Title: Disenchanted: Not Your Typical Fairy Tale Romance
An alluring love triangle and a daring caper unfold in this imaginative retelling of Cinderella, featuring an indomitable damsel who’s not so easily swept off her glass slippers.
At the tender age of seventeen, Ella Upton lost her innocence to a traveling minstrel, a youth with flaxen hair and a golden voice whose deep blue eyes concealed his true intentions—until it was too late. Seven years later, Ella’s stepsisters chatter about winning the affections of the dreamy Prince Florian at the royal ball, but Ella has no such illusions. Instead, her dashing best friend, Malcolm Hawkridge, persuades her with his reckless charm and wicked smile to use the occasion to steal back a magic orb from the corrupt king.
But before the clock strikes midnight, Ella finds herself pursued by more than one prince—not to mention Commander Horatio Crushington, who captures her with his piercing gaze from across the crowded ballroom. Dancing through the sudden swirl of suitors, Ella feels her cheeks burning—and not solely because of the orb hidden in her gown. Has the strapping Horatio awakened long-dormant desires or is Ella finally coming to grips with her feelings for Malcolm? Only the girl who thought she’d given up on love can decide.
Author: Susan Carroll
Published by LoveSwept Source: Publisher
Published: March 7, 2017
Genres: Fairytale Re-telling
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This one was…wonderful, but also a disappointment. The premise of this novel is a good one – who doesn’t love a retelling of a classic fairytale? Carroll is an incredible writer. I have very little patience for world-building, so I had a hard time getting into this during Chapter 1, but once the author wrapped me into the characters, I was a goner. You couldn’t pay me to put the book down. I breathlessly read on, wondering who Ella was going to end up with. Was it her best friend, Mal? He was just bad enough to promise oh-so-good times, and he adores Ella. Their friendship is strong and they both would do anything for each other, as they each prove in the book. Would it be Captain Crushington, the honorable man whom Ella misjudges, then finds to be someone truly good and kind (and handsome)? Or would it be a surprise from her past, who isn’t even (spectacularly) thrown in until the last 15% of the novel?
There were so many questions left unanswered that I can only recommend this book in good faith if it has a sequel. With no word from the author or publisher, I’m a little nervous to believe there is only one of these books. If that’s true, I’ll be so disappointed. It was fun, fast, and so well-drawn. The characters made me want to be a part of this horribly corrupt kingdom with it’s weirdness and good people and shady characters.
We can’t be left hanging like this. At the end, Ella seemingly makes her choice. But too many questions are left wide open. I mean, there are at least a dozen loose ends that were left wide open: Who was Ella’s father really? What about her mother’s past was kept hidden from Ella? What happens to the fairy in the pawn shop? What will the other suitors say when they realize she didn’t choose them? What was the crazy kind of light in Mal’s eyes about? Whatever happened with her sister and the prince? What’s up with the witch, Delphine? YOU SEE, THE QUESTIONS DON’T STOP!! I’ll be keeping my (ever-hopeful) eye out for a follow-on book. I’m hoping Ella gets her happily-ever-after with the man she chose, but with the way her life goes, I think I’m supposed to believe there’s no way that would happen. And the thing is…I don’t know!! It’s the most confusing feeling I’ve ever had when finishing a romance novel.
But not all was lost. I did get my happy sigh…but it was then interrupted (in the middle of it, quite literally!) when Ella has to go and insert this into the moment:
I reflected that in all the old romantic tales, this was where the story would end with “and they lived happily ever after.” But I fear I was still too practical to believe in that. I was sadly familiar with the kind of tragic things that can happen to shatter dreams, death and betrayal and the difficulty of merely trying to survive under the harsh rules of our kingdom.
WHAT?! Does this mean there’s more to the story? Or that we’re supposed to simply accept this as a universal truth as easily as we did when Disney spoon-fed us the exact opposite idea? If the author was trying to point out that we have always accepted the “happily ever after” without the need to wonder about what happens next, and that we should be just as easily persuaded to do the same with the opposite idea, I concede her brilliance. If not…well, then, that was just not cool. Give me a release date for the next one, already!
A very confused 4.5 stars, and a definitive hope for this to be a series.