The Sweetest Spell

( 34 )

Overview

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 ...

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The Sweetest Spell

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Selfors (Mad Love) offers a delightful spin on classic fairy tales in a story that’s part “The Ugly Duckling,” part “Rumpelstiltskin.” Emmeline Thistle was born a dirt-scratcher’s daughter in the village of Root. Because of her curled foot, she was left to die as a baby. However, Emmeline survived, protected by the local cows, and she gained a strong connection to the animals as a result. After Emmeline’s father is rounded up to fight in a war, she almost drowns in a flood and is saved yet again by the cows, as well as a dairyman’s son, Owen Oak. With Owen, Emmeline discovers she can churn cream into chocolate, a delicacy long gone from the kingdom of Anglund. This magical ability makes Emmeline highly sought after, but she has plans of her own. Selfors’s story line initially comes across as chaotic, but the pacing is strong, and the elements of her tale fall into place in a logical and entirely satisfying manner. An exhilarating, romantic, and frequently funny story of self-discovery. Ages 12–up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Aug.)
VOYA - Dawn Talbott
Emmeline Thistle was supposed to die. When she was born with a deformed foot, the midwife whisked her away from her mother and urged her father to abandon her in the forest to be devoured by wolves. A daughter that could not walk correctly would never be of much use to a farmer who was barely able to scratch a living from the dirt. But Emmeline was saved, by...a cow, and thus began a special relationship between the girl and bovines. When royal soldiers take Emmeline's father, Emmeline does not know if she can survive on her own. Things get worse as her entire town is wiped away by a flood and Emmeline is washed away from the Flatlands. Under the care of the gentle Oak family, Emmeline discovers an ability that makes life even more treacherous for her, and finds that love is not what she thought it would be. Suzanne Selfors has created a classic fairy tale with a fresh feel. The realistic storytelling makes readers feel like they are part of the action, while still creating a fantasy atmosphere. The characters are three-dimensional, and typical fairy tale elements are incorporated, such as magic, castles, and a wicked queen. The narrative is told in alternating points of view of the two lead characters, giving it broad appeal and helping hold readers' interest. Selfors does a fantastic job of creating a world in which readers will believe, yet whisks them away to delicious daydreams. Reviewer: Dawn Talbott
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—A fun and frothy romantic fantasy. Almost abandoned at birth because of a twisted foot, Emmeline has always been an outcast among her people, the Kell. When the king enslaves the men and her village is destroyed in a flood, Emmeline is taken in by Owen Oak and his family. She discovers that she can churn butter into chocolate-a food that's been lost for years in the land of Anglund. Romance blossoms, but the two are separated when the girl is kidnapped for her magical abilities. Short chapters that alternate between Emmeline's and Owen's narrations keep the story moving at a fast clip. Selfors's elegant prose is well suited for depicting both the sweetness of chocolate and of first love. However, there's plenty here for nonromance fans: fights, near misses with death, and even political intrigue when Emmeline ends up at the court of the king and queen of Anglund. The multiple versions of how chocolate disappeared, each representing a different political spin, add nuance to the narrative. Both characters are strong, and Emmeline's transformation from drab pariah to beautiful, powerful young woman will provide vicarious thrills for readers. A scene where she declines a marriage proposal from the handsome but arrogant Griffin Boar, who scorned her back in their village, is a particularly satisfying moment. While Emmeline's predicament wraps up a little too quickly and conveniently, her reunion with Owen is fully gratifying.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
This sweet fairy tale takes readers to an imagined kingdom where there is no justice--and no chocolate, either. Emmeline was born the lowest of the low in a semimedieval land. She's a "dirt-scratcher" with a clubfoot, making her an outcast among outcasts. The dirt-scratchers grow the food for the kingdom, yet they themselves mostly starve, never allowed to leave the flatlands. But when a flood wipes them out, Emmeline drifts downriver to a middle-class area, where Owen Oak rescues her. Treated well there despite the prejudice, she learns that she and she alone has a magical ability to make delicious, rare, ultra-expensive chocolate. Once the secret gets out, danger strikes. Kidnapped, Emmeline tries to escape, while Owen tries to find her. When the dissolute, all-powerful king and queen gain control over her, Emmeline finds herself in even more serious trouble. As often occurs in traditional fairy tales, things get rough. People die; words are spoken with hatred; people are turned into slaves and required to fight to the death. The narrative moves along quickly, easily holding readers' interest, and if the resolution relies on some deus ex machina elements, it also contains a clever twist. The story's emphasis on freedom, or the lack thereof, and themes supporting equality stand out. With its attractive characters, especially dual narrators Emmeline and Owen, this novel has a power to charm. Sweet indeed. (Fantasy. 12-16)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802723765
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publication date: 8/21/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 479,913
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.36 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Suzanne Selfors

SUZANNE SELFORS is the author of Mad Love, Coffeehouse Angel and Saving Juliet as well as several middle-grade novels including, Smells Like Dog. She held a number of jobs before becoming a writer, including children's photographer, video producer, organic flower grower, and marketing director. www.suzanneselfors.com

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 34 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(24)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 21, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    ¿The Sweetest Spell¿ by, Suzanne Selfors Emmeline Thistle is b

    “The Sweetest Spell” by, Suzanne Selfors Emmeline Thistle is born to a
    poor dirtscratcher couple but because of a curled foot she is taken by
    the midwife to a meadow and left to die. Emmeline’s father knows that
    life is hard in the town of Root and families can’t afford to feed
    children who aren’t able work the fields. That night, newborn Emmeline
    is saved by four milk cows and is returned to her parents by the
    dairyman. Emmeline’s mother, who was told the baby was stillborn, was
    blissfully happy to have her child back and the couple raised her with
    love. The town of Root was not very accepting of Emmeline and her life
    was difficult. Despite all this, Emmeline grew into a smart and lovely
    young woman with a special affinity for cows. Emmeline’s story really
    starts on the afternoon of the husband market when the royal soldiers
    ride into town and her world is changed forever. *First I want to say
    that I was thoroughly charmed by this lovely story. “The sweetest spell”
    reads like many of my favorite fairy tales and it’s a book that would be
    wonderful to read out loud to others. A bit about the characters…
    *Emmeline: I thought that she had the perfect blend of strength,
    sweetness, honesty, and feistiness. She wasn’t afraid of her feelings
    and she refused to be ashamed of who she was. *Owen: I found him to be
    strong, funny, and full of warmth. He was what all mothers hope their
    sons grow up to be and was only missing a shield and a white steed.
    *Beau: He comes into the story toward the end but I absolutely loved
    him. Charismatic and brilliant, Beau is a character that is impossible
    not to love. (I hope to read more about him in a second book. Fingers
    crossed.) These are just some of the characters that will steal your
    heart in this gem of a book. In “The sweetest spell” you will also
    enjoy a romance that’s as sweet as chocolate and just as satisfying. I
    read books because I love stories and I loved this book. Reading “The
    sweetest spell” was like floating through magic. Go pick up a copy
    today!

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2013

    This book had a unique plot that set it apart from others and ma

    This book had a unique plot that set it apart from others and made it quite refreshing. It is also refreshing to have a heroine who is not perfect and valued by everyone else but has a happy ending because of her strength. Would recommend over and over again, and I don't usually leave comments for books.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    Just... amazing!!!

    This book is amazing! I just can't describe how amazing it was! I loved all of the characters, Beau, Emmeline, Griffon, and Owen. They all had something special about them. Owen saved Emmeline's life! There was always something different about Emmeline, in the beginning you won't know why she had a special bond with cows. You may think it was because 4 cows saved her at birth, but why did the cows save her? That is the question that Owen answered when he let Emmeline churn butter. I recommend thus book to anyone over the age of 10.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2012

    Greatest book ever!!!

    This book is more about romance, adventure and magic. I loved this book so much because of that. Its about a teenager that was abandoned at birth because of her deformed foot.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 24, 2013

    A cute little book

    A combination of Cinderella and The Ugly Duckling, this teen book is actually good for most ages (minor violence, no sex) and has a cute little storyline (it can seem chaotic at times, but it does all come together). The main character Emmeline starts off a little browbeaten but develops well within the story. A good fairytale coming of age story. As fairytale stories go, it reads like a Grimm tale with a Disney (think Mulan) ending.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2013

    May 2 2013

    I loved this book i hate to read but i couldnt take my eyes off of it and after 50 to 100 pages it gets very confusing and it is a love story with adventure crazyness and choclate lots and lots of CHOCOLATE!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2012

    Love this book

    This book is really good.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2014

    Help?

    Age recemondation...?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2014

    Question click i need help

    I read a sample, and i think it looks good im 11 though so is it appropriate? I heard some other people review some stuff wasnt sure about. So please help if you have read it before

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2014

    Awesome

    This book is full of romance and mystery. I really enjoyed it! I hope she writes a sequel to The Sweetest Spell! Although i did not write buy it on nook,i checked it out at my school library. Emmiline is a great character,she is brave and pretty (according to Owen). I hope this review was helpful,give it a yes if it helped you!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2013

    Not what I expected

    I did end up loving the story but it wasn't what I first expected

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 24, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This was a much more in depth book than I was expecting.  This s

    This was a much more in depth book than I was expecting.  This story followed the main characters through many lows and a few highs that covered quite a bit of time and much space in the land of Anglund.

    Chocolate played a large roll in this story.  Mmmm...chocolate.  It was an interesting legend about the chocolate and where it came from.  Also, I liked the relationship the main character had with cows.  Cows seem much sweeter to me now.  Mainly, I liked the lead character and her determination.  She found herself broken, many times.  However, she had moments of being so strong and thoughtful.  

    There was romance in this book, but in an interesting way.  The main character started by being so lowly and unwanted that she never thought she would marry.  And, at one point in the book, there were 3 men that would have married her.

    This was a new and interesting fairy tale.

    Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Sensuality, Homosexual characters (although very briefly mentioned, not a major part of the book)

    I would let my 15 year old read this book.   

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2013

    Enchanting!

    some minor errors, but you forget them as you become enchanted with the story.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 7, 2013

    This was a great read. It held my attention from the moment Emm

    This was a great read. It held my attention from the moment Emmeline was born to when she shared her gift and freed her people. It is a unique twist on magic and the way people change history to benefit them.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2013

    Magical

    This magical novelette reads like Neil Gaiman's "Stardust." Read it. It's beautiful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2013

    Unique plot that I couldn't put down!

    Original storyline with fast-paced plot and fascinating characters. Loved it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    Highly Recommend

    Enjoyed this book and enjoy reading this author

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2013

    good

    It was an enjoable and cute book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2013

    Wonderful

    I LOVED this book. It moved at a wonderful pace and all the characters were wonderfully developed. I had to slow myself down while reading because I didn't want it to end. This story will make you laugh, cry, and want more. Everything a good book should do. The story is so enchanting and Emmeline is a wonderfully strong and likable heroine. You will fall in love with this book. I wish I could give it more stars! I hope the author writes some more like this. Please read it, you will be glad you did!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2013

    Okay read

    Liked the book but thought the whole chocolate being gonevwas super corny

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews

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