I've got into the mood of reading again!
Author: K.M. Shea
Title: Cinderella and the Colonel
Release date: 8th of July 2014
Series: Timeless Fairy Tales #3
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Romance, Fairy tale
Published by: Take Out the Trash
Pages: 238 in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle
The country of Erlauf is the enemy, as far as Cinderella is concerned. Since Erlauf took over her home country, Cinderella has been forced to manage her once opulent duchy like a tightly budgeted farm. Gone are the days of wealth and luxury. Instead, Cinderella dons servants’ clothes and sells all her luxuries to save her servants and her duchy from the mountain of debt she’s racked up due to Erlauf fines and taxes.
Romance and forgiveness are the last things on Cinderella’s mind. Unfortunately the rakish Erlauf Colonel Friedrich has other ideas.
Cinderella thinks she needs a pile of money to save her duchy, and for the Erlauf invaders to leave. What she gets is a debonair Erlauf colonel, a fairy godmother, four mice, two goats, a pair of glass slippers, and a pumpkin.
I’m reading a lot of Cinderella inspired stories lately and, even though, it’s my favourite fairy tale, I’m in an extra greedy mood for them. Luckily, there are heaps of books to choose from but, unfortunately, most don’t really offer anything fresh to a person who has basically read it all based on this particular source material. Thus, I’m particularly nit-picky, whiney and demanding, because I’ve managed to figure out what exactly makes a Cinderella remake wonderful to me and most don’t manage to score in that aspect.
Now this retelling is what I’m talking about when I want a quality Cinderella story and, honestly, I always think it is too much to ask for if my ideal version of the fairy tale is where Cinderella and the prince actually meet before the ball, get to know each other quite well, actually fall in love and it has to be as realistic as possible, and only then can the whole party, pumpkin and slipper debacle show itself. Most stories use the outline of the fairy tale, but there is no meat on the bones and it comes out extremely dull, repetitive and a nuisance to finish. So, I can’t be more happier when I discovered that this book actually gives the couple distinct and likable personalities, an interesting setting, an actual prologue to the ball and absolutely awesome bantery dialogue.
Things I loved:
Cinderella was an actual power woman, she did absolutely everything and still managed to be a role model, hold her head high, kick butt and not need a man to save her. She also wasn’t a complete wuss like many of her namesakes. Yes, I know that Cinderella’s most valued asset is her kindness in such awful circumstance, but most of the time she is made to be this helpless wet blanket, a kind one, of course, but it is so rare to see a kickass Cinderella, that has taken all the positive characteristic from the original and added independence, bravery, attitude, determination and a sharp mind to it. This Cinderella didn’t depend on others to save her, she could paddle her way out of the deep by herself.
I was also impressed by the Colonel. He wasn’t your cardboard prince charming just there to fall in love at first sight and whisk Cinderella away from all her troubles. He was sneaky, funny, loyal, and extremely charming without being fake, 2D and just because of his handsome looks or title.
I loved loved loved the courting and getting acquainted phase of the romance, it was decently long, adorable, with light humour and lots of banter, teasing, aww-moments and it was simply a pleasure to follow. I truly felt the emotions, connection and understanding forming between the two and the ball was nowhere in sight yet. And THAT is the main trait of a truly magnificent, original and successful, plus believable, retelling of a Cinderella story to me!
The setting was quite promising as well. There was subtle world building as an intriguing background for the main story. It’s obvious that there is something huge going on that spans the whole series and, thus, the main story felt bigger and more important to the overall plot. I didn’t, however, like that in the beginning of the book (I haven’t read other books from the series) there were no traces of magic involved and in the latter half it became an essential part of the story. The sudden change so far in the story just felt slightly off and out of place. I liked the realistic non-magical version of the story more.
Things I didn’t love:
Well, there weren’t any major ones, so…
I’m so incredibly glad I stumbled on this in my futile quest to read all Cinderella based romances, because it shows that all is not lost and excellent retellings still exist and not all has been done and tried yet. I wholeheartedly suggest this book to all Cinderella and fairy tale lovers.