The Sweetest Spell

The Sweetest Spell

4.6 35
by Suzanne Selfors
     
 

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Emmeline Thistle, a dirt-scratchers 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

Overview

Emmeline Thistle, a dirt-scratchers 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 dairymans 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.

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.)
From the Publisher

“* An exhilarating, romantic, and frequently funny story of self-discovery” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“With a The Princess Bride feel and a hard-won happily ever after, this perky fairy tale will strike a chord with fans of Ella Enchanted and Robin McKinley. A sweet, slow-blooming romance completes the traditional Grimm arc nicely.” —Romantic Times Book Review

“With its attractive characters, especially dual narrators Emmeline and Owen, this novel has a power to charm. Sweet indeed” —Kirkus Reviews

“A fun and frothy romantic fantasy.” —School Library Journal

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)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802734082
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
08/21/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Suzanne Selfors is the author of Mad Love, Coffeehouse Angel and Saving Juliet as well as middle-grade novels including, Smells Like Dog. She held a number of jobs before becoming a writer, including
childrens photographer, video producer, organic flower grower, and
marketing director. She lives in Washington.
www.suzanneselfors.com
Suzanne Selfors is the author of Saving Juliet as well as a middle grade series with Little, Brown. She held a number of jobs before becoming a writer, including childrens photographer, video producer, organic flower grower, and marketing director. She lives in Washington. www.suzanneselfors.com

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The Sweetest Spell 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
KimberlySouza More than 1 year ago
“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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
J-Hawkins More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Age recemondation...?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This magical novelette reads like Neil Gaiman's "Stardust." Read it. It's beautiful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Original storyline with fast-paced plot and fascinating characters. Loved it!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Liked the book but thought the whole chocolate being gonevwas super corny