I have a soft spot for stories about orphans. At the same time, however, I have extremely high expectations. Some of my favourite stories since I was a child have been about orphans, so it’s no wonder my standards have been set so high.
The Enchanted Riddle is the first book in The Scarlet Stockings trilogy. It tells the story of Daphne, an orphan who wants nothing more than to become a world famous ballerina. One day, while still living at the orphanage, she gets a package in the mail, the sender unknown, containing the book How to Teach Yourself Ballet as well as a pair of scarlet stockings. What Daphne soon finds out is that these stockings are no ordinary pair of stockings, but are magic, and can grant her wishes. She soon starts a journey that will take her from her orphanage, through the loving home of the Green family, into the life of actress Magda Magellan, to a large ballet company in Paris, where it seems her career has just begun.
Throughout the first third of the book, I thought this book was going to fall way below all my expectations. It was slow, and I had a hard time comprehending the fact that as soon as Daphne got adopted by a loving family, she was going to run off and become the personal assistant of Magda Magellan in order to further her career. As the book progressed past the first third, I started to enjoy it more but still didn’t like the way the scarlet stockings were making Daphne act towards those who cared for her. As with any magical object, they do have a darker side – it brings out Daphne’s snobbish, self-centered side.
Overall, the book was enjoyable. It didn’t quite live up to my expectations, but I liked it nonetheless. It was cute, and if I knew any, I’d pass it on to a young reader who was into dance.