Thursday, June 5, 2014

Five Glass Slippers

Five Glass Slippers by by Elisabeth Brown, Emma Clifton, Rachel Heffington, Stephanie Ricker, and Clara Diane Thompson. Rogglewood Press, 2014. 464p. (9780989447843)

I love fairy tale retellings and this was a delightful collection of five versions of Cinderella. Last year author Anne Elisabeth Stengl hosted a writing contest and the result was this book. Just this week the fairy tale for the next Rogglewood Press writing contest was announced. And if the quality of the Cinderella stories is anything to go by Five Enchanted Roses will be a fabulous collection as well.

I’ve interspersed my initial reaction to the story jotted down right after reading each story and a short review on each tale after the summaries of each one.

Goodreads Summary:

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.

My Reaction:
How fun! I do like the twist that the stepsisters and mother are nice. Though I wish we could have heard more of Arella’s thoughts.

My Review:
Elisabeth Brown does a great job giving us the classic story, but with a twist. Arella is painfully shy and does not want to marry the prince. I could almost imagine the story taking place in the settings of Disney’s movie but with a master editor rewinding and speculating ‘what if…’

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.

My Reaction:
Loved the ending! Especially the epilogue. This quote stuck out: “It does take more than one dance to find your soul-mate.” I really like that this story and the previous one both emphasize that fact.

My Review:
Emma Clifton mixed magic and steampunk together and came up with a story that has some of the harshness of the original Grimm fairy tales but also the characters to love and admire. I hope Emma continues writing stories set the land she created as I’m quite curious as to what happened to Ophelia and of course the epilogue is a perfect teaser for another fairy tale retelling.

The editors did a great job picking out stories that complimented each other because this one is a perfect bridge between a more traditional story to the political intrigue of the next tale and the outer space setting of the one after that.

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 . . .

My Reaction:
What a light hearted piece of fun and political intrigue! And a great “fairy” godfather!

My Review:
Rachel Heffington did a great job completely reimagining Cinderella has a charming political schemer who is actually a disinherited princess. The dialogue was witty and very well written.

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.

My Reaction:
Delightful. Nice to have a change from romance being the focus (though I’m sure a sequel would have plenty). Great riveting action and danger.

My Review:
Stephanie Ricker put Cinderella in a space suit in a far corner of the universe and crafted a very exciting tale. I especially liked that she used the names Jaq, Gus and Bruno for Elsa’s friends. Though I did keep picturing the dog when I read Bruno. His is a story I would love to read more of. The clones with their unique outfits were a great way to tie in the traditionally ill-dressed stepsisters.

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.

My Reaction:
Thrilling. Spooky. I do wish the word limit had been a bit longer since while the story is excellently told, the climax felt very rushed.

My Review:
Clara Diane Thompson painted an eerie scene and kept the mystery front and center. The sudden appearance and disappearance of the Circus reminded me of the Twelve-Year Market from the Tales of Goldstone Wood. Much has been written about the impracticality of glass slippers – and whether they were mistranslated and should be fur slippers, but in this story they finally had a purpose and a point.

All in all, this is an excellent collection of Cinderella stories. If you enjoy fairy tale retellings or any of the genres included than I highly recommend reading this book. 

Go read it! Pre-orderit from Amazon ($10.93) It will be available June 14, 2014! Add it on Goodreads – plus there’s a giveaway on Goodreads through the 24th!
(Prices good as of June 4, 2014 always double check for yourself)

Disclosure: I received this book from the editor for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission.

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