Once upon a time, in a land far, far away…
…(actually, in Medieval France, to be exact) there lived Cinderella’s stepsisters, Fredegonde the tall and Javotte the small. They wake up the morning after the legendary ball to learn that they each still have a chance to be the bride—all they have to do is make their feet fit into that tricky slipper. Alas, these two damsels under stress never quite seem to fit in anywhere. But that doesn’t stop them from wishing and hoping as they set upon a quest for grooms and grandeur of their own.
This one is quite interesting, as instead of focusing on Cinderella, like most fairytale retellings do, you get to see her step-sister’s point of view. The novel begins the morning after that fateful ball, and after the magic has worn off, you’ll see that things are not always what they seem. Cinderella’s sisters and mother are struggling to keep their house. Because they are women, they cannot inherit property, and one of the daughters must marry before the end of the month if they are to keep their land.
Of course, once Cinderella is plucked from obscurity and brought to the castle, she no longer cares for her family’s plight, which leaves them in quite the desperate situation. We also realize that the prince isn’t quite a princely as he would seem, and duke is a conniving old man, and a troubadour may not be all he’s crack up to be.
I loved the fact that we got more of a realistic setting here, as it is based in Normandy in the medieval times. There’s so many different conflicting storylines here, but at the same time Papadopoulos manages to weave them together very well. There’s also the question of if true love really exists, or if people only get married to further their own interests.
I quite loved this book, the only thing that occasionally tripped me up were the french words sprinkled throughout. However, I believe that you could reasonably understand what they are referring to from context. All in all, quite the lovely retelling, I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the medieval period or fairytale retellings.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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