Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Cinders - Michelle Davidson Argyle
Author: Michelle Davidson Argyle
Genre: Fiction (Fantasy/Fairy Tale)
Did I finish?: Uhm, yeah. Got the book in the mail, opened first page to peruse, next thing I know, it's hours later and I'm on the last page!
One-sentence summary: Cinderella's story, after 'and they lived happily ever after'.
Why did I get this book?: Won it!
Source: Contest by VVB32 Reads, sent and signed by the author!
Do you like the cover?: Yes -- and as it's author designed, it actually relates to what's in the book!
First line from book: The twelfth week after the marriage Cinderella grew tired of the servants.
Did... I inhale this book in one sitting?: YES.
Did... I develop a tiny crush on Prince Charming: YES. What a goober.
Did... I get teary by the end: YES, in such a good way!
Review: This isn't a reboot or retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale; instead, it's a brief but engrossing take on what might have happened after the story ended. Argyle's writing is simple and straight-forward, in the type of style that fairy tales are told, but the character motivations and plot are far from simplistic. I was reminded of Emma Donoghue and Angela Carter a bit; while Argyle doesn't twist the story of Cinderella, she offers us a poignant version of what a life based on enchantment and magic would feel like. Cinderella (or Princess Christina, as she is called) lives in the palace with her lovely husband and amazing household, wondering at the authenticity of her prince's feelings and her own feelings in return. The fairy godmother's enchantments, once so welcome, now make everything Cinderella knows suspect and suspicious.
I have to confess, I was sort of bracing myself for some cruel reinvention of the story -- like Prince Charming was really a sadist -- and so I was pleasantly surprised and relieved that Argyle's characterizations are more subtle and deft. The twist of the story isn't that Cinderella's fairy tale life is really a nightmare; it's that nagging feeling that maybe it isn't really what she wanted.
The story is decidedly adult -- not in a XXX sort of way -- but in the mature and bittersweet resolution Argyle offers. I was completely unprepared for the book's conclusion -- in the best way -- and I'm planning a reread soon. I want to savor the story all over again!
The author is selling discounted copies of Cinders -- I highly recommend picking up a copy!