I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Author: Christine Norris
Published: May 21, 2015 by Curiosity Quills Press (originally published on Sept. 2, 2014)
Benjamin Grimm knows the theater is much like real life. In 1876 Philadelphia, people play their parts, hiding behind the illusion of their lives, and never revealing their secrets.
When he reunites with his childhood friend Eleanor Banneker, he is delighted. His delight turns to dismay when he discovers she has been under a spell for the past 7 years, being forced to live as a servant in her own home, and he realizes how sinister some secrets can be. She asks for his help, and he can’t refuse. Even if he doesn’t believe in ‘real’ magic, he can’t abandon her.
Ellie has spent the long years since her mother’s death under the watchful eye and unforgiving eye of her stepmother. Bewitched and hidden in plain sight, it seems no one can help Ellie escape. Not even her own father, who is under a spell of his own. When she sees Ben one evening, it seems he is immune to the magic that binds her, and her hope is rekindled along with her friendship.
But time is running short. If they do not find a way to break the spell before midnight on New Year’s Eve, then both Ellie and her father will be bound forever.
I just love fairy tale retellings and this one was unique! I just finished reading The Ugly Stepsister and so I was excited to read yet another Cinderella story. It follows Eleanor(Ellie) and her best friend, Ben as they try to break the curse placed on Ellie and her father. You see after Ellie’s mother passed away, her governess Olivia swooped in and married her father. Soon after that Ellie was forced to become her stepmother and stepsisters servant, doing all the housework. When Ellie has to accompany her stepsister, Rebecca, her stepmother introduces her as an orphaned niece that she has take in and no one recognizes Ellie as herself. Then one day, Ellie and Ben spot each other and the adventure begins.
- The different POVs in the story. We follow Ben and Ellie’s storyline and I like that we have a guy perspective on the story. It makes the story move a little faster.
- The steampunk is pretty neat though I don’t know if I would consider it a steampunk novel….more below.
- The magic in the story was subtle and I just LOVED the witch/fae aspect of the story!
- The little twist at the end of who actually wrote those notes to Ellie was a surprise. I thought it was someone else and so I didn’t figure it out until the end. I might have missed the clues too though…
- Love-triangle…..it made sense in the book and it didn’t take away from the story. It was subtle and turned out well. Surprise!!!
- I don’t know if I would call this book steampunk. Yes, it had gears and steam powered stuff but it was still in the age of gas and the steam aspect was just getting started.
- The first half of the book was SLOW. Not much happening and it took a while for things to get moving.
- Insta-love…..though it wasn’t tooooo bad. I could deal with what happened but still..come on!
This was a great and unique re-telling of the Cinderella story and I would recommend this to anyone who likes those types of books!