Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Before Midnight

Title: Before Midnight: A Retelling of "Cinderella"

Series: Once Upon a Time Fairytales

Year: 2007

Author: Cameron Dokey

Summary: Etienne de Brabant is brokenhearted. His wife has died in childbirth, leaving him alone with an infant daughter he cannot bear to name. But before he abandons her for king and court, he brings a second child to be raised alongside her, a boy whose identity he does not reveal.
The girl, La Cendrillon, and the boy, Raoul, pass sixteen years in the servants' care until one day a very fine lady arrives with her two daughters. The lady has married La Cendrillon's father, and her arrival changes their lives.
When an invitation to a great ball reaches the family, La Cendrillon's new stepmother will make a decision with far-reaching effects. Her choice will lead La Cendrillon and Raoul toward their destiny -- a choice that will challenge their understanding of family, test their loyalty and courage, and, ultimately, teach them who they are. (from Goodreads)
Main Characters:
~ Cendrillon
~ Raoul
~ Anastasia
~ Amelie 

Review: I love fairy tale retellings, and Cinderella stories (particularly at the moment) fascinate me. Sure, I'm not a huge fan of the original Cinderella tale with the dorky prince and sparkles everywhere, but hey! There's a lot of potential there! There are sooo many ways Cinderella can be retold, and this, Before Midnight, is just one of them.

First off, I really like how the author included Cinderella's father. In the original tale, he lived and was still around, but he kinda disappeared in the middle, only to pop up back at the end and dumbly remember he had a daughter named Cinderella. Cameron Dokey took his character and really fleshed him out. Definitely a plus.

The brother/sister relationship between Raoul and Cendrillon is not typical of most fairy tales, but I loved it. Usually, fairy tales get too wrapped up in describing the romantic love between couples, yet they miss out on some of the most rewarding love of all: the love of a sibling. Their banter was wonderful, and truthfully, I was glad that the author didn't stick them together at the end in romance. Also, I liked the different approach on her stepfamily. They treated Cendrillon like a servant, true, but there was character development involved, and the novel ended with multiple redeeming qualities and a noble kinship between Cendrillon and her stepfamily. 

There are three romances that pop up in the novel -- Cendrillon's and then also her stepsisters'. Personally, the relationship between Cendrillon and the prince I found horribly shallow. It was BOOM! they were introduced, interrupted, then met again, danced, and fell in love. Seriously, five minutes and they were sharing a kiss! *shakes head* There was a lot of talk about true love and love at first sight, but I felt they talked about it too much and never actually explained it. I'm not a proponent of insta-love, so it all seemed rather weird to me. Yes, I know this is a fairy tale, but... *sighs* Her stepsisters' romances, though, I found much more enjoyable. They took a little more time to known their prospective suitors, and their relationships were much more believeable. 

Advisory: Obviously -- romance. I believe there were three light kisses mentioned, but nothing really goes farther than that. 

There is a magical aspect to this novel that isn't really magic, but I thought I'd mention it. The weather, the garden -- certain things are described as being harsh, unproductive, etc. based on the treatment/attitude of Cendrillon's father. Characters make wishes, and those wishes are shown as coming true, though if some power was involved or if it was just coincidental, I cannot say. That was never fully explained, and on the whole, I thought all of that odd.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Click here to buy Before Midnight on Amazon!

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