Title: Cinderella’s Dress
Author: Shonna Slayton
On the Shelves: Young Adult Fiction> Historical Fiction/Fantasy/Retellings
Publication Date: 3/05/2014- TODAY!
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 (Goodreads 2014)
Firstly, as always, I need to thank the publishers (Entangled Publishing LLC), Shonna Slayton, and Netgalley for allowing me early access to this book in exchange for a review.
I was first drawn to this book because of the beautiful, beautiful cover. I mean look at that beauty! An oddly fitting start to this review considering it is focusing around Cinderella. As the goodreads description tells you, this book is based in America and spans across the duration of World War Two (so it actually covers for about 5 years) and it follows a 17 year old girl named Kate, who is being pushed towards being a model by her mother, despite wanting to be a window dresser for department stores instead. Until one night, her Polish relatives turn up on the doorstep with a certain antique heirloom and a bizarre family tradition following them.
This book was better than I anticipated. Which sounds quite harsh but actually, it’s a really good thing. I’m not going to say the book is perfect, because it certainly isn’t. One of my first issues was to do with the pacing. Often you had no idea how much time had passed between scenes, you just had to guess, which got a bit much when you suddenly had jumped ahead by a year or two. Continuity being another issue, but only really in the beginning of the book. One minute Kate has somehow guessed the dress belonged to Cinderella and the next she has no idea for the next chapter who the dress belonged to- whut.
And of course, the ever popular insta-love. Which is quite strong and annoying in the beginning. This is where it gets a little tricky. While it was good that the author took the time to have the characters write letters to each other, which also showed a span of time and allowed the characters to grow legitimately closer in their relationship (so the insta-love didn’t bother me much after that because it had developed well over the time), this element took the reader away from the main story. The main story in this book was not the romance between Kate and Johnny, but about Kate protecting the family tradition and securing the dress away from the stepsister’s descendents. But instead, for a good 20% of the middle of the book, all we hear is Johnny this and Johnny that.
That being said, I did enjoy this book. It was a believable historical fiction/world war 2 environment. I enjoyed reading the characters and I even enjoyed seeing the relationship between Kate and Johnny grow (when do I ever say that about insta-love?!)
I would recommend this to readers who enjoy historical fiction or fairytale re-tellings.