Be careful what you wish for is a saying as old as time. It’s about being content with what we have and not being tricked out of that.
Ella is desperate. A money lender wants her to pay back with more than just cash. She’s barely getting by and her one client chooses to pay her later. She goes to the washerwoman spirit called the Bean-Nighe. The Bean-Night grants every wish but at a price, and Ella has no idea what she’s really paid with.
As a whole Cyla Panin is a good writer. The plot is interesting; Ella is not just desperate for money, but she also desperately needs love and affection; to the point where she will close her eyes and blind herself to facts around her. How did she meet Callum that day? Why does no one comment on her changing appearance?
I was frustrated with Ella at the start, I couldn’t understand why she would bargain for so little, but I realised that was Cyla Panin’s very clever way of showing us how so many people, despite their talent and hard work, live in poverty even then; they truly have no idea of the worth of their work; and which of us would ever pay them fairly?
While I thought Beguiled was an interesting read, I feel like the ending was too chaotic for my personal taste. That being said, it’s a 4 star read and there are certain things that I really liked, but can’t say because that’ll spoil everything! If you read Rosamand Hodge and her books Cruel Beauty and Gilded Ashes, I feel like you’ll love this too.
Ella is a 17-year-old weaver whose entire livelihood depends on her loom. She dreams of opening her own shop, but when her father died in debtor’s prison, she had to support herself by taking whatever clients she could get. In order to buy her supplies she goes into debt of her own, and when her loom breaks, Ella realizes she needs more help than a repairperson can give her. She, like everyone, has heard about the old washerwoman spirit called the Bean-Nighe who will grant any one wish—for a price.
But Ella is desperate, so she asks the Bean-Nighe to fix her loom. And it works. The loom is fixed, and she creates beautiful pieces she could have never imagined before. All she has to do is feed the loom a drop of blood each time she weaves—a small price to pay for such magnificent silks. And when she brings two bolts to a rich client, she meets a mysterious young man named Callum and bargains for an invitation to his exclusive party. At that party, he’s so mesmerized by her talent, he offers Ella a place to live and patronage for her art. It seems like Ella’s fortune is finally turning for the better . . . until she begins to notice the loom taking more from her than she offered.
As she becomes entangled in the lives of the city’s rich, swept into Callum’s allure, and trapped by the Bean-Nighe’s magic, Ella must figure out a way to secure her future while she still has a future at all.
About the Author
Cyla Panin is an MG, YA and Adult Author who prefers to look at the world through a dusting of magic.
After spending most of her childhood wanting to escape into the wonderful worlds her favourite authors created, she’s now using her own words to craft magical places. When not writing, Cyla can be found playing dinosaurs with her two young boys, watching swashbuckling and/or period TV shows with her husband, and, of course, reading.
Her YA debut, STALKING SHADOWS came out with Amulet, Abrams Fall 2021. She is represented by Chloe Seager of the Madeleine Milburn Literary, TV, and film agency.