Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Rating: 1
When Natalia’s dreadful stepsister locks her in a closet, steals her identity, and sets out to marry Prince Bennett in her place, Natalia nearly gives up hope. Luckily, she has a fairy godmother willing to guide her. Dressed in nothing but a fur, and assured that Bennett will recognize her even though they’ve never met, she sets out for his palace.
Prince Bennett knows that he must marry his princess, but when he meets her something seems amiss. He cannot reconcile the lively, veiled beauty he consorts with at night with the waspish princess he meets during the day. And to make matters worse, he can barely fight off his attraction to a fur-clad scullery maid. Whatever will he do?
I’ve read a version of the Danish Cinderella, ‘The Girl Clad in Mouseskin’ before but having the characters fully fleshed out adds so much more to the classic fairytale.
Princess Natalia has been destined to be the bride of Prince Bennett since she was in the cradle. The prince’s father has recently died and he and Natalia are due to be married soon after his coronation. But her spoiled and spiteful step sister Antonia wants him too. When playing nice doesn’t get her handed her sister’s fiancé then she takes drastic measures, locking Natalia in a wardrobe and going off to claim him at the pre-coronation celebrations by masquerading as her sister. Bennett cannot understand why he finds a servant girl more captivating than his betrothed. Mere nerves at their impending wedding can’t be the reason why the Princess is at times witty and refreshing, and at other times a vacuous bitch
I have never read a version of Cinderella I didn’t like and this was no exception.
Natalia isn’t a weak kneed pushover. She is very aware of the required decorum as a princess, which is why she ignores her sister and doesn’t retaliate. Though her sister has done everything possible to undermine her self-confidence she doesn’t descend into the same kind of catty behaviour. Though I personally think a royal smack-down would have been completely appropriate. I can’t quite understand why Natalia’s father didn’t get around to disciplining his truly vicious step-daughter and I would have enjoyed reading about her getting her comeuppance earlier in the story. This version is a delightfully enjoyable tale told with some nice touches of humour. The fairy Godmother is a no nonsense housekeeper. The Prince is no autocrat and his valet Grimsby is his best friend. It’s to Grimsby that the Prince confides his confusion about the Princess. If this version were a play I’d say that the Prince gets all the best lines. Of course we all know how it ends but for those who don’t know this European version of this well loved tale, and for those who do – it’s pure magic.
4 Tea Cups!