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A Well-Timed Enchantment    by Vivian Vande Velde order for
Well-Timed Enchantment
by Vivian Vande Velde
Order:  USA  Can
Harcourt, 2006 (1990)
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Vivian Vande Velde's A Well-Timed Enchantment is simply a fun fantasy tale, the perfect novel for middle readers needing a break from heady books. Deanna is staying in the French countryside with relatives she had never previously met. Already down because her parents recently divorced, Deanna's days drag by since she has no one to talk to except a cat named Oliver.

One day while out walking with Oliver, Deanna drops her watch down a well in the middle of making a wish. This causes a temporal hole, that sends the duo back to seventeenth century France where she is charged by two elves to find her watch within twenty-four hours. To aid her in her search, the elves transform Oliver into a handsome young man, but that is about as much help as they are willing to give. Knowing the watch could not have traveled far, Deanna and Oliver wander around until they come to a castle which houses a knight, his two feuding sons, his wizard brother, and his vain sister. Immediately, Deanna knows that the wizard must have her watch and is going to use it for evil. However, during the course of her quest, Deanna learns that appearances can be deceiving and that the status quo is not always what is best.

While the characters in A Well-Timed Enchantment are not very deep, they are fun and quirky. The story is also rather shallow, but is fast-paced and has enough twists and turns to keep middle readers engaged. Yet, the biggest issue is that this story was originally published in 1990 and its target audience - all born since then - may find some of the humor dated. Hopefully, this will not deter those in search of fun, light reading.

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