Trin's Reviews > A Well-Timed Enchantment

A Well-Timed Enchantment by Vivian Vande Velde
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Nov 09, 08

bookshelves: fantasy, ya, american-lit, time-travel
Read in October, 2008

Like William Sleator, Vande Velde is one of the writers I read compulsively when I was about 12 or 13, even though I was often surprised at the rather dramatic shifts in quality from work to work. This novel is not one of Vande Velde’s worst, though neither is it one of her best. It is, however, one I’ve read before—something I realized only halfway through, which suggests that this is also one of her more forgettable books. Yeah: there’s really not all that much of note here. While on vacation in the French countryside, Deanna accidentally drops her Mickey Mouse watch into a magic wall, potentially causing a paradox that she must go back in time and correct before the future is altered. With the help of some rather gay elves, she finds herself back in medieval France. Unfortunately, as Vande Velde writes it, the past is as Disney as the watch. Way too much of the narrative is spent on Deanna fumbling around this plasticy version of a castle filled with plasticy lords and ladies (and even a plasticy wizard). The only really interesting part of the book involves Deanna’s cat Oliver, whom the elves turn into a boy and send back in time to help her. I liked Oliver’s mix of humanness and catness (he’s amusingly literal—like Anya, in a way!) but his and Deanna’s relationship is glossed over until the very end, which puts a dampener on what’s by far the most original part of the novel. So, judging by my poor memory, this book didn’t impress me much when I was 12, and it doesn’t impress me much now either.
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