Vitale’s story starts off with an interesting premise: what if Cinderella wasn’t actually living happily ever after? What if the Prince was actually a philandering brute who didn’t love Cinderella at all? What if the Royal Family was only putting up with Cinderella in their lives so that she could produce an heir? Cinderella talks about all of this — and much more — in her daily journal entries, which start off as letters to her Fairy Godmother, who’s help she could use once again.
The story then takes a bit of a left-turn, as Cinderella goes to France and meets another man. She has an affair of her own, and becomes pregnant. Still interesting…having had enough of being treated like garbage by her husband, she enjoys the attentions of a young, handsome Frenchman. When Cinderella is told (by the local witch, who Cinderella was sent to see for help with her fertility) that she is carrying Henri’s baby, she decides to sever ties with the Royal Family and try to make it on her own…with only the assistance of the witch. And this is where the story lost me for good.
Vitale then changes the entire plot to be about magic. Cinderella’s magic, her late mother’s magic, the witch’s magic, her Fairy Godmother (who isn’t exactly as she seems), and the world of Dark Faerie Magic. The two plots simply didn’t seem to work together, in my opinion. I would have preferred to read about Cinderella living on her own, raising a child OR to read a story about dark magic and faeries. Not both together.
There has been lots of discussion on the CBR pages about the quality of the writing in this story. As a former editor (mostly non-fiction), my issue was more with the editing (or the lack thereof). The same words and phrases were repeated constantly, there was often a lack of continuity in the story (Cinderella couldn’t get her glass slippers off no matter how hard she tried, and on the next page, she’s wearing boots, etc…). A careful and thorough edit — even if it meant cutting huge chunks out of the story — would have improved the reading experience for me. I’m not interested in critiquing the writing. I’m not an author, and can only dream of being able to actually write a book. But I feel comfortable saying that a new editor might change these books for the better.
I’ll admit that I am not the target audience for this story. I’d be interested to know what a younger reader, maybe someone a bit more open to a Twilight-esque story, might think.