Enchanting Lily By Anjali Banerjee

By Ekta R. Garg

February 20, 2013

Rated: Borrow it

When a young woman loses the love of her life, she leaves the big city and runs to the Pacific Northwest to find some purpose for her existence.  Armed with a collection of vintage clothing, she opens a clothing boutique and hopes to hide from the new version of reality by simply selling her clothes and making a living.  But when an unexpected guest—a cat that mysteriously shows up on her doorstep—moves in with her, the woman discovers that sometimes mystery can also bring a little much-needed magic in one’s life.  The kind of magic needed to believe once again in hope and healing.  Anjali Banerjee offers readers this premise in her gentle novel Enchanting Lily.

Lily Byrne has driven north from her life in California in search of refuge.  Her husband has recently died in a car accident, leaving Lily understandably devastated.  Now Lily just wants to find a new definition for normal; she just wants to establish something resembling a life so that she can keep going.  Because now that Josh has left her forever, Lily desperately needs something solid to anchor her to convince her that going on, indeed, is the right thing to do.

She packs up all of the clothes from Josh’s prosperous design company and heads toward the Pacific Northwest without a particular destination in mind.  When she drives into the town of Fairport on Shelter Island, however, suddenly Lily feels like maybe she’s found her refuge.  On her first drive through the charming location, she sees a small cottage available for sale and decides almost on the spot to open a vintage clothing boutique.  Despite the presence of a prosperous trendy clothing store right across the street, Lily feels an instant connection to the small cottage.

She moves in almost immediately, using the upper floor for her living space and the lower floor for her store.  But the local residents have shopped at the store across the street for years, leaving Lily fighting for customers and trying to make them understand the special quality of the older fabrics, stitching styles, and storied histories of the wares in her windows.  As the business struggles, Lily discovers a new problem almost literally on her doorstep: a cat.  A cat that has decided to move in with Lily and that doesn’t have an owner.  At first Lily sees the cat as a nuisance, something else she has to take care of when she can barely take care of herself on a daily basis.  But from the time the cat comes to Lily’s cottage business suddenly seems to do a little better, bringing Lily customers, new friends, and even the prospect of a new love.

Anjali Banerjee’s trademark upbeat witty storytelling finds a little gravity in Enchanting Lily.  Lily’s plight gives Banerjee the chance to dig a little deeper and dismiss a few of her witty one-liners in favor of a protagonist who, underneath it all, grieves profoundly.  Banerjee doesn’t give up any opportunities to inject humor when she can, keeping the tone just light enough so the story doesn’t sag into sappy romantic fare.  However, her restraint comes as a refreshing change, and Enchanting Lily proceeds at a measured pace.  Even with a predictable ending, Enchanting Lily will entertain readers and leave them smiling at the possibility of magic in their everyday lives.

***

What the ratings mean:

Bookmark it!–Read this book and then buy it and add it to to your own collection.  It’s definitely worth it!

Borrow it–Check this one out from the library; it’s a worthy read, but think twice before spending your hard-earned money on it.

Bypass it–Free time is precious.  Don’t spend it on this book!

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