I’ve had this book on my to-be-read pile since the day it was released. But I’ve shirked reading it because, at heart, a romantic. I want Kate Middleton, er, I mean Cinderella, to get her Prince and live happily ever after, and the blurb suggested strongly that this story was not your conventional fairy tale.
Indeed it wasn’t. A well-written, easy to read fantasy, I was drawn into the post-honeymoon stage of Cinderella’s life with the skill of veteran author, although this is Davidson’s debut novel.
The only minor issue I had with the story was I felt that the characterisation of Prince Rowland was weaker than the other characterisation, making Cinderella’s choices blurred at times.
But, as Cinderella is slowly awakened to a deeper knowledge that the grass isn’t always greener of the other side of the hill, the emotional layers of the story deepen into a poignant melancholy. How many women, on marrying the Prince of their dreams, realise that once the honeymoon is over, no life can ever be the perfect life we dream of.
Instead, what Cinderella finds is a power and a responsibility that she didn’t know was hers for the taking. Stepping into her full power brings moments of deep realisation: this is, ultimately, a tale of a girl who was a victim becoming the captain of her own fate, never an easy or comfortable road to take.
I was left moved and, yes, as a romantic, a little bit saddened by this tale. But I’m glad I read it, because it was profound and challenging and, while the difficulties of life were never minimised, it ended on a new beginning: Cinderella had learned just what she was capable of and we know that she has the strength to do what must be done.
Davidson is an author to watch, and I look forward to reading her future work.