Saturday, July 25, 2009

Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Turgeon

Lil is an old woman who spends her days shelving rare books in a tiny Manhattan bookstore and lonely nights at home in her apartment. But Lil has an intriguing secret. Tucked and bound behind her back are white feathery wings–the only key to who she once was: the fairy godmother responsible for getting Cinderella to the ball to unite with her Prince Charming.

But on that fateful night, something went terribly and beautifully wrong. Lil allowed herself the unthinkable: to feel the emotions of human beings and fall in love with the prince herself, going to the ball in place of Cinderella in her exquisitely gorgeous human guise. For her unforgivable mistake, she was banished to live among humans, far from her fairy sisters and their magical underwater world. But then one day she meets Veronica–a young, fair-skinned, flame-haired East Village beauty with a love of all things vintage and a penchant for falling in love with the wrong men–and suddenly it becomes clear to Lil that she’s been given a chance at redemption. If she can find a soul mate for Veronica, she may right her wrong and return to the fairy world she so deeply longs for. . . .
Talk about taking forever to review a book! I started this book, paused in reading, and then finished it a bit later, so it feels like it was a long time ago that I read it. Instead, it was only a matter of months ago... (Oh, is that all? I am sure you are thinking that!)

Title and author of book: Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Turgeon

Fiction or non-fiction? Genre? Fantasy. Fairy-tale retelling.

What led you to pick up this book? The title. I think I might have seen a couple reviews, too, but it was the title that first drew me to reading it.

Summarize the plot, but don’t give away the ending! See above...

What did you like most about the book? Let me show you. This is the first paragraph in the book:
I loved arriving at the bookstore first thing in the morning, when the streets were still quiet, the sun half risen, and the whole place felt like a secret meeting room. I liked walking through the still-dark city, as if I were wading through air--the buildings like shadows looming on either side of me, the streets rushing forward in black rivers. There was something about the empty store, too, the books piled all around, that made you want to whisper and walk as slowly as you could. The city was always on top of you, pressing in, but the moment you stepped inside Daedalus Books, it felt like you'd closed your eyes and gone to sleep.
The minute I read those words, I was in love! That is how I feel, but I don't work at a bookstore. As a book lover, I am going to be drawn to another book lover. It is just how it works, and I think Turgeon caught my attention very successfully! I also enjoyed the story. It was a different take on the on fairies, even if it was a retelling of the very famous 'Cinderella' story. Haven't you ever wanted to hear the Godmother side of the story? It is about time, really. The characters in this book were great, too.

What did you like least? You know, this book really should be on my top reads of the year. I loved the original story! I think she sold me on the book theme, really. It wasn't hard to keep my attention after that.

Have you read any other books by this author? What did you think of those books? This is my first. I plan to read more, though.

What did you think of the main character? When you are young, even now really, you must've had moments where you wished for your very own fairy godmother to come and help you with all of your problems, right? Well, now we are learning that life was not so simple for this fairy godmother. We are learning what it was like to be a fairy and be assigned the job to make the prince fall in love with a girl that has lead a very rough life. I felt for the main character. Life had not been kind to her because the 'popular' version of the story is not the real story (according to her). This was the secret revealed and I really fell in love with the main character.

What about the ending? By now you are probably wondering why if I had so many good things to say about this book, I didn't include it in my top reads of the year. Very simply... I can't make up my mind about the ending! To be very truthful, I hated the way the book ended. The problem is, I am not sure it is because it was a bad ending, or if it was more that I was very invested in the story and the character and felt like her at the end. It could have been a horrible ending, but at the same time, it could have been a very brilliant ending. Even months later I can't make up my mind. Sometimes I wish I had stopped before the ending and still was reveling in the magic of the story, but at the same time, reading the ending was necessary. I think the ending was a let-down for me. It's the only reason I didn't love this book. Everything else, for me, was perfect!

I still think you should read the book. It is such a magical tale and I can think of so many regular readers of my blog that would probably quite enjoy the story. If you do read it, though, be sure and email me about the ending. I would love to hear what other people thought!

My thanks to Random House for this book! Cross-posted at Twisted Kingdom.


  1. i do not like retelling of fairy tales but this was a most excellent book!! the author surely got into the head of an elderly person and understood!

  2. Oh I hate it when a book is going so well and then the ending disappoints or leaves you feeling unsure about the book in general. I really do like the sound of this one and will have to give it a go one of these days!

  3. Lovely book review, Kailana. I'm going to have to read this book now. Like you say, haven't we all wanted a fairy godmother in our life? Her story has got to be interesting.

  4. this does sound good, especially to hear the godmothers side of it.
    great review ;)

  5. Oh I love fairy tale retellings and this sounds pretty good! I'll have to look for it! That is a GREAT quote!

  6. Oh geez, that was me. I keep forgetting to change accounts!

  7. Oh! It sounds like a lovely book! I love hearing the other side of a fairy tale. I'm definitely putting this book on my "to read" list! Thanks for reviewing!


  8. That's too bad about the ending! I really want to read this one, though.

  9. Well, despite your less than enthusiastic feelings about the ending, I'm still glad I have this one on my shelf. Because if I didn't, I would now have to be adding it to my wish list!

  10. I love fairy tales retellings! I enjoyed this book!

  11. I love fairy tale retellings and have this book in my pile. I really must read it soon!

  12. I have this and will bump it up my pile as it sounds awesome! As you know I love fairy tale re-tellings and books so it sounds perfect. Will try not to get hung up over the ending.


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