Cover Image: A Fragile Enchantment

A Fragile Enchantment

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A Fragile Enchantment by Allison Saft was fun, but overall forgettable.

The good: I liked that Niamh knew her boundaries with Kit. She loves him but isn't willing to ruin her life and dreams for him. Slay, queen.

I appreciated that Niamh has a chronic illness that isn't just magically cured. I thought Niamh's illness was a good representation and felt like a breath of fresh air compared to the typical representations of illness in fantasy and romance novels. Because of Niamh's illness, there are several poignant notes in A Fragile Enchantment that hit home for me, such as her life view that she needs to cram as many experiences into her life as possible before her time runs out.

I also enjoyed reading the complex characters, especially Jack and Kit. Jack, who is Kit's brother and the crown prince, is not a likeable character. However, because of his background and obvious love for Kit, I couldn't help but empathize with him, want him to do better, and care for him.

The not-so-good: The first glaring, not-great thing was that I really wasn't buying into the relationship between Niamh and Kit. And this may be because I found Kit to be annoying, especially towards the latter part of the novel. Without spoilers, Kit makes several decisions later in the novel that feel rushed and poorly chosen by the author. It felt like Allison Saft had to find some drama for the climax of the book, so she made Kit make poor decisions. The theme of the last 30% of the novel was Kit making stupid decisions and then Niamh racing to clean it up so he doesn't die. The ending, summarized: guys being dudes, causing problems. Once the guys are done being dudes and Niamh has solved the problems, the novel speeds up. Like, things happen QUICKLY, and nothing is left to the imagination.

That being said, A Fragile Enchantment was not bad. If you want something light and fun, go ahead and read it. I gave A Fragile Enchantment 3/5 stars. Thank you Allison Saft, NetGalley, and Wednesday Books for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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A Fragile Enchanment is everything I want in a romantic fantasy. This book was fantastic and kept me glued in the whole time. I finished this in one sitting! The romance? amazing. The magic? fascinating. The tension and banter? UGH TO DIE FOR. Allison Saft has been and always will be an auto buy author for me. 5 stars all around.

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A Fragile Enchantment was one of my very highly anticipated books. I love anything Regency England inspired with magic, and this book delivered on that premise.

A Fragile Enchantment has a lot going on. Niamh is from a poor country neighboring Avaland, and all she wants is to provide for her family. She gets invited to make the prince’s wedding attire in Avaland and goes there with the intent of making enough to bring her family with her after the wedding. She doesn’t anticipate being embroiled in scandal. There’s the backdrop of a social uprising regarding the treatment of the citizens of Niamh’s native Machland, an anonymous social columnist (a la Lady Whistledown in Bridgerton), and there’s clearly something going on in the palace. The book does not lack plot points. It made it a very easy read - there was always some reveal which the characters seemed to be rushing toward throughout the whole story.

The strongest part of A Fragile Enchantment is the characters. Nuanced and frequently flawed, I really did love all of them. Were there moments when I felt like Niamh was being idiotic? 100% yes. However, what young adult fantasy female main character doesn’t suffer from a little bit of stupidity? But she was so focused on her family and willing to risk it all for those she loved. And Kit was a delightfully grumpy hero in contrast. It was fun to watch him slowly morph over the book from a grumpy jerk to a character with depth and understandable demons. Also, the side characters are so well drawn out. I felt like I knew them, and even though some of them were barely on the page, their personalities were so distinct that I don’t have trouble recalling them as I write this review (not always the case, let me tell you).

I do have one quibble about the book, however. The setting was very clearly inspired by our real world, and I felt like the world building suffered for it. It very clearly was leaning on the reader’s knowledge of the world to fill in blanks. For example, the prince’s fiancé was from Castilia, but they speak Spanish. It just felt like countries and religions were given new names and that was that. Additionally, the magic was never really explained - it’s just thrown in there. It honestly didn’t even feel that necessary, and it almost would have been better if Niamh had been invited as a dressmaker as a result of her dressmaking skills, not her magic skills.

Overall, A Fragile Enchantment is a delightful Regency-esque standalone fantasy with amazing characters, and an interesting plot. I would recommend it to those who want a grumpy/sunshine pairing, enjoy some political intrigue in their magical romance or love a Cinderella-style plotline.

Content notes: Homophobia, references to alcoholism

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3⭐️

<b>“I like beautiful things, and I like making things that make people feel beautiful.”</b>

This book was interesting and cute, but overall a little dull. It took me a while to finish it because I wasn’t super into the story, and I can’t really remember what happened. The magic system was unique and refreshing, but could have been better developed. This would be a good book if you’re into regency style romance with a little magic thrown in.

<b>Her, heart twisting itself into lovesick knots. Him, impossibly out of her reach for a hundred different reasons.</b>

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How can I describe how much I loved this book? It was so beautiful, beautifully written, had wonderful characters, and was just all around a joy to read. This book is for someone who wants a very soft fantasy and is generally here for the vibes. It was a romance and that aspect of it was very pleasant to read. There was a political side and a Bridgerton-style secret writer but I found that part of the story to be the least compelling. The world-building was also a little too vague at times so, again, this is for someone who is not looking for a complex high fantasy. Overall a great read.

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A Fragile Enchantment by Allison Saft
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I listened to this book on audio and that was a good move for me because the names were harder to pronounce.

Niamh (pronounced Neeve) is a seamstress with magic in her blood. Her clothes make people feel things. She is hired to create wedding attire for the younger prince in her kingdom, Kit. She will have to navigate court politics, unrest, and a growing attraction to the prince himself.
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I really liked Niamh. She was such a sweet person and her guft was really cool. She was the sunshine to Kit’s grumpy, and I do love the grumpy/sunshine trope. I liked Niamh and Kit’s story.

I do feel like this book had a LOT going on. I would have loved to learn more about the magic of this world and specifically Niamh’s magic.
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3.5⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 I enjoyed this story and will definitely read more from this author.

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Well this was a massive disappointment... I had incredibly high expectations for this book, but I was miserably let down by the lack of connection I felt to pretty much everything.

Niamh felt like she could have been such an interesting character, but she fell into the trope of a basic girl who only cared to take a stance when it related to a boy. So much more could have been done relating to her story and background. There was a lot of wasted potential in her storyline. I also am so confused because a bit of her storyline was left on a cliffhanger? I'm so confused why her condition wasn't more talked about at the end of the story.

Kit was the definition of Darcy, but undeveloped. I think this book would have been wonderful if there was a dual perspective situation with Kit being the other perspective. That would have explored so much more of the world than what we got from just Niamh's side. Also that would have hopefully explained the magic system of the world better because the world-building and magic explanations were almost non-existent.

I loved Sinclair, but again, he wasn't used to his full potential nor was Sophia who was another favorite of mine throughout the story.

Oh, this was also a blatant rip-off of Brigerton with the anonymous gossip writer so that felt kind of like a cheap grab for attention and, again, it wasn't done that well.

I had some fun moments of reading this book, but overall it was a major disappointment and I am now very sad.

Thank you NetGalley and the publishers for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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* I received an e-arc via Netgalley from the publisher. Thank you for the opportunity to review. All thoughts are my own*

I was so excited to receive an early copy of this beautiful book! After reading A Far Wilder Magic, I needed more from this author. I want to go back and read her debut ASAP! I loved this one so much!

A Fragile Enchantment weaved an absolutely magical story that took place in a regency England inspired fantasy world. There’s magic, political intrigue, romance, beautiful clothes, and so much more! I was swept away from the beginning.

The romance in this one had me absolutely swooning! It gave me Bridgerton vibes with that element of fantasy that was just perfect. I highly recommend!

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Withholding review until the SMP boycott is over. For more information check out readers for accountability on Tik tok

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This was fun! Definitely Bridgerton with a smidge of magic! It had regency romance, balls with dancing, and even a secret someone behind a scandal sheet!

I loved the forbidden romance (even if he was a jerk at the beginning) and

I do wish there was more magic! I was definitely expecting more fantasy elements, but it was quite minimal. I also wish the romance was slowed down a bit. It felt like it went from hate to love quite quickly.

I do love a standalone fantasy however, and had a good time with this one!

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I absolutely adored this! I love soft fantasy stories. Just a little bit of magic is all you need. I loved the Bridgerton vibes of this book!

Definitely going to be a forever fan of Allison Saft! She writes so beautifully. It’s so easy to follow and it’s just an overall enjoyable book. I loved our two MCs. Their chemistry was undeniable from the beginning. I knew he didn’t hate that first gift she gave him!!

The love story is the focus of this book and it was my favorite part. I could not get enough of them and I want more stories set in this world!!

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I will not give a review until St. Martin's Press addresses the concerns and demands of the boycott.

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This was a lovely mix of historical fantasy and romance. Like a YA version of Bridgerton.
really enjoyed the magic lore and wanted to dive into it more but this was more of a romance than fantasy book. The ending was a bit fast, things wrapped up and I kind of wanted it fleshed out more -- this is more for the characters than the world building/plot but a lovely read

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Thank you to St. Martin's Press/Wednesday Books and NetGalley for the eGalley I initially began reading for this review!

Well, this quickly became one of my favorite reads of the year, despite being hesitant at first. This story is *stacked* with the good stuff: magic; a slow burn, mutually-pining romance that is enemies to friends to lovers between a grump and sunshine; bisexual main characters and queer side characters; social justice; a happily ever after... ugh, it's so good.

Why I was hesitant at first is due to the fact that it is *technically* a "colonizer romance". The setting is a high fantasy version of England (Avaland) and Ireland (Machland) where magic is full-blown real, complete with the real colonization Ireland had experienced--even the Blight (brought about by the royal family's magical ability to control flora in this context). But the enemies-to-friends-to-lovers trope stems more from Kit being just a huge grump at first to Niamh and not solely from the fact that he is a prince of the country who colonized her homeland. Kit was actually estranged from the royal family for years and doesn't share the same sentiments as his brother Jack, who desperately wishes to uphold their family's ill-gotten legacy. It is because of this that Kit is on the side of resistance and amiable to the Machlish's cause, though he feels helpless to stop it at first. Niamh fully believes that he has the power to be different than his father and brother, to end the oppression and make significant change and give out reparations.

It certainly helps that even though Kit is betrothed to another and Niamh is supposed to only be the wedding tailor, they fall into an infuriating (to them, at least) whirlwind romance that is certainly scandalous; not only is he already engaged, he is a prince of Avaland and she is a "mere commoner" from Machland. The fact that she is "divine-blooded" (i.e. has magic, whereas most commoners do not) does not make a difference in the eyes of most. She is "lowborn" and would be reaching above her station by entertaining any hope of being with him. Fortunately, she makes friends in literal high places that keep her from being so scandalized and removed from her position as the (albeit temporary) royal tailor as she and Kit find themselves in increasingly compromising situations. Their romance grabbed my heartstrings with both fists and ripped gleefully. I *loved* it.

The social justice aspect is not just a legitimate social commentary on our actual world, but what drives the ups and downs of all the relationships Niamh makes throughout the story, not just with Kit. She has to endure frustrating xenophobia whenever she's allowed into noble spaces. There is also an ever-brewing discordance between the Machlish servants and their Avalish employers, and a revolution is stirring that Niamh has to decide whether it'd be safe for her family back in Machland to join. All of it is handled wonderfully and I'm happy with where it all ends up too.

So if you're a romantic sap like I am who loves that slow burn, yearning romance between two queer characters with a hearty seasoning of social justice, this is definitely a story for you!

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This was a Bridgerton meets Fantasy hybrid! I enjoy both, so I fully expected to enjoy this book. It was an enjoyable read, but did lack some of the depth that I prefer. It was a bit more “cute” than I like, but that is just my preference and may not be yours. It took a bit to get the plot going, but I did like the romance overall.

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I wanted to givre this a go as I don't really do regency romances but this one had that extra aspect of magic so I thought why not?

Not sure what I expected but it just didn't work well for me. Most people have said it has a Bridgerton aspect and maybe that's my problem because I do NOT enjoy that series/show.

It just didn't captivate me.

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This was a highly readable period romance with a bit of fantasy. I think it will appeal to fans of Olivia Atwater. My only real complaint was the world building, it was quite weak, and the fake countries were such thinly veiled version of Ireland, England and Spain I wished that the author had just used the real countries. Otherwise, I thought it was a fun read.

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This book sounded like it had so much potential to me.

Unfortunately, it was a disappointment for me.

I didn’t like the characters. I thought the plot was a bit silly.

Also: this has a spicy scene that felt WAY too spicy for teens. I had to double check that this is marketed for teens. It is. I just think parents should be aware. 🙃

Thanks to NetGalley for the chance to read this!

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Cute feel good romance! I really enjoyed this one. I felt attached to the characters and I thought the concept was unique and refreshing!

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A dreamy, whimsical fantasy romance with the sweetest FMC, the prickliest grump of an MMC, political undertones, and a really interesting magic system. I loved Niamh’s ability to weave emotional enchantments into the clothing she makes and Kit’s slightly out of control horticulture.

The story is entertaining and enjoyable to read, it’s…not quite lighthearted or cozy…but not of the grab you by the throat and never let go super intense variety of fantasy read. So it’s great for when you want to read something *magical* that’s lovely to read but also want to be able to put it down and come back later if you need to. I really enjoy Allison’s writing and am looking forward to reading her next book soon!

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