Author: Rene Denfeld
Provided Synopsis: “This is an enchanted place. Others don’t see it, but I do.”
The enchanted place is an ancient stone prison, viewed through the eyes of a death row inmate who finds escape in his books and in re-imagining life around him, weaving a fantastical story of the people he observes and the world he inhabits. Fearful and reclusive, he senses what others cannot. Though bars confine him every minute of every day, he marries magical visions of golden horses running beneath the prison, heat flowing like molten metal from their backs, with the devastating violence of prison life.
Two outsiders venture here: a fallen priest, and the Lady, an investigator who searches for buried information from prisoners’ pasts that can save those soon-to-be-executed. Digging into the background of a killer named York, she uncovers wrenching truths that challenge familiar notions of victim and criminal, innocence and guilt, honor and corruption-ultimately revealing shocking secrets of her own.
Review: If there were ever a book for which it is only necessary to say ‘Read this,’ then The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld is the one. I have been interested in this story since I read the synopsis on Amazon (and I hope the provided synopsis inspires you to read, too) and I was in no way disappointed by what I received.
This book transcends the page.
Set in a prison in an unknown state, the story is helmed by an inmate on death row with the ability to look beyond the darkness of his life to imagine the magic of the world. He is there for a reason, yet he will never let you know what he has done — because he understands that to explain his crime is to put an idea within the head of another to take hold. He comprehends the cycle of violence through the observation of those around him. As he remarks upon the fallen priest, or the lady, or the white-haired boy, or another death row inmate named York, the reader realizes how causal the relationship can be as the victim becomes the guilty. What factors formed this person? Why did they do the things they did? What might it mean to be human? Paltry excuses are not given for the atrocities committed to place them within this enchanted place — because there can be no denying they happened — but there is always more to the story than meets the eye. A cycle is in place. He wonders can you see it, too? He urges you, and the lady, and the priest, and the white-haired boy to break it, and to learn to recapture time.
Prison is a dark place, no matter how fair the warden in charge might be; the guards are corrupt and the alpha male inmates take advantage wherever they are allowed to do so. Despite the enchantment in the eyes of our narrator there is plenty of despair in the lives of the secondary characters, particularly in the instance of the white-haired boy and the ordeal he must go through. You are trapped in the dungeon with these men, in cell of general population or on the yard, and on the road with the lady on the investigation of lives led before destruction. The Enchanted will take hold of you as it bursts with emotion, truth, and balance. I am blown away, I will continue to be blown away, and I urge you to read this book and allow yourself to be enchanted too.