sunday lives at home with her father, mother, three of her sisters (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) and two of her brothers (Trix and Peter). Spending a lot of her time in the wood, Sunday meets a talking frog – obviously an enchanted man. After a kiss on the head one evening as Sunday leaves to go home, the spell is broken and Prince Rumbold – the frog – returns home. Determined to convince Sunday to love him as a man, even though her family hates his, he throws three elaborate balls. During the nights of celebration magic and plots are running wild and Sunday is in for more adventure than simply falling in love could provide.
At the beginning of the book is the poem that details the personalities of children born on certain days of the week, and each of the Woodcutter girls personify the day of the week they’re named after very well. At first I thought reading about characters named after the days of the week would be slightly confusing (especially because there are so many of them), but Alethea Kontis writes voice very well, and it was easy to keep all the sisters apart. Their emotions, speech and mannerisms are very distinct. Really the main thing regarding the characters I found confusing was their ages. Trix, older than Sunday (whom I’m assuming is in her late teens if not older) often seems to have the maturity of a six-year old. Sunday also says at one point that she never met her oldest brother Jack, so the differences in their ages must be very great, yet the parents do not seem to be old at all. Most of this can be attributed to the faerie elements to the story, I suppose; long lives and youthful appearances.
Prince Rumbold’s scenes at the beginning are quite…choppy? Rumbold is recovering from being a frog, but he’s also seeing things, hearing things, his fairy-godmother Sorrow is doing something to his father the king to keep him young, magic is running wild and it’s all very confusing. The scenes are full of abrupt shifts in places and thought processes, and so much alluding to things that had happened before Rumbold was a frog but that he doesn’t remember, that I was just as confused as he is. The good thing is that things get less confusing very quickly, as his memory returns and the story begins to focus on Rumbold and Sunday, and the three balls. There is a lot of hinting at bad things that happened during the year before Rumbold become a frog that never really get answered, which left me very curious and kind of disappointed since I wanted to know the details. A huge plus in Rumbold’s scenes? Erik and Velius, Rumbold’s guard and cousin, have hilarious banter. They are definitely the comic relief!
The ending of Enchanted by Alethea Kontis is so great. There’s this huge big scene with magic spells, giants, love, sadness and maybe even a happily ever after. And though I found a few parts confusing, or unclear, as a whole the story is a brilliant remix and retake on traditional fairy tales. Alethea Kontis put her own spin on the classics and created a world where anything can, and will, happen. Magic is a way of life in the Prince Rumbold’s kingdom, and Sunday’s life quickly becomes more exciting than she could have ever imagined. It’s the details in the writing that make this world come alive, and I would be happy to read more fairy tale stories set in the same world. I feel there is much more that can be explored!
ARC received from Thomas Allen & Son Ltd. in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!