Monday, October 1, 2012

Book Review: "Enchanting Lily" by Anjali Banerjee

A few months ago I was lucky enough to win the book Enchanting Lily by Anjali Banerjee from the superb blog, The Conscious Cat which is written by the brilliant Ingrid King and her cats, Ruby and Allegra.

The minute the book arrived I was smitten by  the exquisite white cat who possessed  dual-colored eyes that graced the cover.

I settled down with a cup of coffee for what I knew would be a good read. I wasn't disappointed.

The quote on the first page of the book sets the stage for what is to come:

"The past scampers like an alley cat through the present, leaving the paw prints of memories scattered helter-skelter."
-Charles De Lint, The Onion Girl

The story opens with "Kitty" a neighborhood stray,  (or WAS she?) stopping during her usual travels to take a closer look at the yellow cottage. She senses that someone will soon be arriving, and though that "someone" doesn't realize it yet, she will be moving into the cottage, opening a re-sale shop and will be affected by this ethereal white cat with the dual-colored eyes more than she could imagine.

That "someone"  is Lily Byrne. A 30-almost-40 year old widow who is attempting a new start. Her husband Josh was killed in a car accident just barely a year before.

Seeking a new beginning, Lily leaves San Francisco. Lily drives north, finally ending up on "Shelter Island." (the metaphoric name of this Island did not escape me.)

She stops in a coffee shop and the young barista places a chocolate espresso bean on the lid of her cup and tells her it is "the magic bean". (I couldn't help but think of  Jack and the Beanstalk ) He tells Lily if "she eats the bean anything can happen." " Your wildest dreams fulfilled." Lily ate the bean and "feeling a bit silly, she waited a moment for the magic to take effect, but nothing happened."

Lily and her inner demons and memories take to the road which leads her to the "yellow cottage" "the cottage of her imagination."

Lily must overcome "the paw prints of memories scattered helter-skelter". While going about her daily tasks, she  often imagines that she sees Josh, that she can feel him, hear him and is tormented by the prospect of Josh being hurt if she were to begin dating other men.

Lily's memories aren't the only ones that must be dealt with in this book. The clothing in her consignment shop is fraught with spirits and stories. She meets Ben, the handsome veterinarian, who must come to terms with his feelings and his own memories of his flighty wife. Ben's daughter, Bish, must face and contend with memories of her own.

Ever present throughout this story is "Kitty", the white cat with the dual-colored eyes. "Kitty", the "neighborhood stray" who one senses when reading about the spirit sightings in this book, might just be a spirit herself. A spirit sent to bring customers to Lily's shop, to help them find just the right article of clothing. A spirit sent to soothe Lily's aching heart and to help chase away her haunting memories of Josh. A spirit that offers love and healing in a way that only cats are capable of offering. A spirit that KNOWS the outcome of this story better than Lily, Ben or Bish ever could. Why? Because one strongly senses that it was "Kitty" who made it possible for Lily to meet everyone that she meets in this story.

As Ben said in Enchanting Lily: "Cats bring us down to earth, force us to reevaluate our priorities."

Cats make you want them, need them and fall in love with them, even when you have no intentions of doing so. Did "Kitty" make the same happen for Lily and Ben?

What about the "magic bean?" Did what the barista promised Lily about her "wildest dreams being fulfilled" come to fruition?

You will have to read this gem to find out.



  1. Beautiful kitty on the cover! Sounds like a good book!

  2. I love that quote from the first page. This sounds like a book that deserves closer inspection, I'm adding it to my wishlist.
    Thanks for the review.

  3. The cat on the cover is gorgeous!

  4. What an interesting book. Mommy just checked and the book is available locally!

  5. Great review! The book is now on my list.

  6. Awwwww sounds utterly enchanting! thank you for the review and intro to this magical book lovely Caren!! Take care

  7. Sounds good. Have a lovely Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

  8. A wonderful review of a wonderful book! Enchanting Lily is one of my all time favorite cat books.

  9. What a super review....this sounds like a superb read for ANYONE but certainly a cat lover who believes in "magic" like I do! I love enchanting stories and this sounds like it really fits the bill.

    Thanks for telling us about it Caren.

    Pam (and Sam)

  10. sounds like a great read.. thanks for sharing!

  11. Sounds like a good one. Hope you are doing well Caren

  12. That is a super review. Made me want to read it. Hope you have a super week. Do you like to read James Patterson??

  13. I'll have to find this book. Love the cover photo and it sounds very interesting to read. I like a good cat story sometimes. Deb

  14. Sounds like my kind of book! I shall have to go looking the next time I am in the city!

  15. @SquirrelQueen I ADORED that quote...I am thrilled that you are adding this book to your list. You will LOVE it!

    @Deb thanks so much for stopping by! If you like on "buy book" at the end of the blog post it will show you where the book may be purchased. I adore the cover too and it was a super interesting and super FAST read. I loved it also because it wasn't just about the cat. It was just superb!

    @Texas it is!

    @Marg thank you!! Funny you said that, my husband said the EXACT SAME THING :) No, I'm not really into James Patterson :( Have a wonderful day! xoxo

    @Diane it most definitely is! I am thanks and hope you are as well!

    @CATachresis absolutely!

    @Sue thanks so much!

    @Hilary it is! You are most welcome!

    @Pam and Sam thank you!! I KNOW you will ADORE it! It's right up your alley believe me! ((((hugs)))))

    @Ingrid King THANK YOU!! I enjoyed it more than I ever could have hoped to and THANK YOU for having had the give-away on your blog to begin with!

    @Molly it is! thank you and the same to you!

    @Old Kitty you are welcome and THANK YOU! I am certain that you would love it as well! ((((hugs)))) to you and Charlie

    @Fisher and Staff thank you! I'm thrilled to hear that!

    @The Furries YAY!! You will have to let me know what you thought of it

    @Priscilla I so agree!

  16. looks a good read and the kitty on the cover gorgeous!Speedy's mum

  17. What a magical quote. I bet lots of books will be sold because of your great review.

  18. @Sharon Wagner I LOVED that quote as well. THANK YOU for your kind words! I am thrilled that you enjoyed it!

    @Speedy yes and yes!

  19. Sounds like a great book, I am assuming it's on kindle version (being that this is only way I read nowadays? Hope so! I will look into it.

    Have a great day!!!

  20. Ooh, sounds like a truly great read. I miss a really great book though I rarely hit the pillow before I sleep these days (and there's no time during the day to read!!). I love those words "Cats make you want them, need them and fall in love with them, even when you have no intentions of doing so"... I keep having no intentions and it just keeps happening, LOL!!!
    And Caren about little Ivy - yes, of course we will keep her. There is NO chance of getting a cat adopted here. Unfortunately because there is so many cats there is a trend of picking up gorgeous kittens and to then dump then when the cute kitten essence is gone. Then they pick up a new kitten and so it goes on. I have so many mature cats that drop in on our estate at winter time. They initially appear really shy and feral, but with a bit of patience they reveal a real sweet and needy nature inside. It's obvious they've all once been handled by humans as kittens and then discarded.
    But to come back to Ivy - I actually had to bring her back to the vet today. Her breathing difficulty is a bit worse than first perceived. I'm waiting for results from an x-ray (I've had concerns of it being a diaphragmatic hernia). I HOPE it's not that bad and hopefully it's something curable.
    Sending you hugs and sunshine from Greece,

  21. What a terrific review! This book sounds like such an enchanting good read. I just love "Kitty's" eyes!

  22. This sounds like our cup of tea or coffee! Love that Cats bring us down to earth, force us to reevaluate our priorities.

  23. Sounds like a good book! :)

  24. Thank you for the lovely review of my book! I adore all the wonderful comments, as well. Yes, the book should be available on Kindle, NOOK and iBooks as well as in paperback. Thank you so much again!

  25. Hi Caren and hi Cody,
    Now then, Lily does seem enchanting. And Kitty seems the epitome of the wondrous magic that animals have over humans.
    What a thorough and informative review of the book and here's wishing Anjali much success with it.
    Pawsitive wishes and doggy kisses, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star! xx

  26. What a pretty kitty! And the book sounds really good too!

  27. We can't take our eyes off that beauteous white kitteh! Why, she's a-l-m-o-s-t as good-lookin' as ME!!!

  28. Oh this sounds like a wonderful book!!!
    We are smitten with that beautiful kitty on the cover as well! Thank you for such a great's officially on the wish list!
    : ) Glogirly & Katie

  29. @Katie and Glogirly it was...perfect "chick reading" :)
    You are most welcome and thank YOU for your kind words!

    @Spitty the operative word is "almost"

    @klahanie and Penny THANK YOU and thank you for reading the review :) We love ya!

    @Anjali OMG! I am HONORED! I didn't know that you saw this! THANK YOU for stopping by and commenting and THANK YOU for such an incredible book! I am deeply honored that you visited us and took the time to comment. Thank you for touching my heart!

    @Layla I think you would love it!

    @Bassetmomma you are welcome and THANK YOU! It was a fabulous book. Thank you for reading the review!

    @Joan so glad you are keeping ivy and sending purrs and prayers

    @sunshine it is and the author responded to your is a little bit down further from yours :)

  30. I have GOT to read this book! And the picture looks like my Maggie!

  31. @Mcguffy ann you will love it! Ohhhh your Maggie is a stunner!

  32. For a finicky cat like myself I find it difficult to purr over books after reading the first few words but this one just might change my mind and I might read it long after my mom shuts off the bedtime light. I'm giving this 4 paws up!

  33. As you know Caren I had a dual eyed colored white cat. Pepe Francois is my guardian angel. I look forward to reading the book one day. But now since my white cat passed away at the tender age of 5, I now have a black cat which are very lucky. So much so that I've dedicated to helping others find homes for black cats. As a matter of fact we're giving away a Tiffany necklace to celebrate Tiffany's adoption---our first black cat adoption!