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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell

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Review by Suze
Nicolette lives with her stepmother and stepsisters. First she lost her mother and then her father. She misses them dearly. Her mother used to teach her and Nicolette loved those lessons. She was a scientist who also knew a lot about magic and Nicolette often thinks about their talks. Her stepfamily is unkind. They have turned her into a servant and they mockingly call her Mechanica because of her inventions. On her sixteenth birthday Nicolette gets access to her mother's workshop. There she finds Jules, a mechanical magical horse who becomes her friend. He helps her with her tasks and he keeps her company. Nicolette tries to keep her work a secret from her disapproving stepfamily and wants to make her own money, so she can be independent and free.
When Nicolette goes to the market for the first time to sell her inventions and creations she meets Fin and Caro. They help her selling her wares and they are friendly. For the first time in years Nicolette is among people who are kind to her. She has a plan for her future and she is determined to get out of the awful situation she's in. Fortunately she doesn't have to do it all by herself, she now has friends who will help her. Are those friendships strong enough to endure anything and will Nicolette be able to get her happily ever after?
Mechanica is a Cinderella retelling. Nicolette is smart and she's able to follow into her mother's footsteps. She invents the most amazing things. I liked the angle Betsy Cornwell has chosen. Her main character is both intelligent and independent. She does everything she can to find her own happiness. She's living in a world where magic is controversial, but she can form her own opinions and does what she thinks is right. Nicolette combines technique with magic and it works really well for her. She's a fascinating main character and I loved reading about her initiatives and creativity.
Betsy Cornwell is a good writer. I enjoy reading fairytales and instantly liked Mechanica. The ending is wonderful, it has a great message and it's unexpected. The story completely evolves around Nicolette and the things she feels and experiences. That worked very well for me, because she's interesting and has an enchanting story to tell. I absolutely loved this magical book.  


  1. Thanks for the review.

    This book sounds prefect for my tween.

  2. Aw, this sounds really good! I love that she invents things- a much more modern take on Cinderella for sure! And a good ending and a good message are SO important! This wasn't really on my radar, but I will have to check it out! Fabulous review :)

  3. I like retellings of fairy tales -- they're comforting because you know the basic story, but it's interesting to see them a little differently.

  4. Sounds like a cool twist on beloved themes!


  5. This sounds like a great retelling.

  6. I love retellings and this one sounds good.