Monday, October 27, 2014

Five Glass Slippers

Title: Five Glass Slippers

Series: First in Rooglewood's series of retold fairy tale collections

Year: 2014

Author: Elisabeth Brown, Emma Clifton, Rachel Heffington, Stephanie Ricker, Clara Diane Thompson


What happens when Cinderella is so painfully shy that she cannot bear the idea of attending the royal ball? Or when the slipper fits . . . but on the wrong girl? What happens when Cinderella is determined to oust an imposter prince from her rightful throne? Or when she is a cendrillon miner working from a space station orbiting a cthonian planet? What happens when Cinderella, a humble housemaid, is sent with a message for a prisoner trapped in a frightening fairy circus?

Here is Cinderella as you have never met her before, wearing glass slippers and off on unforgettable adventures!

WHAT EYES CAN SEE: Elisabeth Brown
Painfully shy Arella begs her stepmother to let her stay home from the prince’s ball. But kindly Duchess Germaine is determined that her beautiful stepdaughter should be presented at court along with her own two daughters. So, dressed in a gorgeous gown and a pair of heirloom slippers, Arella catches the eye of the crown prince . . . and finds her life suddenly far more complicated than she ever desired.

BROKEN GLASS: Emma Clifton
The slipper fits . . . but on the wrong girl! Rosalind never once danced with Prince Marius at the ball, for she is in love with his brother Henry. If only Rosalind and Marius would stop bickering long enough to invent a scheme, perhaps the three of them can find the real mystery lady. But they must work quickly, for dark deeds are afoot, and the kingdom is poised on the brink of disaster.

THE WINDY SIDE OF CARE: Rachel Heffington
Alisandra is determined to have her rights. She knows that she is the king’s secretly dispossessed daughter, the true heir to the throne. Prince Auguste is an imposter, and if she plays her cards right, Alis will prove it to the world! That is, if charming Auguste doesn’t succeed in winning her heart before she gets her chance . . .

A CINDER’S TALE: Stephanie Ricker
It’s a dangerous life, yet Elsa wouldn’t trade this opportunity to work at Tremaine Station, mining cendrillon from the seething surface of planet Aschen. Nevertheless, when a famous deep space explorer and his handsome son dock their starcraft at the space station, Elsa finds herself dreaming of far galaxies beyond Aschen's blistering heat. There is no time for dreaming, however, when danger threatens the space station, and Elsa and her fellow miners are tested to the limits of their courage.

THE MOON MASTER’S BALL: Clara Diane Thompson
After her terrifying experience there several years ago, the one place young housemaid Tilly longs to avoid is Bromley’s Circus. But when kindly Lord Hollingberry begs her to deliver a message to the mysterious Moon Master hidden away among the circus dwellers, Tilly can’t refuse . . . and finds herself ensnared in a web of enchantment cast by the loathsome Mrs. Carlisle and her beautiful goddaughter.
(from Goodreads)

Main Characters:
What Eyes Can See ~ Arella, Drusilla, & Frederick
Broken Glass ~ Rosalind, Marius, Henry, Evelyn, & Darcy
The Windy Side of Care ~ Alisandra & Auguste
A Cinder's Tale ~ Elsa, Bruno, Jaq, Gus, Marraine, & Karl
The Moon Master's Ball ~  Tilly, Lord Hollingberry, Caroline, & the Moon Master

Review: With all the fantastic-ness that surrounds Cinderella retellings, Five Glass Slippers should be on every fairy tale lover's bookshelf. Seriously. Last year, Rooglewood Press and Anne Elisabeth Stengl hosted a contest in which five Cinderella stories would be selected for the ultimate collection. I, among many, began a story for the contest, and I fell among those who didn't finish in time. Yet, I'm not complaining. There was no way I could have entered my 198,000 word Secret of the Hazel Tree into a contest which sported 20,000 words as the greatest limit. *winks* Who knows? Maybe this year I'll manage a decent entry into the new contest -- Beauty and the Beast!

What Eyes Can See has been labeled the "romance" of this collection, and I'd have to agree. While the others tend to have aspects of romance, Elisabeth Brown made the romance the focus of her story -- which is not a bad thing! It's very sweet, and a quick tale for those who want a little something more from the usual Cinderella tale. Arella, our seemingly heroine, is painfully shy and wishes to keep to herself. Her stepfamily, far from the cliche horrors of the original tale, do their best to help her in whatever ways they can, even taking her to the big ball thrown in Prince Frederick's honor. My only complaint with this story would be a certain plot twist (which I won't reveal here -- spoilers, you know) that had absolutely no foreshadowing. Normally, I don't mind being caught off guard, but this seemed a little too sudden. The ending was marvelous, and extremely satisfactory.

Broken Glass was an excellent read; I considered this my favorite of the collection until... well, you'll see. But this was wonderfully crafted. It's basically Cinderella turned upside-down when the slipper fits on the wrong girl! Rosalind wants to marry Prince Henry but finds the king forcing her to marry the elder brother, Marius, instead. Meanwhile, Marius longs for the girl he danced with, but no one seems to know who she is nor indeed where she happened to get Rosalind's glass dancing slippers. I loved reading the scenes with Marius and Rosalind, for both knew they hated the other, yet their arguments were always so hilarious! Throw in some exploding carriages, fairy godmothers who really don't know what they're doing, and this tale just gets even better. The magic aspect of this story was light, and just as you'd want magic in a fairy tale.

The Windy Side of Care was actually the only tale I was familiar with before picking up Five Glass Slippers. I've followed Rachel Heffington's blog for a while now, and from the moment she posted snippets from her entry, I knew it was going to take a place in the final five selections. No doubt about it. Alis is a young servant in her stepmother's household, just as we'd expect of our Cinderella. However, unlike Cinderella, she knows she's the rightful heir to the throne. She looks exactly like the king, and that's only one of her arguments. Alis teams up with the Lord Humphries, a "godfather" she's never actually met, to undertake the task of proving her lineage. This story felt very Dickens-ish in character, what with plotted murders, tangled webs, and not-as-you'd-expect courtroom cases. Rachel has taken everything we love about Cinderella, shaken it out, flipped it inside-out, and given it all back to us on a silver platter. 

A Cinder's Tale... ah, the more I think about this story, the more I realize it was indeed my favorite out of the entire collection. And thank the stars Stephanie Ricker is writing more set in this world, because I want to know more about Elsa and her crew! Cinderella set in space, eh? Really, it's amazing. To be truthful, I thought it odd that this story should be placed among this collection, as it has no glass slipper in it. True, the famed footwear is mentioned, but no one, and certainly not our Cinderella, wears any during the length of the tale. Stephanie gives us more than just a ball in this story, for this story is also presents a good deal of action and danger. I'm usually not a sci-fi type of gal, but I must say, this particular genre is growing on me. If you haven't read A Cinder's Tale yet, you need to. Just sayin'.

And here we come to the last chapter in which.... Oh, no, sorry. Wrong Disney movie. Bonus points for anyone who recognizes that. *coughs* The Moon Master's Ball is the last of this collection, and let me say, it really wraps things up with a bang! To be truthful, this was probably my least favorite of the collection just because of its darker themes. Tilly, our Cinderella for this story, gets wrapped up in the magic surrounding Bromley's Circus, the annual event most people of Winslow village look forward to. But for Tilly, the circus holds only painful memories, nightmares that haunt her. And her neck bears the scars to prove it. Nothing would induce her to return to the circus.... unless it be kindly Lord Hollingberry's express order. The magic gets deeper with every new page, and Tilly discovers a lot more about fairy godmothers and curses than she wants. The only thing I found confusing was why it was Tilly herself that got roped into the adventure. She was chosen out of a household of maids to deliver Lord Hollingberry's letter and then called upon several times to help again -- why Tilly personally? Never really got that answer.

Advisory: Broken Glass and The Moon Master's Ball both contain magic, for those concerned on that account. While both are technically based on fairy tales, the magic in TMMB seemed just a little too dark for a fairy tale, in my opinion. I didn't care for how heavily the story was steeped in it.

Some romance, obviously, yet it was all light. A few kisses, some handsome men... you know how it goes. And along that note, there were some less-than-desirous circumstances surrounding Alis's and Auguste's births in TWSoC. While nothing is described, I found it just a tick uncomfortable.

TWSoC also includes some (what I'd call) mature language (i.e. "egads," "deuce," etc) -- just something to take note of.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Click here to buy Five Glass Slippers on Amazon!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment moderation has been enabled. Please make certain that all your comments contain appropriate subject, content, topic, and, most importantly, glorify God. Thank you!