Wednesday, March 19, 2014

BLOG TOUR: The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

Title: The Enchanted
Author: Rene Denfeld
Genre: Adult Magic Realism/Fiction
Publisher: Harper
Release Date: March 1/2014
Acquired:  Print ARC provided by publisher
Goodreads: ADD

A wondrous and redemptive debut novel, set in a stark world where evil and magic coincide, The Enchanted combines the empathy and lyricism of Alice Sebold with the dark, imaginative power of Stephen King.

"This is an enchanted place. Others don't see it, but I do."

The enchanted place is an ancient stone prison, viewed through the eyes of a death row inmate who finds escape in his books and in re-imagining life around him, weaving a fantastical story of the people he observes and the world he inhabits. Fearful and reclusive, he senses what others cannot. Though bars confine him every minute of every day, he marries magical visions of golden horses running beneath the prison, heat flowing like molten metal from their backs, with the devastating violence of prison life.

Two outsiders venture here: a fallen priest, and the Lady, an investigator who searches for buried information from prisoners' pasts that can save those soon-to-be-executed. Digging into the background of a killer named York, she uncovers wrenching truths that challenge familiar notions of victim and criminal, innocence and guilt, honor and corruption-ultimately revealing shocking secrets of her own.

Beautiful and transcendent, The Enchanted reminds us of how our humanity connects us all, and how beauty and love exist even amidst the most nightmarish reality.


This was not an easy book to read, not by any stretch of the imagination. It was unwavering in it's graphic depictions of unspeakable acts, and there were times I literally put the book down, sat back, and wondered how it could be possible that I live in a world filled with so many disturbed minds. That's why, by the conclusion of The Enchanted, I was completely confused by the experience I just had, because between the moments of heinous acts, what I found in these pages was an absolutely captivating feel of..magic.

Rene Denfeld reached into a pile of topics, and pulled up one that, not only was she HIGHLY familiar with (being a fact collector in death penalty cases herself), but one that sounded like the least appealing thing to read about on this planet: the lives, acts, and pasts of men on death row. I may be speaking for myself, but reading about incidents of rape, molestation, and abuse is one of THE hardest narratives for me to get through. I have to take serious breaks in my reading, for fear of the content horribly consuming both my waking and dreaming worlds. But The Enchanted had me covering my eyes, and then slowly peaking out from behind them when the narrator began to speak about the magic contained within the walls of this prison. Magic that only the main character could see, was the only one to truly appreciate: the golden horses with manes made of free flowing lava, charging and stampeding below his feet; the little men with hammers that clamber between his walls with excitement, and then fall silent in mischief. It was all unbelievably enthralling. There are few times I have been in such awe of what an author has created.

There were few characters called by their actual names, and that only added to the "fairytale" like tone. We were introduced to inmates by the names of York, or Striker, or Risk. The characters outside of the inmates were known as The Lady, or The Priest, or the ever-loving Warden. I felt innately attached to the personalities in The Enchanted, but found myself most drawn to the narrator-though with much trepidation, because I was yet to know of his crimes. I wanted him to be protected. I wanted the best possible outcome for him, even though I knew he definitely didn't deserve it. We don't find out much about our imaginative narrator, even his name wasn't revealed until the very end (his identity was one I did NOT see coming!).

I have never felt so conflicted about a book. The Enchanted will test your tolerance for reading about pure human evil, and then take your hand, and guide you along a sea of fantastical notions, and whimsical ideas. I wanted to hate almost every character in this book, but I couldn't, there wasn't room in my heart for hate by the end. Rene Denfeld did the unimaginable when she penned this narrative, she gave hope and promise to those in our world who least deserve it, and with her efforts, shed a whole new light in my life as well. This is a book to be experienced by all, though not for the faint of heart, or maybe..especially for those.

Recommended for fans of: Alice Seabold, Wally Lamb, magic realism, graphic content, controversial issues.


Read all about Rene Denfeld on her BIO PAGE HERE.

Contact Links


Thank-you to Trish from TLC Book Tours for hosting this tour, and to Harper for sending me a print copy to review!

CLICK HERE to follow the rest of the tour

1 comment:

  1. That's the amazing thing: the main character manages to find some beauty in such a dingy, soul-sucking place. I'll never forget this book!

    Thanks for being on the tour!


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