Release Date: October 6th, 2015
Synopsis: The war may be over, but Kate Allen’s life is still in upheaval. Not only has she discovered that Cinderella was real, but now she’s been made Keeper of the Wardrobe, her sole responsibility to protect Cinderella’s magical dresses from the greed of the evil stepsisters’ modern descendants.
But Cinderella’s dresses are just the beginning. It turns out that the priceless glass slippers might actually exist too, and they could hold the power to reunite lost loved ones like her father–missing in action since World War II ended. As Kate and her boyfriend Johnny, embark on an adventure from New York to Italy and Poland in search of the mysterious slippers, they will be tested in ways they never imagined.
Because when you harness Cinderella’s magic, danger and evil are soon to follow…
Before I start my actual review, I need to get something off my chest. You see, I’m a bit obsessive regarding the covers of books. If they aren’t reflective of the actual story, I find it a little off-putting. This cover is definitely indicative of that. While the cover is lovely, and pink happens to be my favorite color, the depiction of the slippers in the story in no way matches the description in the book. They’re actually described as being made of clear diamonds with blue diamond clasps. I pictured them looking as a cross between this:
While I wouldn’t let something like this effect my rating, I would be lying if I said it didn’t impact my enjoyment of the book a tiny bit. I know. I’m a little crazy. But I feel I had to include this. So, on to the actual review.
Cinderella’s Shoes is actually the conclusion in this duology which began with Cinderella’s Dress. Of course I wasn’t paying attention to this fact when I went and requested this from NetGalley, but I’m happy to say that despite being unfamiliar with the previous events detailed in the first book I had absolutely no problem following the story.
Shonna Slayton has reimagined a world in which Cinderella, or as she’s called in this story, “Kopciuszek” actually lived centuries ago in Poland. Kate is the latest Keeper of the Wardrobe, who are all descendants of Cinderella’s original servant, Nadzia. Their job has always been to protect three dresses belonging to the princess: her workdress, the ballgown, and the wedding dress. They all possess magical powers which has been the cause of much strife between Cinderella’s descendants and those of the stepsisters. At the beginning of this book Kate has the dresses safely in her possession, but desperate to find her missing father, who was one of the Monument Men tasked with tracking down priceless artwork stolen by the Nazis, she becomes determined to find the slippers after learning they may have the power to reunite lost loved ones. The story takes you on a breathtaking journey from New York, to Italy and Poland, while at the same time perfectly capturing the details of post-war Europe. For example, I didn’t know the extent of how Poland was divided between Germany and the Soviet Union, displacing hundreds of families. There is so much fascinating historical detail that while the plot has magical elements, I think I’d describe this mainly as historical fiction.
In addition to the marvelous settings, the characters are also wonderfully developed. Kate is courageous, loyal, and determined to do the right thing. In essence, everything you want to see in a heroine. Her love interest, Johnny, is sweet and ultimately supportive of her endeavors, even when they disagree. The only thing I wish there was a little more of was passion between the two of them. While I thought they were a cute couple, there didn’t seem to be a lot of sparks.
The secondary characters were also interesting, and I found myself wishing to know more of their backstories. I think this had to do more with me having not read the first book though, rather than it being any deficit in the development of the characters.
While reading Cinderella’s Shoes, I felt as though I was part of the story. It’s utterly enchanting and will literally sweep you off your feet. It’s romantic and magical and makes you believe in the existence of fairytales, and that indeed, anything is possible.