Review: Disenchanted by Susan Carroll

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DISENCHANTED is one of the best fairy-tale retellings of Cinderella I’ve read. Susan Carroll writes a compelling tale that is full of magic and enchantment, yet also flawed and very human characters. Needless to say, I was in love from the first page, and I can’t wait to read more!

First, the worldbuilding. Ms. Carroll built a totally new world that is full of magical elements, complete with fairies (not the small, lovable types), witches, magic potions, and more! The descriptions of the places–Midtown, Misty Bottoms, etc–were so vividly done that I can totally see them and imagine myself there.

Next, the characters. I love the total reversal of Ella’s family, that instead of the wicked stepmother, she had a kind one who really treated her as her own daughter, but she, as well as her daughters, had some character flaws that resulted in Ella doing everything for the family because it was just easier that way. See? This is what I liked about Ms. Carroll’s story. The same elements in the original fairy tale are there, like Ella being a servant in her own house, but there was a twist, and the twist also makes sense. It makes you see things differently. How wonderful is that!

I also love that there’s more brewing than what’s on the surface! Like, who really is Horatio Crushington? What’s with Prince Florian? What’s Prince Ryland’s story? How about Mal? What did he want the orb for and what does it do? Also, who is Withypole Fugitate and what’s his story? More importantly for Ella, who is her father Julius Uptown and what was he before she was born? And who sent her back her mother’s twinkles?

So many questions left answered, so I’m sure there’s a next book! Plus, Ella’s romance with the man she finally chose is just beginning, and I’m sure their feelings for each is going to be tested in the succeeding book/s.

It was great to see the author spin the original tale into something vivid and rich, lush and three-dimensional. You can bet I’m looking forward to the next book/s in the series!

Rating: 5 stars

The Romance Review

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Summary:

An alluring love triangle and a daring caper unfold in this imaginative retelling of Cinderella, featuring an indomitable damsel who’s not so easily swept off her glass slippers.

At the tender age of seventeen, Ella Upton lost her innocence to a traveling minstrel, a youth with flaxen hair and a golden voice whose deep blue eyes concealed his true intentions—until it was too late. Seven years later, Ella’s stepsisters chatter about winning the affections of the dreamy Prince Florian at the royal ball, but Ella has no such illusions. Instead, her dashing best friend, Malcolm Hawkridge, persuades her with his reckless charm and wicked smile to use the occasion to steal back a magic orb from the corrupt king.

But before the clock strikes midnight, Ella finds herself pursued by more than one prince—not to mention Commander Horatio Crushington, who captures her with his piercing gaze from across the crowded ballroom. Dancing through the sudden swirl of suitors, Ella feels her cheeks burning—and not solely because of the orb hidden in her gown. Has the strapping Horatio awakened long-dormant desires or is Ella finally coming to grips with her feelings for Malcolm? Only the girl who thought she’d given up on love can decide.

Note: Disenchanted ends on a cliffhanger. Ella’s story continues in Charmless!

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