The Enchanted Castle cover image

The Enchanted Castle is a beautiful and complex tale, with a compelling narrative, appealing characters, and Nesbit's masterful blend of magic and realism. The action is fast-paced and imaginative, with a variety of episodes ranging from comic to terrifying, from adventurous to mystical. The four youthful protagonists are well rounded and totally credible, each with strengths and weaknesses that make them interesting. The movement of the plot from mock-magic to real magic is subtle and persuasive.

The ideas that Nesbit incorporates in her tale are also interesting. Her blend of realism and enchantment offers social history as well as domestic magic. Her picture of Edwardian family life captures that era in abundant detail. Although she is never overtly didactic, Nesbit also includes a moral vision of life with an emphasis on the honor and integrity of the individual. With all of the opportunities conferred on them by the ring of invisibility, they never take advantage of their magical powers to harm or deceive others. Her central, pervasive idea is that magic is available in everyday life for those who are sensitive and imaginative enough to recognize it.

(The entire section is 187 words.)