Hardcover, 416 pages
Published August 21st 2012 by Walker Childrens
Emmeline Thistle, a dirt-scratcher’s daughter, has escaped death twice-first, on the night she was born, and second, on the day her entire village was swept away by flood. Left with nothing and no one, Emmeline discovers her rare and mysterious ability-she can churn milk into chocolate, a delicacy more precious than gold.
Suddenly, the most unwanted girl in Anglund finds herself desired by all. But Emmeline only wants one-Owen Oak, a dairyman’s son, whose slow smiles and lingering glances once tempted her to believe she might someday be loved for herself. But others will stop at nothing to use her gift for their own gains-no matter what the cost to Emmeline.
Magic and romance entwine in this fantastical world where true love and chocolate conquer all.
The Sweetest Spell may not be the best book out there but it does leave with a warm feeling that you usually only get after you consume gooey chocolatey fudge. The book is an interesting mixture of historical elements, fairy tale with some modern twists and thoughts thrown in for good measure.
There are many things I liked about it. The main character starts out as a timid and beaten down both by life and fate. Her growth and evolution throughout the book is a pleasure to read. Wed to her growth is the gradual realization of her worth, not just as a person but as a Kell. Her ancestry, her people’s history as a race and as true owners of the land on which they are treated as outcasts makes for an interesting read. It also gives the novel more substance, showing the importance of history and the people who narrate it. How we shape and view history is directly affected by the people who write it down. It makes for a sobering realization when you think about it. What we know about the past may not be what actually happened but it may be what the people who wrote it down want us to remember.
The novel also shows us greed, corruption, oppression of the poor by the rich. On the other hand, it also shows the better side of human nature. The romance is sweet and not overpowering. The cows are very cute and while their attraction to the main character is not deeply delved into, I liked how they are a constant presence in the book but never in a way that subsumes the overarching narrative. There is no super-cow. Most awesome is how chocolate is lauded as a magic asset that gives happiness to everyone who eats it.
And I, a big fan of chocolate, agree. Conclusion? I liked the book a lot. It’s one of those satisfactory reads that leaves you smiling. I can’t wait to read more of Selfor’s books. Recommended.