Monday, September 6, 2010

Before Midnight - Cameron Dokey

Etienne de Brabant is brokenhearted. His wife has died in childbirth, leaving him alone with an infant daughter he cannot bear to name. But before he abandons her for king and court, he brings a second child to be raised alongside her, a boy whose identity he does not reveal.

The girl, La Cendrillon, and the boy, Raoul, pass sixteen years in the servants' care until one day a very fine lady arrives with her two daughters. The lady has married La Cendrillon's father, and her arrival changes their lives.

When an invitation to a great ball reaches the family, La Cendrillon's new stepmother will make a decision with far-reaching effects. Her choice will lead La Cendrillon and Raoul toward their destiny — a choice that will challenge their understanding of family, test their loyalty and courage, and, ultimately, teach them who they are.

I love all things Cinderella. Almost every rendition of the story I have loved to some extent. And this version is extremely satisfying. It's definitely a quick and easy read, but her version of a story that's been told a million times felt very fresh. While I pretty much knew how it was going to end, there were a fair amount of times where she took me pleasantly by surprise with the plot. La Cendrillion (Rilla) is a very likable character, and her interactions with the other characters were always fun and interesting to read. I loved the new angle on her relationship with her step family, and the fact that her father never ends up dying in this version. I felt it gave her more depth in her character because of the fact that he lives but is absent from her life. And while there are no fairy godmothers in this book, magic definitely has a presence, and it's fun to see how it becomes its own character in a way. The writing was good and the pacing was great and only lagged for a couple pages here and there. I have to say, I liked it more than I expected.


Before Midnight
Cameron Dokey
Simon & Schuster Childrens
208 pages
$6.29 (paperback)

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