Author: Julie Wright
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: October 21, 2019
Rating: 3 Stars
Book Description: A modern, reimagined Cinderella story.
Charlotte Kingsley loves to write and dreams of having her reimagined fairy tales published, but she keeps getting rejected over and over. And to top it all off, her best friend, Anders, gets engaged, making her realize she s going to lose the Prince Charming who lives next door. After another rejection letter from a New York publisher, Charlotte decides to switch gears. What if she wrote a book about celebrating women for who they really are instead of trying to create a fantasy world for them to visit? She could call it The Cinderella Fiction, fill it with practical advice for living authentically, become ridiculously successful, and then find the confidence to tell Anders how she feels before it s too late.
Encouraged with her plan, Charlotte s new book practically writes itself and incredibly a small boutique publisher makes a quick offer to publish it. Though the publisher is well-known, it s a small company with limited resources. Charlotte worries about the book being successful and decides to sink her entire advance into hiring a premier publicity firm to make her book a bestseller. She also discovers that Anders has called off his engagement, and wants to try a relationship with Charlotte. Suddenly her fairy tale dreams seem to be coming true.
However, Charlotte s publicist has very specific ideas about how to market the book and the author. Which means Charlotte with her average looks, cluttered apartment, and penchant for raspberry fudge ice cream will need to undergo a total transformation in a social media makeover which will have to exclude her best friend Anders. After all, people who see Charlotte s perfect imperfections through a carefully curated Instagram account will relate and naturally want to buy her book.
At first, Charlotte is excited to enter this fantasy world and play dress up, and Anders reluctantly agrees to go along with it, even though it means he s largely out of Charlotte s social media life and hidden from her public life entirely. Gone are the days of posting in sweatpants, taking photos of take-out dinners, and chronicling just hanging out. And even though her life is now filled with book tours, parties, and publicity events, she wishes she could have Anders with her in private and in public to complete her fairy tale life.
The toll of her new life soon proves exhausting. Telling women to be authentic even while she herself is undergoing elaborating staging to get just the right image for her social media accounts makes her feel like a fraud. She hasn t written anything new in months, and her relationship with Anders is falling apart. During a publicity event, Charlotte meets one of her favorite authors, someone who has more than thirty bestsellers. When she takes Charlotte under her wing, Charlotte is sure she has found her fairy godmother. Rather than helping her change her outward appearance, this seasoned author helps Charlotte see the beautiful person she already is and the worth of being authentic.
In the end, Anders feels like his relationship with Charlotte is just another one of her carefully curated images, a side-note even, and he decides to head home to his native Finland. Though she tells herself he ll come around eventually, Charlotte needs to decide what she believes in: the fairy tale persona, or the woman Anders has always loved before he s gone forever.
Book Review: I was really excited when I saw that this was a retelling of Cinderella, however, I had major difficulty seeing parallels. With all that being said there are a lot of things that this author does that makes this book totally stand on it’s own merit.
This story centers around Charlotte (aka, Char, Lettie), who works for a job she hates and wants to become an author. She feels like she has been rejected for the last time when she basically writes her manifesto. This book quickly gets picked up and a lot of buzz surrounds the release of her new book.
At the same time, her best friend and neighbor Anders, wants to pursue a relationship with Lettie, which she absolutely wants. Charlotte is thrown into a new world, one where appearances matter and that does not totally align with Anders and how he perceives Charlotte should have to act in order for this book to be published. Charlotte has hard choices to make regarding her relationships, her career and what she really wants.
This book had many highs and some lows with it. The first quarter was a bit of a slog, but once I got through that I just enjoyed so much. This to me was more coming of age than a romance. This was a fun romp that is very nice palate cleanser.
Thank you NetGalley and Shadow Mountain for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.