Author: Marie Sexton
Publisher: Self Published
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Length: novella/133 pp/27.2K words
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Review Summary: A different and unusual take on an old fable which brought it to life once more and reminded me why this book was and still is so loved.
It’s all fun and games until somebody loses a shoe…
Eldon Cinder would give anything to see Prince Xavier one last time, but only women are invited to the royal ball. When the local witch offers to make Eldon female for just one night, he agrees.
One spell. One night. One dance.
What could possibly go wrong?
Most of us remember the story of Cinderella and her stepsisters and how it ended. Well prepare yourself for Cinder Fella or Cinder in Marie Sexton’s adaptation of this fairy tale.
Eldon’s parents had died when he was 10 years old and he was left in the care of his mother’s twin sister who was not happy taking care of her nephew, so instead of being a part of the family Eldon became a servant. While there was no wicked stepmother or stepsisters Eldon was working for what was supposed to be his new family, doing all the menial chores in his aunt’s house as well as being the male equivalent of a handmaiden to his cousins.
One day the little town was abuzz with the news that the prince was looking for a wife and was arriving soon. Jessalyn and Penelope, Eldon’s cousins, were just as excited as all the other young women at the chance of being chosen as the consort to a prince. Eldon went to his usual fishing hole that day to catch fish for their supper and to his surprise there was someone there already, a stranger, who he found out later was Prince Xavier, and his very large dog Milton who apparently loved playing with shoes and had a big role in the book.
Xavier was not at all what Eldon thought a prince would be like. He didn’t care that Eldon was a servant, and soon they became friends. Xavier told Eldon that the rumours were true – his father, the King, had issued an ultimatum: he had to choose a wife and get married by his birthday in a few days, or he would be disinherited. However as the days went by he showed a lack of interest in choosing a wife and spent his time talking to Eldon whenever he showed up at the fishing hole, until one day he said that the King was getting impatient and was hosting a ball the next evening to which only women would be invited so that the Prince could choose his future bride. Afterwards he and his bride-to-be would be leaving immediately so that he could get married before his birthday.
Xavier was unhappy but seemed to be resigned to his fate. Before he left that evening he asked Eldon to come by early the next morning so that they could be together one last time and say goodbye. When Eldon woke up that morning, in addition to his other duties as cook and cleaner he was pressed into service as a maid and general go-fer to his cousins who were frantically preparing for their big chance to look their best in case they were chosen as the prince’s bride-to-be. Eldon was kept so busy running errands that he arrived very late at their rendezvous and unfortunately Xavier was not there; he couldn’t stay because he had to prepare for the ball. However he left a goodbye present for Eldon.
Of course you know how the tale ended so I won’t tell you how Marie made it original so that our MCs could have their HEA. Like Cinderella, poor Eldon had to suffer a lot at the hands of his cousin Jessalyn before she got her just deserts and he went off into the sunset with his prince. As for Milton the dog, he proved to be the best matchmaker and tracker in the Kingdom.
Marie Sexton’s update of this timeless and well loved fable didn’t depart too much from the idea of the original except for the characters of Eldon and Prince Xavier and fact that this story was about two men. The romance between Eldon and Xavier started off slowly as friends and they didn’t kiss until it was almost too late for Eldon. There was no fairy godmother but Eldon had a good witch on his side who had some powerful magic that she used to transform Eldon. Was it love between Eldon and Xavier or magic? You will have to read the story to find out. All I will say is that this is a delightful adaptation of an old fairy tale with a modern twist which brought it to life in a totally unexpected and enjoyable way.
Definitely recommended if you love fantasy or the author, and even if you don’t you will still enjoy this well written story with wonderfully crafted characters.