Hello all! So, this past weekend my husband took me to the new Cinderella. It. Was. AWESOME! Seriously, this movie is everything a Cinderella story should be. It has great nods to Disney’s classic, along with some interesting nods to Ever After (which, if you haven’t seen, is a very interesting take on Cinderella: if she was real.) This has easily become one of my favorite fairytales with it’s amazing setting, costumes, magic, and of course the message: Have Courage and Be Kind. So, since I’m in a Cinderella mood, I figured I’d continue that line of thought and review a few of my favorite Cinderella book retellings! I’ve got two fantastic books for you today, and lots of Cinderella stories that are delightful, magical of all sorts, and sweet with their romances. Of course, one of my favorite Cinderella tales is The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson (which I reviewed earlier), but today I’ve got two more books: Cinderella by Jenni James in her Faerie Tale Collection, and Five Glass Slippers, a collection of five stories all centered around, you guessed it, glass slippers.
Like all of Jenni James’s stories, Cinderella is a charming retelling of the classic, with a little bit of sass added. Ella is definitely the traditional ‘Cinderella’ character, working without complaint and putting up with her step-family’s meanness, but she’s got some twists that I love. She’s a no-nonsense, strong woman who has no problem standing up to the new boy who comes around distracting her from her work. Now Anthony is definitely not your typical Prince Charming. He has no trouble disguising himself as a servant to do some sleuthing. I love the interaction between the two. Unlike most Cinderella stories, these two have a history, playing as kids together even before they meet back up. Of course, it’s so nice watching them develop an actual friendship and relationship before the ball. Now I think my favorite change was with the step-sister, Lacey. She’s a little full-of-herself, but doesn’t have the traditional animosity towards Ella, and you almost feel as sorry for her as you do Ella. I love the little changes to the classic story, including who the ‘fairy godmother’ turns out to be. This is definitely a Cinderella retelling that’s not to be missed.
As for the Five Glass Slippers, this charming collection from five talented young authors is sure to delight any fan of the classic fairytale. Each tale has the classic elements: ‘Cinderella’ is a hard worker, whether a servant in her step-family’s house or working a very unfavorable job, and of course there’s the ‘prince’, the ball, and, as the title implies, glass slippers. But each author has wonderfully woven the traditional elements with her own unique ideas. Every story is uniquely separate from the others in this collection, from an adorable traditional romance to a supernatural mystery and action packed science fiction.
The book starts off with Elisabeth’s Brown’s What Eyes Can See. This is classic Cinderella at its finest. Cinderella goes to the ball, captures the eyes of the prince, and is chosen by him when the lost glass slipper fits her foot. The beauty of this story is that Arella doesn’t want him, especially not after one night of nothing but dancing. But the best part is that this isn’t just Arella’s story; instead this is Drusilla’s, her step-sister who has a heart of gold even if her face is a little plainer. And I love how this story’s kind of a slap-in-the-face to the old-school prince charming who only sees the outside beauty, as Prince Frederick is given quite a good lesson about what he should be looking for in a bride. It’s a sweet tale with a heart-warming ending.
Emma Clifton follows with a steam-punk tale of her own, Broken Glass. The tale starts with a question that I’m sure so many have: what if the slipper fit the wrong girl? Well, Rosalind isn’t the girl who danced with the prince, at least not the one who she apparently now has to marry as her slipper was on the foot of the girl who did dance with him. On top with it she’s in love with the youngest prince, Henry. Stuck by a king’s order to marry the girl who fits the slipper, Marius is not happy when he’s presented with a spit-fire lady who detests him rather than the sweet one he danced with. The sparks fly wonderfully when these two are together. Henry, trying to be important and help, goes on a search to find the real girl, and finds Evelyn, a factory-working cinder-girl. While the sparks fly between Marius and Rosalind, there’s a much softer relationship budding between Marius and Evelyn. Throw in a power hungry middle-child, a novice fairy godmother, and a pinch of magic, and this tale is sure to delight.
Rachel Heffington is the third author, writing The Windy Side of Care. Now this is a very interesting twist. What if Cinderella didn’t become the princess by marrying the prince, but because she was born the princess? Alisandra fully believes that she is the daughter of the king, while Auguste, the prince, was switched with her. From the beginning she’s strong willed and fully intent on fighting for her rightful place. What she didn’t anticipate was meeting Auguste and, heaven-forbid, liking him! Auguste, for his part, hates being a prince. Too many rules and duties, and when he meets the girl who’s the spitting image of his father, he begins to wonder if the reason he hates it is because it isn’t him. There’s a cute romance between them, but when they decide to hatch a hair-brained scheme to solve both their problems, things quickly get out of hand. There’s a good mix of the strong heroine, a cute romance, and a crazy adventure to make this story interesting and memorable.
Next comes A Cinder’s Tale by Stephanie Ricker, where Cinderella meets Star Trek in this Sci-Fi spin off. Elsa’s a Cinder, a miner of cendrillon on a Jupiter-like planet, and is quite content surrounded by her friends, and fellow Cinders: Bruno, Jaq, and Gus. (And yes, props for the adorable friends referencing the classic Disney.) There’s also the interesting fey, a unique alien, named Marraine. Add to that the boss, Nebraska, who’s always tempermental, and her clone assistants, Camilla and Priscilla, and you have a cast worthy of any sci-fi. I love how the ‘king’ is a great fleet general, and his son the up-and-coming officer. I love Karl; he’s every bit the traditional sci-fi officer, but he’s also humble, hating his knick-name of the ‘prince’. The relationship between Karl and Elsa is sweet, the traditional Cinderella style, but that’s about as traditional as this story gets. Throw in some movie-worthy action, and heart-stopping suspense, to complete this distinctive retelling.
The last tale is The Moon Master’s Ball by Clara Diane Thompson. This took the fantasy of Cinderella and expounded it. Tilly is a quiet soft-spoken servant, perfectly content in her life, as long as she doesn’t have to deal with the local’s favorite supernatural fair: Bromley Meadow. While others only see the wonder, she saw the darkness and hates there. But for the man she considers a father, she risks going to meet The Moon Master. The characters she meets along the way are straight from any good fantasy, especially the man considered The Moon Master. The darker tale has Tilly not just going to a ball, but single handedly expected to face the darkness and free the one imprisoned by it. It’s a great tale, centered in an exciting fantastical world that’s sure to delight even while its suspense has the reader at the edge of their seat.
These are definitely stories well worth a read, especially if you’re on a Cinderella kick like I am. (Thanks Disney! lol). You can get Cinderella for Kindle and NOOK (and paperback) and Five Glass Slippers for Kindle and NOOK (and paperback) as well. And be sure to check out these awesome authors’ websites: Jenni James (and her Facebook), Elisabeth Brown, Emma Clifton, Rachel Heffington, Stephanie Ricker, Clara Diane Thompson. Enjoy Cinderella, and her glass slippers, in all her glories!