Saturday, October 6, 2012

Before Midnight: A retelling of Cinderella

Author: Cameron Dokey
Pages: 193
Rating: G

Etienne de Brabant is brokenhearted. His wife has died in childbirth, leaving him alone with an infant daughter he cannot bear to name. But before he abandons her for king and court, he brings a second child to be raised alongside her, a boy whose identity he does not reveal.
The girl, La Cendrillon, and the boy, Raoul, pass sixteen years in the servants' care until one day a very fine lady arrives with her two daughters. The lady has married La Cendrillon's father, and her arrival changes their lives.
When an invitation to a great ball reaches the family, La Cendrillon's new stepmother will make a decision with far-reaching effects. Her choice will lead La Cendrillon and Raoul toward their destiny -- a choice that will challenge their understanding of family, test their loyalty and courage, and, ultimately, teach them who they are.

My Thoughts: A quick and cute read, definitely a nicer twist on Cinderella than you've heard before. The stepmother and sisters are actually nice, although they are not aware at first that Cendrillon is anything more than a servant. Her father, Etienne, has never mentioned her existence to anyone, and her homely appearance at the arrival of her new family leads them to believe she is a serving girl. However, they are not overly cruel to her, and when she does eventually reveal who she is, the family is very accepting and loving.

Again, Dokey has a problem of spending the entire book on buildup and not enough on climax and ending stuff, but I still enjoyed it, even though I figured out who Raoul really is very early on in the story. There's a lot in this book about wishes that are powerful and really come true, and love at first sight. I think it's probably one of the better ones I've read in the Once Upon a Time series.