The Scarlet Stockings:The Enchanted Riddle
Abandoned at birth, Daphne was raised in the dreary Orphanage of St. Jude in Hoxton, England. This shy girl has only two aspirations: to find the truth about the family that didnt want her and to become a prima ballerina. Then one day, as if by magic, Daphne receives a mysterious package containing a book on ballet, a pair of scarlet stockings, and a strange riddle. As if suddenly spurred by this present, Daphnes life becomes a whirlwind of good fortune, from a kind and caring adoptive family all the way to dancing ballet on the French stage. But Daphne has to be careful, because although her new world is filled with unbelievable excitement and beauty, it also contains loneliness and dangerous rivalry. Daphne will have to find magic, both from the stockings and within herself, to overcome the challenges of the competitive ballet world and finally realize where she belongs.
The Enchanted Riddle is a sweet and heartwarming debut novel. Daphne is such an interesting main character, which made it so easy to get attached to her story. The unloved orphan with big dreams scenario is thankfully not overdone and really helps set the scene for many of Daphnes later exploits. Daphnes earnestness makes her so lovable as well as sympathy for many of her plights. Kandel did a great job of portraying the competitive entertainment industry of that day, ballet; it wasnt too romanticized and felt very realistic. I truly loved reading Daphnes story partly because of how well-sculpted her character was, but mostly because it was just so cute. Daphnes story is kind of an old-fashioned version of those stories of people trying to make it big in the entertainment world in modern day, only with more morality and innocence. The ending felt a little rushed for my taste, but it wrapped up neatly.
The Enchanted Riddle is the perfect antidote for a dreary day. I think this novel was intended for the younger audience but readers older than the middle grade group will also enjoy this sweet story.
reposted from http://thebookmuncher.blogspot.com
Daphne has been at St. Judes for thirteen long years. The only snippet of her story that she knows is that she was laid on the doorstep with a note attached with three simple words on it, my names Daphne. Daphnes dream is to become a ballerina. Her dream seems farfetched until a package arrives in the mail with a book entitled How to Teach Yourself Ballet and a pair of scarlet stockings. On the inside cover of the book is a mysterious riddle that perplexes Daphne. She loves her gift and soon realizes that the stockings hold magical powers. She only wishes now that she had more time to dance.
Daphne doesnt think her life could get much better, and then she finds out that she is to be adopted by the local vegetable stand owners. The Greens are just the nicest people around and are gracious to have Daphne in their home. As a surprise the Greens take Daphne to see a production of Swan Lake with the amazing Ova Andova dancing the leading role. Daphne is star-struck and realizes that she has to be a ballerina. Another surprise awaits her as the Greens inform her that she will soon be taking ballet lessons. Daphne is overjoyed, until the day she goes to lessons. Her teacher acts like a witch and deflates all of Daphnes dreams of becoming a ballerina. She knows that she cant be that bad and soon sets off to make her dream come true.
One day while scanning the newspaper she finds an ad that shocks her. The famous Magda Magellan is looking for a personal assistant. Daphne knows this is her ticket into fame and secretly goes to London to apply for the position. She is delighted when she lands the job, but doesnt know how to break it to her new parents. When they agree to let her take the position she knows that she will soon become a great dancer. With the help of the scarlet stockings and a few of Magdas contacts, Daphne hopes she will succeed. Will she become a famous ballerina?
Even though this book is geared for younger readers (9-12 year olds) I thoroughly enjoyed it. Charlotte Kandel did a great job creating her characters, especially Daphne. I felt like I wanted Daphne as my best friend. I loved how Mrs. Kandel made each character come to life. It felt like I was actually watching the book come to life. Each character accented voice could be heard through their conversations, making you feel like you were standing right there beside them. I found this very refreshing. The message in the book was great too. Encouraging people not to give up on their dreams is huge, because without dreams you wouldnt be reading this review on a computer. There was also an essence of mystery, which I absolutely adore. All in all this was a great first novel and I am anxious to learn what becomes of Daphne next.