Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry: Review

Posted January 17, 2011 by Emily in book review, Uncategorized / 2 Comments

Secondhand Charm
By: Julie Berry
Review Copy received from Bloomsbury USA

Summary (from Goodreads): In a secluded village, magic sparkles on the edges of the forest. There, a young girl named Evie possesses unusually strong powers as a healer. A gypsy’s charms—no more than trinkets when worn by others—are remarkably potent when Evie ties them around her neck. Her talents, and charms, have not escaped the notice of the shy stonemason’s apprentice. But Evie wants more than a quiet village and the boy next-door. When the young king’s carriage arrives one day, and his footman has fallen ill, Evie might just get her chance after all . . .

Berry’s debut novel garnered glowing reviews and strong sales—and now she’s done it again with a beautifully woven tale to keep all readers, young and old, absolutely charmed.

My Review: Younger readers will enjoy this fun, lighthearted story about a girl with big dreams and ambitions who suddenly finds out that everything she thought she knew about herself and her past isn’t true.

I had previously read and reviewed Julie Berry’s debut novel The Amaranth Enchantment (link). While I found the story delightful, I think I needed just a little more to push me over the edge to loving it.  I feel very much the same about this book.

Evie is a great heroine with strong ambitions and talents. I love a girl that is smart and knows what she wants. However, once we get into the story and add in a secondary character that is her familiar of sorts, I became a little disenchanted.  Frankly, her relationship with her familiar fellow was a little weird. I understood that they are bound to each other and require each other for survival, but her introduction to him and the way he latched on was just a tad over the top.  However, once they are introduced and the story continues, a lot of those feelings mellowed out and the little guy grew on me.

At about Chapter 24, or halfway through the book I started to really get engaged in the story. Plot was flowing, intrigue was beginning to take place, and I loved the addition of Rudolpho and Alfonso, the actors, to the story.  Evie’s friendship with Annalise reminded me a lot of the relationship between Ani and Selia in The Goose Girl (which I loved). Annalise definitely has the gift of people-speaking, and she was a very nicely developed character.

As I said before, while I really enjoyed this book, I wanted a lot more back-story and information about Evie’s leviathan. If you’ve been reading my reviews for awhile, you probably know how much I love a well-built story world.

However, this book is a perfect pick for those that love middle-grade fantasy. Another bonus? It’s a stand-alone novel, which means no waiting for sequels!

My Rating:

Profanity: None
Sexuality: None
Drugs and Alcohol: None
Violence: None

Book-a-likes: Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George  


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