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The Disenchantment by Celia Bell
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The Disenchantment

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The Disenchantment by Celia Bell
Hardcover $28.00
May 16, 2023 | ISBN 9780593317174

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  • May 16, 2023 | ISBN 9780593317174

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“While this compelling portrayal of aristocratic life in 17th century France is rich with detail, it is the timeless female struggle to find and sustain a self able to withstand the metamorphoses and disguises required for survival which captivates the reader.  A combination of history and fairy tale, The Disenchantment exposes unsuspected relationships and ambiguous boundaries as it follows its characters through a dream world of sorcerers and blue-stockings, servants and savants.”
—Susanna Moore, author of The Lost Wife

“As rankly sensuous as a twilit Parisian street in winter, Celia Bell’s The Disenchantment is a rare historical novel that gets under your skin not only for its period details (all that poached fish and spears of asparagus swirled in smears of yellow butter sauce) but for its swooning falls, without narrative safety nets, into the eternal now of deceit, desire, and the violent weather of love. Set amid the disinformation of the seventeenth-century Affair of the Poisons—a Salem Witch Trial hysteria of the court of Louis XIV—this tale of the hot passion between cross-dressing Victoire and married Baroness Marie Catherine tampers with themes of gender fluidity as relevant today as in yesteryear. Celia Bell practices both black and white magic in this remarkable first novel.”
—Brad Gooch, author of Rumi’s Secret

“Gripping, filled with a quietly persuasive tension that kept me turning the page and beautiful, moody description, both evocative and authentic.”
—Crystal Jeans, author of The Inverts
“The writing has the quality of velvet about it, so lusciously rich that it folds you into a thrilling love story . . . Beautifully researched.”
—Sally Gardner, author of Maggot Moon
“A shimmering, sexy, thrilling tale of intrigue and desire, and the dark paths we walk to keep our secrets safe. Bell has written a shining debut.”
—Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Dance Tree

“The is historical storytelling at its most captivating.  Celia Bell puts the body itself back in time: smells, sights, fears, sensation propel us into the epicentre of a 17th century Paris where breaking out of the prison of arranged marriage is only one of the many challenges confronting women. I couldn’t put it down.”
—Lisa Appignanesi, author of Everyday Madness

“A powerful, atmospheric debut.”
The Sunday Times (UK)

“There’s a deliciously hothouse feel to Celia Bell’s slow-burn, smouldering debut. . . . this beautifully detailed novel . . . [is] brimful of black magic and dead poisons, secrets and sorceries. . . . Even love is dangerous. . . . in this beguilingly dark fairy tale.”
The Daily Mail (UK)

“In this bewitching work of historical fiction. . . . Bell elegantly balances the passion of a romance with the tension of crime fiction, all while conjuring a Paris rich in sensuous detail. . . . An astonishingly accomplished debut that brings a past full of intrigue and ardor to life on the page.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Bell’s inventive debut. . . . excels at creating a hothouse atmosphere in which depravity, sensuality, and duplicity reside side by side . . . a rousing feminist fable. It’s a bold and inspired mix of Les Liaisons Dangereuses and The Crucible.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

The Disenchantment is a rare find in queer historical fiction. . . . a very good suspenseful story. [Bell] has a fine eye for detail, capturing Paris and its intrigues.”
The Montecito Journal
“Ghosts and shadows infuse Bell’s enigmatic tale with elements of the supernatural, while Marie Catherine’s allegorical fairy tales tell of feminist self-determination. . . . This is a tightly plotted, atmospheric and moody read, full of dark malevolence and a tangled web of complex relationships. . . . A riveting debut.”
Historical Novel Society

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