Monday, November 24, 2014

A Modern Cinderella

Title: A Modern Cinderella or, The Little Old Shoe and Other Stories 

Series: None 

Year: 2012 (republication) 

Author: Louisa May Alcott 

Summary: This book contains four short stories by Louisa May Alcott: A Modern Cinderella, Debby's Debut, The Brothers, and Nelly's Hospital. (from Goodreads)

Main Characters:
~ Nan
~ Debby Wilder
~ Miss Dane
~ Nelly

Review: This collection of short stories from Louisa May Alcott is sweet. It didn't take me long to read through the entire Kindle version, and I enjoyed it. Usually, I'm not a huge fan of short stories, but I'm glad I picked this one up. My main interest in this collection came entirely from its title: A Modern Cinderella. Looking up whatever Cinderella retellings I could, and being a fan of L.M. Alcott, I decided this should go on my list.

A Modern Cinderella tells the tale of... well, a modern Cinderella. Nan is our heroine, and her story is very much in the style of Alcott's most famous work, Little Women. It's light and sweet, and the differences played from the original Cinderella tale are refreshing. Nan's father is still alive, yet suffers from health problems; her sisters allow her to play the servant, but that's only because they're so busy in their own hobbies/interests that they don't often notice her working hard in the background. But for all their faults, they love her to pieces. One of my favorite things about this short story was the portrayal of the shoe. No, Nan didn't lose it at the ball, but I really enjoyed how Alcott worked it into the plot.

Debby's Debut is basically a coming-out story, and I think it's safe to say that this was my favorite of the four. Yes, they were all good, but this one seemed to have a little more wit and spice than the others. Debby, or Dora, as her aunt Pen calls her, is a young lady getting ready for grand society. She's used to being a country girl but now faces the arduous task of coming out at the beach under Aunt Pen's strict eye. Debby's not very good at flirting, and her country manners, though charming, and not refined enough for society's taste. Even though she appreciates her aunt's intervention, Debby doesn't agree with everything that society wishes her to do.

The Brothers is the darkest tale of the collection, pulling some of Alcott's wartime nursing experience into the plot. Miss Dane is an accomplished nurse to whom the doctor entrusts the care of two wounded men when the hospital beds overflow. One man is a white Rebel who is broken down with a horrible fever; the other, a mulatto man with some facial wounds. Miss Dane cares for them both, but finds surprise when she discovers the two men are connected in a very strange, but bitter, way. She thought she was to save their lives from their illnesses/injuries... not from each other.

Nelly's Hospital brings the collection to an end, and such a sweet end it is, too. Nelly is a young girl whose only desire is to lend a hand at the hospital. Her brother has just come home from the war and, seeing how he suffered, Nelly wants to offer compassion and assistance to others like him. She's too young to help in a real hospital, but her mother heartily approves of her setting up a miniature Sanitary Ambulance to help ailing creatures and other small pets. Together with her friend Tony, Nelly becomes the nurse she's always dreamed of being and makes a bigger impact than even she thought possible.

Advisory: Some profanity in The Brothers as characters vent their emotions.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Click here to buy A Modern Cinderella on Amazon!
It's currently free on Kindle!

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