A review by Maria.
A big thanks to the author of The Enchanted Rose, Nadia Nader for allowing Fangirls Read It First to read and give a honest review of her book.
When Vivian loses her mother, her father ships her off to live in Misty Hills with two aunts she never knew existed. She finds everyone in her aunts’ town to be a bit odd and discovers her aunts are even more eccentric. As she gets to know her aunts, she uncovers two long hidden secrets: She has an identical twin sister and her family is cursed. Vivian scoffs at the idea of a curse, but quickly learns there is much more to Misty Hills than she ever could have imagined. With both her aunts and twin behaving mysteriously and cold around her, Vivian sets out to uncover more of her mother’s secrets and maybe put a stop to the curse.
I liked Vivian’s maturity with her situation through this book. Just her mother dying and her father shipping her off alone would be very real reasons for Vivian to lose her cool and freak out, but she deals. Even while meeting a whole new branch of her family and finding a sister hidden away from her all her life – she still deals. She does have moments of legitimately freaking out, but mostly she focuses on what she can do to make things better. How she can get to know her sister? How she can uncover the secrets? How she can stop this curse? How she can stop the mean girl squad at school and get the cute boy to notice her, for some extra teenage angst? I liked how it took her actually seeing the mysterious things in action for her to finally lose it. But with seeing came believing and she finally understood why all these secrets were kept from her and maybe why everyone around her keeps their distance.
This novel is short and moved very fast. There was a very Gothic and dark feel to it. Add in a dash of romance and the supernatural element and this book turned into a delightfully fascinating read. All the secrets made this book a great paranormal mystery and kept me intrigued until the very end. I can’t to wait to find out how this story evolves more in the next books in this series!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
The Enchanted Rose
Genre: YA Paranormal
Number of pages: 135
Word Count: Roughly 45,000
Cover Artist: Consuelo Parra
When Vivian’s mother dies in a tragic accident, Vivian’s world is turned upside down. Her life, as she knows it, is over. A new life, full of her mother’s secrets, begins…
Sent away by her father to live with two eccentric aunts on the mysterious Tremaine Estate, Vivian comes to learn that a powerful curse lurks over her family – one that only she may have the power to break. With each day she spends in Misty Hills, Vivian uncovers more unsettling discoveries about the town, her reclusive family, and herself.
Can Vivian let go of every truth she’s ever believed and discover who she really is, before the dark secrets hidden within the supernatural town threaten to consume her and those she loves?
Available at Amazon and Kobo
“Actually, I lived abroad. I just moved back to the US. My dad sent me to live with my aunts when my…” My breath hitched. I couldn’t say the words aloud. The bus driver gave me a sympathetic look in the mirror. I realized he must have noticed me carrying the urn. I sank lower in my seat, staring out the window at the dreary landscape. Grey clouds covered the sun and bleached the color out of our surroundings. The only familiar thing at the moment was the fog rolling over the hills. It reminded me of San Francisco, where I’d lived the last few months. I had been so excited to move there. How could I have known it would end in such tragedy?
“Well, Misty Hills may not be the most exciting place to live, but there are plenty of stories about it.”
“What kind of stories?” I had tried googling it, but the search engine hadn’t yielded much information. It was as if that one town in Colorado were cut off from all technology.
“All sorts of things. There are rumors that the original founders of the town were runaway witches from Salem. You know, from the Salem witch hunts back in the day?”
“Really?” I felt pretty skeptical. “So, they’re superstitious?”
“A little. I’ve heard all kinds of wild tales about the goings-on in Misty Hills. Too many crazy stories, but I guess the sources aren’t the most reputable. Try to take in as much as you can right now because we’re arriving around the time the sun sets.”
I hadn’t believed my father was serious about sending me away until he instructed me to get on the bus. I begged to stay with him, but he was adamant. I got angry and threatened to run away as soon as I arrived at my aunts’ house. He asked me to come to terms with what had happened. What about me? I thought. Don’t I get to have some time to get used to having lost my mother? Do I have to lose my father too?
A couple of pots were bubbling atop the stove emitting delicious smells. My mouth watered, and I realized how long it had been since I’d had a home-cooked meal. My father and I had lived on ready-made meals since mother’s passing. I briefly wondered how my father would manage without me there to make sure he ate. I blinked back the tears that threatened to spill over.
“Have a seat at the table.” My aunt gestured to a cozy table along the wall. Two places had been set. With an efficient stride and swoop, she took a seat. “I’ve made beef stew with vegetables and rice.”
“It smells delicious.” Despite the lump in my throat and rock in my stomach, I salivated.
With a serving spoon, Aunt Agnes scooped rice onto my plate and added a healthy helping of stew alongside it. She did the same for her plate and then sat watching me as I raised a spoon to my mouth.
I took a bite and reveled in the taste. She smiled at my blissful reaction. The smile softened her face, making her appear kinder.
“This is amazing.”
“Thank you.” The smile disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared. Her face clouded over again. “We take turns cooking here. Beatrice actually made that. Of the three of us, she’s the better cook.”
“I can cook too, if you like. I used to cook for my parents sometimes. Mom taught me some family recipes.”
Aunt Agnes studied me for a few seconds. “That would be nice. It’s good to give Beatrice a break from time to time.”
We ate the rest of our meal in silence. The beef stew filled my stomach and warmth spread across my body. In the cozy atmosphere of the kitchen, with pots bubbling across the countertop, I almost felt content for the first time that week. Before I could enjoy it for too long, my aunt spoke.
“You won’t be expected to go to school tomorrow. I’ve told them that you’ll start on Friday, so no reason to go and mix them up.” She frowned at me. “I don’t normally encourage slothfulness, but I supposed you could take the day to recover from your travels. If you’d like, you can explore the grounds. You can also go down to town if you wish.”
I nodded gratefully.
“Is there anything you would like to ask me?” Aunt Agnes peered at me down her thin nose.
“Yes.” I hesitated, not sure it was the right time to ask. Then I decided to take the plunge and pose the question that had been bothering me since I’d found out I was being sent to live with them. “Why didn’t my mother ever mention she had sisters?”
If I hadn’t been intent on observing her reaction, I would have missed the fleeting expression of anger and grief that crossed her face. But I was watching closely.
That expression disappeared quickly, and she looked back at me in disapproval, her face becoming more pinched looking. Her lips thinned to a white line until they almost disappeared. The silence went on long enough for it to become awkward. Soon, all I could hear was the loud ticking of the grandfather clock.
When I thought I couldn’t bear the tension any longer, my aunt finally spoke. “Your mother never mentioned us because she was desperate to break free. Mentioning us would have made her escape futile.” She looked at me with an intensity that made me lightheaded. “As it is, you are back with us, so she never managed to truly escape.”
Aunt Beatrice hovered near the table. Her hand clutched the necklace that hung across her chest. “There you are, Vivian! You found her quickly, Agnes! Please, have a seat, before the food gets cold. We usually eat in the kitchen, but it’s nice to use the dining room, especially on special occasions such as this.”
“Of course, the girl probably won’t show up for lunch, regardless,” Aunt Agnes said, taking her seat.
“She’ll meet Vivian sure enough. They’ll go to school together tomorrow.” Aunt Beatrice fussed at the table and began to serve the meal. “Vivian, you’ll only have a few days in school, and then you’ll be off. You’ll get a chance to familiarize yourself with Misty Hills over the winter break. I can show you around the town if you’d like.”
“The girl can show her around.”
“Who’s the other girl?” I asked. I spooned food onto my plate with enthusiasm. Everything looked and smelled delicious. “Is she my cousin?”
The sudden silence made me glance up.
Aunt Beatrice held a hand over her open mouth. Aunt Agnes had tightened her lips in a thin white line. As I looked back and forth between them, Aunt Beatrice’s features assumed an expression of pity while Aunt Agnes continued to look stormy. My hands tingled in apprehension.
They spoke at the same time, saying the words that forever changed my life.
“I’m Vivian. Are you the one I saw last night?” I felt uncomfortable at how his eyes roved over my face as if trying to memorize my features.
He arched an eyebrow. “Where?”
“Here, walking in the gardens.”
“No. I wasn’t in the gardens last night.”
Of course it couldn’t have been him. The figure had been slighter than him. Even in the dark, I was able to see that much.
The boy in front of me was tall, with wavy brown hair that was streaked with sun-kissed blond. His laughing eyes were a warm chocolate brown. He looked about my age.
He tilted his head at me, giving me a similar look to the one Declan and Skyler had given me the previous night.
“Is there something on my face?” I asked peevishly. I brushed a long strand of hair behind my ear. His attention was caught by the action. I used my hands to pull my loose hair back into a makeshift bun, tying it around itself in a knot.
“No. You just remind me of someone. She has a bad temper, too.”
“I don’t have a bad temper,” I protested. Strands of hair fell across my face. I blew at them in exasperation.
“She argues a lot, too. When she bothers to talk, that is. She usually keeps to herself.” He gave a lazy grin.
“I don’t argue a lot,” I argued.
He laughed at that. Realizing I had proven his point, I smiled sheepishly.
“What is this place?” I asked, trying to divert attention away from myself.
He looked at me with renewed interest. “Is this your first time here?”
“It’s my first day here. My aunts told me to go exploring. They told me the grounds were huge, but I didn’t realize they were this big.”
“As long as you don’t go wandering in the woods, you should be okay.” He leaned against the statue, crossing his long legs.
“That’s what they said, too.” My eyebrows knit together. “Are there animals in the forest?”
“Some. There can be some nasty surprises in there. It’s not safe unless you know the place. And even then, it’s better to stay away just to be on the safe side.”
About the Author:
Nadia Nader lives in Kuwait with her family.
You can contact Nadia on her blog.
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