Exactly -- "sweet" pretty much perfectly sums it up. This sounds very intriguing. I never thought very much about the Cinderella story until your Cinderella week which was an amazing blog party, by the by. Just in case I hadn't told you that , but since then I've been much more interested in the story, and I'd really like to read some of the different takes on it. So thank you very much for the review. As if my to-read list wasn't long enough already.

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Yet another fairy tale retelling by Cameron Dokey! I hope she never stops writing these. Her mother died soon after, one life ending as another begins. He essentially curses the ground where his wife is buried, ensuring that nothing will thrive there, and he lives with no intention of ever returning. Under the guidance of Old Mathilde—the godmother with just a touch of wishing magic, Raoul and Cendrillon grow up as good friends, working hard alongside the servants to keep the huge, old, isolated stone house and estate running smoothly.

One day, Niccolo, an injured messenger from the neighboring hostile kingdom, shows up at their door. Instead of treating him as an enemy, they take him in, feeding him and healing him. He becomes friends with Raoul and Cendrillon—love overcomes suspicion and bonds are formed between enemies. The stepmother and two stepsisters arrive at the house, essentially sent away from court as inconveniences.

Anastasia, the younger stepsister, is cruel to Cendrillon. The stepmother is icy and removed. Yet, in the end, love wins them over as well. Cendrillon is embraced as another daughter, and Anastasia often marvels that Cendrillon is so kind to her. I found this to be a welcome change to the story—people who are unapologetically selfish and cruel can get pretty boring.

The stepsisters find love, though not always smoothly, and soon the stepmother, stepsisters, Old Mathilde, Cendrillon, Raoul, and Niccolo are a united front against whatever the world might bring against them.

And court intrigues and scheming fathers and corrupt royal mothers all come into play. Pumpkins are a recurring theme, often representing hope. The story has familiar themes and a happy ending, but the plot takes a different route to get there.

Definitions of family vary widely. After some tough transitions, the stepmother truly does take in Cendrillon as one of her own daughters. Raoul is like a brother, and eventually so is Niccolo. Old Mathilde is like a mother or grandmother to them all.

There is some magic around weather and plants. The gardens produce unpredictable yields, such as an apple orchard producing oranges or pears, and sunflowers springing up overnight. Wishing is its own kind of magic, with some wishes being more powerful than others.

Not all wishes come true—at least not the first time you wish them—and many come true in unexpected ways. Love is the most powerful magic of all. The romance is sweet, sincere, and PG rated. The birth is early, sudden, and violent, but the reader experiences that mostly through descriptions of the storm that accompanies it. Her death resonates through the rest of the story as Cendrillon and her father grieve and try to come to terms with it in their own ways.

There is some explicit discussion about the process of moving from grieving to mourning to recovery. This book is suitable for a reader old enough to want to think a bit about the nature of love, wishes, and grief.

And I really appreciated her twist on the stepmother and stepsisters. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Reads 4 Tweens Because you want to know what they're reading.

What Is This Site? Before Midnight March 29, by ayvalentine Leave a Comment. Magic There is some magic around weather and plants. Love Love is the most powerful magic of all. Talking About Twelve Dancing Princesses Talking About Please Note Links on this site will lead you to Amazon. If you make a purchase, I'll receive a referral fee. Return to top of page. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email.


Before Midnight

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Before Midnight: A Retelling of ''Cinderella'' (Once upon a Time Series)

By Cameron Dokey and Mahlon F. What do you know about yourself? What are your stories? The ones you tell yourself, and the ones told by others. All of us begin somewhere. Though I suppose the truth is that we begin more than once; we begin many times. Over and over, we start our own tales, compose our own stories, whether our lives are short or long.

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