Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cinderella's Dress

Being seventeen during World War II is tough. Finding out you're the next keeper of the real Cinderella's dresses is even tougher.
Kate simply wants to create window displays at the department store where she's working, trying to help out with the war effort. But when long-lost relatives from Poland arrive with a steamer trunk they claim holds the Cinderella's dresses, life gets complicated.
Now, with a father missing in action, her new sweetheart, Johnny, stuck in the middle of battle, and her great aunt losing her wits, Kate has to unravel the mystery before it's too late.

After all, the descendants of the wicked stepsisters will stop at nothing to get what they think they deserve.

Beth says 3 Stars...
This is one of those books where, after reading it, I have zero strong feelings about it. I really like the concept and thought that several things were very cleverly done, but for everything that made it lovely, there was something else that detracted the same amount. The idea that Cinderella could be real and a princess of a non-existent Eastern European country is a delightful one, and paired quite nicely with the World War II era setting. It was fun to have the department store be an important location, blending the old world fashion of Cinderella with New York City and the more modern setting. Getting a look at old-time department stores and window displays was one of the best parts of the book. The unique take on the Cinderella legend was also a delight, with the magic incorporated into the dresses she wore and intertwining a servant family with hers. The plot itself was a bit meandering and disjointed. Although the dress aspect clearly had a direction, too much focused on other bits of Kate's life that never fully came together.

Kate was just okay as a main character. Her personality felt underdeveloped, so she never became extremely compelling. It's not that I wished her ill, or was totally uninterested in her story, it's just that I didn't feel any urgency in her journey. My favorite character was Kate's great uncle Adalbert, an older man with a sense of reality whose primary goal was to protect his family. He also had to deal with the declining health of his wife Elsie, who flitted in and out of lucidity as the story progressed. Johnny, the leading man, was woefully underdeveloped. Thus, his connection with Kate appeared superficial and he came across as just a good guy with no complexity. I did really enjoy some of the individuals that came in very near the end of the book. They added a much-needed freshness.

Overall this is one that I could take or leave. It wasn't exactly bad, but it wasn't particularly good either. If you're ultra bored or have an obsession with mid-20th century department stores and Cinderella grab it. Otherwise, you won't miss anything spectacular by giving it a pass.
ebook from Netgalley


Post a Comment