Title: Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story
Author: Carolyn Turgeon
Edition: Paperback, 288 pages
Published: March 3rd 2009 by Broadway Books
Genre(s): YA; Fairy Tale Retellings
Disclosure? Nope, it was a gift.
Turgeon’s shockingly original and magical novel advises you to be careful what you wish for, because fairy tales come true – whether they should or not. The tiny figure making its way to the book shop in Manhattan’s West Village every day looks just like another sweet little old lady. But Lilian has a secret.
Oh, where to start.
I was all set to love this book and was totally in the mood for a dark, gritty retelling of Cinderella but unfortunately that wasn’t what I got in Godmother.
Godmother is centered around Lil, a seemingly normal, lonely old lady with a penchant for cheeseburgers. Lil, lives by herself in Manhattan and works hard in a book shop downtown.
An encounter with a vivacious young girl reminds Lil of her past, bringing the world of fae back into her life and we learn that she was one of Cinderella’s fairy Godmothers.
Sigh. I don’t know whether it was just not what I was expecting, but I couldn’t get on with this book at all. I found it pretty painful to read to be honest. I couldn’t find anything new or exciting about this retelling. Turgeon even managed to make working in a beautiful bookshop sound dull, and that’s like my dream job – if only it paid more.
***Spoilers lie ahead, but they’re quite early on in the book***
I gather that the whole crux of this book was that Lil fell in love with the Prince rather than help Cinderella get to the ball, and then she spends her old age trying to set up her boss with the young girl she meets to make up for it, but honestly I was lost by then. Away with the actual fairies, if you will.
I did like that the protagonist was a pensioner, as that’s hardly ever something you see in YA, and think there was potential here but I was more interested in the betrayal of Cinderella than the present day and I felt like that was just glossed over. I didn’t care about the present day story at all.
Godmother is quite a small book, but I just couldn’t make myself finish it. I had about 50 pages left before I went away for the weekend and when I got back I knew I wouldn’t pick it up again.
From the look of Goodreads, Godmother is the Marmite of the book world so you may well enjoy it if you give it a go, don’t just take my word for it.
I read this book as part of the TBR Pile Reading Challenge and the Once Upon A Time VIII Challenge.