Fairy tales are often about consequences. Wishes granted, chances taken, deeds done. And then something happens, for better or worse.
In CINDERS, Cinderella is married and living in the castle, but she questions how real this life is and whether her prince truly loves her or is just under a spell. After all, her fairy godmother set the whole thing up.
Cinderella is not only harboring doubts, she's having memories of some other love, elusive and strange. Yes, this Cinderella isn't so sure what she wants now that her original wish has been granted.
Michelle Davidson Argyle has taken the ancient story down a dark future path, following a long tradition of altering fairy tales.
Among the earliest written accounts of Cinderella are 17th century works by Charles Perrault and Madame d'Aulnoy, long before the Brothers Grimm jotted it down, although the seed of the story may be thousands of years old.
Michelle explores a not-so-happy future for the princess in this novella. It's full of mysteries--both personal secrets and castle intrigues that kept me turning pages, reading for hours straight. I was surprised by twists in the story, as well as horrified at several consequences.
I don't like to read spoilers myself, so I don't give away much plot when I review. The only thing I would have liked was a bit more development of some plot points, which shows I was invested enough to want more. I was very satisfied with Cinderella's final choice. Sometimes, the only thing to do is rise from the ashes.
Here is a writing sample to whet your appetite:
"What have they done to you?" Cinderella saw two images in her mind: the Eolande she had first met in the shadowy darkness of her room--a tall beautiful woman who seemed to be made more of light than anything else, and then, when actual sunlight broke across the horizon, an old woman with cherry-tinged cheeks and a wink in her eye. Neither of these images represented what Cinderella saw now: a skeleton of a woman so thin and aged she looked as if she belonged to the worn stone walls.
I'm awed by Michelle's creative process in making this book. First, she wrote a fresh, riveting take on an old tale. Then she shot the cover art and self-published it, which had been her intent all along. Now, a gorgeous new book exists in the world, and I hope many people discover it. Check out her blog for contests and events surrounding the release. To purchase, you can go to Amazon.
(P.S. I wrote this review late last night and woke up this morning thinking how much I admire the risk Michelle took in writing a main character who is not always likable. Cinderella does some things that made me cringe, but that's what makes her so real.)
I have a signed copy to give away to one lucky reader. All you have to do is leave a comment that has something to do with fairy tales. Do you have a favorite? Have you ever re-written one or wanted to? The contest will be open through Friday, Aug. 20.