Soot and Slipper by Kate Stradling (2019)
So, it’s easy to guess from the title that this is a Cinderella retelling. It’s fairly short – novella length – but it packs a lot into its 144 pages, both in external story, and the internal journey of Eugenie, the Cinderella of the tale.
All the familiar motifs are present: the stepmother, a pair of selfish stepsisters, magical slippers, a fairy godmother, and of course, the ball and the prince and the dress – but there’s a nice little twist on all of the tropes. The wicked stepmother is actually very sweet – or is she…? The prince is more of a clown than a charmer – or is he…? The fairy godmother is very helpful – or is she…? It was a lot of fun trying to guess which way the story was going to go, and what the real motivations of the characters were. I especially liked the fairy godmother and the stepmother, they kept me guessing the longest.
I can’t say too much about the story without giving it away; but we know how the story has to end, and I would have been disappointed not to have got my expected HEA, but it was a fun journey to see how everything played out, with its little twists and turns along the way. The romance was sweet and clean, the language was sparkly, and the dresses were fun! This was my first fairy tale by Kate Stradling, but it definitely won’t be my last.