When Ron Vitale approached me about reading and possibly reviewing Cinderella’s Secret Diary: Lost, I was intrigued by the concept. This is the first book in this new series. Being an extremely curious person, I’ve always wanted to know what happens after fairy tales end. “Happily ever after” has a nice ring to it but what really happens? Although this novel works well as a YA fantasy, it is also going to be very appealing to older readers who always wondered about that “happily ever after” stuff once reality sets in. Ron has generously donated a copy of Cinderella’s Secret Diary, which we’re giving to a lucky reader!
Every little girl knows the story of Cinderella, who’s been horribly mistreated by her evil stepmother and two nasty stepsisters. When Cinderella receives an invitation to the ball and her fairy godmother swoops in to rescue her with every girl’s dream of a gown, slippers, coach and footmen – ah and glass slippers – we’re all cheering. Then when the prince falls for this mysterious girl, scours the land to find her, and she’s recued once again to become his princess – well, we all just swoon as little girls.
But the truth is that none of us, including Cinderella, know much at all about the prince except that he’s cute, single, persistent, dances well, and is – well – a prince. Not much to base a marriage on, right? And that’s where Cinderella’s Secret Diary comes in. For those of us who always wanted the scoop on what happened after they were married, here it is. This novel is set in 18th century England, when Napoleon was coming into power and monarchies throughout Europe were feeling a bit unsettled to say the least.
Cinderella and the prince have been married for several years when she begins to keep a diary to write down her thoughts and feelings about what is happening in her life and marriage. She’s trying to work through what she could have done differently, figure out what’s going on, and determine what she’s going to do next.
“Dear Fairy Godmother,
Although I am a fool to believe you will ever read these words, I begin this diary in the hope of reaching you. I need your help.”
After they were married, Cinderella learned the main reason the prince married her was because he was being pressured to produce an heir for the throne. Unfortunately, she’s been unable to provide him with one. That, and his propensity to party with friends while pretending she doesn’t exist, has soured their marriage. She truly loved the prince when she married him but has begun to doubt whether he ever loved her. He treats her with increasing disdain and anger. She feels trapped because she has no options, and she still has the faint hope that he loves her underneath everything.
“The Prince’s patience with me is gone, and I ponder on what I may have done wrong, only to realize that what he and I once shared is not as solid as I once thought.”
Through writing in her diary, Cinderella has finally been able to reconnect briefly with her fairy godmother for the first time since she married the prince. That is giving her some hope and support as she struggles to come to grips with her situation and what to do.
Like many women who feel their marriage is crumbling, Cinderella has been trying anything and everything to hold it together, as if the responsibility rests solely on her shoulders. At the same time, she’s disgusted by how the prince treats her. She feels she needs some time away from the castle and the prince to gain some perspective on her life and what she wants, and she’s decided the place to do that is Paris.
The Queen is intent on one thing, an heir. Cinderella knows if she produces an heir then she will remain at the castle but if she doesn’t then they will find a way to set her aside, something that terrifies her. The Queen, who is not totally blind to her son’s behavior, agrees to let her go to Paris for some R&R but orders her to see a witch there who has helped other women become pregnant. Despite her fairy godmother’s warnings against it, Cinderella sees no option but to do as the Queen orders.
“She [the Queen] put her tea cup down and looked me up and down. ‘Do you mind if I am frank with you?’ She did not wait for me to respond. ‘You are important to me because you can bear the heir to the throne. If you work with me, then I will support you. Understood?’”
Cinderella’s Secret Diary: Lost is not just the story of a crumbling 18th century royal marriage but woven into it are all the elements of fantasy including faeries, witches, ghostly figures, fairy godmothers and more. There is also enough suspense to appeal to anyone of any age. The novel is written in a diary format, which isn’t my favorite; however, it sucked me in and I had to keep reading to find out what happened. I wish I’d read this when I was a teenager. I believe it will appeal to women of all ages.
Cinderella’s Secret Diary: Lost was released in August, 2011, so it should be available from your favorite bookseller below:
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One lucky reader will win a copy of Cinderella’s Secret Diary: Lost by Ron Vitale.
1) The deadline for entries is Saturday night, 11/19/2011, at 11:59pm EST. No entries after that date/time will be eligible.
2) This giveaway is open to entries with U.S. mailing addresses only because we do not ship books outside of the U.S.
3) You must be at least 13 years old to enter this giveaway.
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7) That’s it – it’s a very easy giveaway, so have fun and best of luck!
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