Sometimes you just have to believe...
A single crystal slipper. It was probably the weirdest gift librarian Celinda Branham ever received during a Christmas gift exchange. Who would even wear these in the real world? Not Celinda, wearer of sensible shoes and fairy tale naysayer. That said, she certainly has the requisite wicked stepmother, irritating stepsister, and empty bank account. Of course, if she actually believed in all that fantastical junk, she could wait for her Prince Charming...
Only Prince Charming doesn't exist.
But Preston Chandler believes in fairy tales. Oh, does he ever. All he did was spurn the advances of a certain witch, and now his sister is under a sleeping spell. And the only way to break it? Find the other glass slipper and give someone "Love's First Kiss." But when Preston finally tracks down Celinda, he's dismayed to discover that the shy librarian who owns the other shoe has no interest in anything remotely resembling magic - including love. Now he must find a way into his Cinderella's cynical heart, or lose his sister... and his only chance for true love.
Entangled Publishing has graciously supplied me with a complimentary copy of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
The Crystal Slipper by Selena Fulton is a contemporary take on two classic fairy tales (Cinderella with a dash of Sleeping Beauty). Preston spurns the affections of a woman who turns out to be a novice witch. In a moment of fury she punishes him by targeting the one woman she knows he loves: his sister. Preston's sister is under a sleeping spell, looking for all the world as if she is in a coma. Preston knows better: his only chance at saving his sister is breaking the spell by reuniting two crystal slippers. Preston tracks down the second slipper in America, in the possession of a painfully shy librarian. However, reuniting the slippers is only the beginning; only love's first kiss can break the spell. To break the spell Preston must not only convince Celinda to give him her heart, but he must finally humble himself and fall in love as well. The problem is, Celinda doesn't believe in magic, fairy tales or love...
I mostly enjoyed this refreshing take on a classic. Fulton totally revamped the storyline which meant it was not a predictable read at all. I really liked Celinda, I found her to be a very complex yet relatable character. I enjoyed seeing her coming into her own, conquering her demons and finally allowing her true self to shine. The problem is I can't say the same about Preston. While Fulton tried her best to make him a sympathetic character, I never warmed up to him quite as you should warm up to the hero. I resented his attempts to make Celinda fall for him when he had no intention of catching her. Throughout the book he used her to further his own agenda, despite seeing how truly sweet and vulnerable she is. *Spoiler alert* I mean, she even gives him her virginity (though the book remains faithful to the fairy tale genre by not containing a sex scene), and the first thing he thinks is he hopes she doesn't want anything long term. The morning after he's so cold and distant, even I wanted to slap him. He's by no means the worst hero I've ever come across, but I would have appreciated a few more pros other than he is rich and handsome. I suppose he is a decent guy trying to save his sister's life, but he could have handled the Celinda-situation much, much better.
Another issue I have with the book is that throughout the story the threat of a hostile takeover looms over Preston as he is neglecting the family business in his quest to save his sister. This issue is never settled in a tangible manner and the reader is left to assume that it sorted itself out and everything worked out perfectly. I would have preferred a clear resolution, perhaps even a dramatic scene or two. Furthermore we have a manipulative witch who never has to answer for her crimes, an evil stepmother and a paedophilic stepfather who are introduced purely to frustrate the reader, and receive no real comeuppance. Authors should never introduce situations that need to be resolved if they have no intention of actually resolving them.
Having said that, overall The Crystal Slipper is a very charming, sweet, enjoyable read.
Title: The Crystal Slipper
Author: Selena Fulton
Publisher: Entangled Publishing