Cinderella Romance Novels: An Annotated Bibliography
When Victoria Jones' husband dies in a drunk-driving accident, leaving her all alone with a baby to raise, she rises to the challenge. She puts herself through college and secures a job as a professor and music critic. Now, her daughter is thirteen, and they have a nice, secure life, just the way Tory likes it. Her independence becomes a source of pride for her (92), and she is not about to give it up.
When Tory meets Dusty Mitchell, a semi-famous country music singer, at her rich best friend Sissy's party, she does not recognize him. They hit it off, dancing the night away. He even jokes about her being Cinderella. But when she realizes who he is, she is mortified. She just wrote an awful review of his new album in an article in tomorrow's paper. She runs home, forgetting her plastic shoe (27) and hoping that he does not read it in the paper the next morning. He does, and he is furious-but mostly because she ran off without an explanation and did not follow the Cinderella story (32). She explains that last night was a fantasy, and, in reality, she was just pretending to be someone that she was not (33). When he almost loses his record deal because of her review, Tory arranges for Sissy to call in some favors and get the financial backing to make the deal. Both Tory and Dusty think it is over between them.
However, neither can stop thinking about each other, and eventually their attraction is too great, so they start dating. Dusty is not like Tory's first husband, who was weak in the most important ways (75). In the meantime, Sissy meets Dusty's handicapped brother, David, through Tory. Sissy and David fall in love when David moves to Houston-a move Dusty is none too pleased with. Tory is not happy that Dusty owns a bar, given her feelings about drinking after her husband's death. And Dusty is not happy when he learns it was Sissy who set up his new record deal. Tory and Dusty do not speak for a while, but are reunited at David and Sissy's wedding a few months later. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Trisha Alexander under Modern Fiction.
Rose Franklin is an average woman who works hard and owns a consignment shop, where she often dresses women in elegant gowns like those from fairy tales. One day one of her clients is in a rush and does not have time to return her friends' planner that had been left behind accidentally. When Rose offers to drop off Duncan Burke's planner, she definitely does not realize that he is so gorgeous. After meeting him, she decides that he is the perfect man, the one for her (20), the "prince of her dreams" (69). She takes a trip to the hair salon, in an attempt to undergo a transformation so she will be up to his standards (34). She spends a ton of money deliberately placing herself where she knows he will be (since she looked at his planner)-his work, his gym, the opera, and his favorite restaurant. After running into each other several times, he asks her out on a date. They go out several times, but she feels like a fraud and is nervous that he will find out that she is really a nobody (61).
As they spend more time together, Rose's admiration and affection for him only increase. He is a good sport about things, hardworking, a "man's man," handsome, successful, and well-respected in the community (73). She feels more alive just being in his presence (134). But when he takes her on a weekend trip to meet his parents, she starts to feel just how out of place she is in his world. He proposes to her that night, but after some snide comments from Duncan's parents' friends, Rose runs away in a golf cart, losing her shoe along the way (222). Later, Duncan finds her at her shop and slips the shoe back on her foot, declaring his love no matter who she is (246). [Cinderella reference 246; Fairy tale transformations: 7.] For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Heather Allison under Modern Fiction.
Susanna is a struggling actress, trying to make her way in Hollywood, but never compromising her strong morals. She takes modeling jobs and other odd jobs to support herself. Davin Sigmundsen is the influential owner of the couturier boutique where Susanna sometimes models. When he makes an interesting business proposition to Susanna, by offering to hire her as his wife for a year, Susanna does not know what to think. Davin explains that he wants custody of his nephew, but can only get it if he is married. He gives her beautiful gowns from his boutique to wear at society functions. He finds her different from the women he knows; she is not the bored sophisticate or the simpering ingenue (58). She has a strong sense of morality (19) and rare honesty (35).
But Susanna does not want to get to attached to Davin or his high society way of life, so she is somewhat reluctant to give her whole heart to him. She knows that the Cinderella wife arrangement will end at "midnight" (67). Eventually, neither can deny the attraction between them. In fact, it is odd the way they can read each other's emotions (29). She finds out that Davin's nephew is really his son through a hurtful past relationship, where the pregnant mother of his child left him for his brother. He has a hard time letting people get close to him, but in the end, he cannot let Susanna go. As the year runs out, and tensions stemming from miscommunications run amok, Susanna finds herself pregnant and runs back home to Iowa and her mother. Davin follows her, and they realize their marriage is much more than the original actress-businessman proposition was intended to be. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Katherine Arthur under Modern Fiction.
[Audience: adolescent girls] Ella Browning's father died the day after he remarried, leaving her grief-stricken with a wicked stepmother and two snotty stepsisters. Her stepmother makes Ella do more chores than her stepsisters have to do and she makes her move to the stuffy attic. Prince William of Montroig, on the other hand, in Connecticut attending boarding school, wants nothing more than a girl who will love him for himself and not his title or his money. He is looking for someone who will mirror his dreams and desires (151). When he throws a Christmas bash, and invites everyone from the town, Ella desperately wants to go. Her stepmother, of course, forbids it, even smashing Ella's mother's glass slipper to bits. Fay, the woman who collects things for the needy, comes to Ella's house as usual around Christmastime. When Ella tells her story, Fay is sympathetic. When Ella is forbidden go to the bash, Fay shows up with a dress and transportation, but with a midnight curfew. She tells Ella, "Sometimes there is a happily ever after. You must believe that" (87). Ella meets Will before she gets to the bash, and not knowing who he is, stays outside all night talking and dancing with him. The next morning, she realizes who he was, and cannot believe it. Desperately wanting to find her, Prince William places an ad for the girl who lost her slipper. When she does not respond, he goes looking for her and does not stop until he finds her. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Jennifer Baker under Modern Fiction.
Briony Spenser, an orphan and a misfit for most of her life, took a trip to Paris to find out who she was before she marries Matthew back in London. A chance encounter with handsome Paul Deverill changes her mind about everything. He invites her to a party at his sister Chantal's apartment. He works for an international news agency and is very cosmopolitan. She feels he is out of her league and that she is posing as someone she is not (93), but Chantal assures her that he is absolutely crazy about her. Chantal admits to throwing the party together at the last minute for the sole purpose of giving Paul another chance to see Briony. She calls it a "Cinderella affair," because everyone must vanish at midnight, since she needs to get up early in the morning. Briony thinks her affair with Paul is also a "Cinderella affair," and midnight is the end of her trip. Over the next four days, Paul takes Briony on a personal tour of the city and refuses to give up pursuing her when Briony hesitates because of her engagement. Paul makes her promise only to marry if she is in love (54). He claims they have a rare and special connection, and that Briony must be having wedding doubts since she is here with him. Although she loves Matthew, she is not in love with him. Paul and Briony's love is the essential kind (80), and they are helpless before it (105).
When she returns to London, Briony is determined to break off the engagement with Matthew and expects a call from Paul in a few days. Due to tragic circumstances, Matthew is dying in the hospital when she returns, and he wants them to marry right away. She cannot refuse his last wish and marries him within the hour. When he dies two days later, the girl in her dies too. Grieving for Matthew, she is even more torn and confused when Paul does not contact her. She finds out she is pregnant with Paul's child; she tries to contact him, only to have him hang up on her. Bitter and confused, she resolves to move on as best she can, making some big changes in her life. She runs into Paul a few months later, and they have several angry encounters. Both realize their miscommunication when he rescues her from a bad situation (176). Whereas she thought he just had not called, he thought she had gone back on her word when she married Matthew, not realizing the extenuating circumstances. Whereas her love for Matthew was a girl's love, her love for Paul is a woman's love, in which they are on equal footing (117). They live happily ever after. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Anne Beaumont under Modern Fiction.
When Janessa Balint finds a beautiful pair of black suede T-strap pumps on her porch on her twenty-seventh birthday (5), she does not expect them to have such an effect on her love life. Assuming they are a gift from her sister (she later finds out they are from her great-grandmother ), she puts them on and wears them to work. Her mother describes them as "magic birthday shoes" (64). Her boss, the hardworking and exceptional lawyer R.F. Jordan, feels like he is seeing her for the first time although he is not sure what is different about her (20). He looks down and is "riveted" by her shoes (22). Her eyes are "alive with intelligence and challenge" (24). He realizes how much he has taken her for granted. Janessa is gifted when it comes to dealing with people (35) and his office could not manage without her.
Later that evening, at Janessa's birthday party, her old and delirious Hungarian great-grandmother gives her a gypsy-blessing, which supposedly began the night before, at midnight (45). Already a strange birthday for Janessa, it becomes even more surprising when Jordan shows up unexpectedly. After the party is over, she and Jordan talk a little bit about their personal lives, for the first time since she has met him. His father died when he was six (55). "She couldn't fathom the emotional wasteland of his life" (57). He finds it easy to confide in her (71). He admires her, especially how she has worked so hard to help support her family (82). He kisses her unexpectedly. "He'd never felt so connected to anyone before, and the allure of that connection was disturbingly powerful" (62). She is confused and although she is attracted to him, she does not want to compromise her job.
Jordan cannot understand why he feels so strongly for Janessa all of sudden, especially since he does not believe in magic (92). Janessa has doubts about herself; all her life she has been the "smart sister," as opposed to her two "beautiful sisters" (94). They are at an impasse in their relationship, professionally and personally. After a stormy scene in the office, they make up and decide to get married. "The kiss was magical, a promise and a commitment filled with passion and love" (123). [Cinderella references: 101, 115.] For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Barbara Boswell under Modern Fiction.
When Cindy Danbury's parents died, she was sent to live with her rich Aunt Stephenson. Cindy works hard to pay for her room and board, and takes side jobs from neighbors to make some extra cash. At twenty-four, she has never held a real job, but dreams of designing hats. As her step-cousin's wedding day approaches, Cindy is exhausted from running around preparing. She is almost run over by John Hale Hitchcock's ("Hitch") poor driving skills. She remembers him from childhood, when he would come to visit his best friend who lived next door. He was handsome and older and always had lots of girls running after him, whereas she has always been plain and on the outside of things. He feels terrible about the near-accident, and to make it up to her, he asks her to save him a dance at the rehearsal dinner. Her step-cousin lends her a dress, and she looks terrible in it. Yet, he still sees something remarkably different about this girl from all the rest-her honesty, loyalty, and purity cannot be matched by all of the social graces of girls like her step-cousins. He confuses matters by kissing her.
After the wedding and right before he is about to say goodbye to her, he overhears a nasty argument next door. Cindy's step-cousin accuses her of stealing her diamond earrings and demands to be paid for them. Cindy writes a check for almost all of her savings in the world, packs her bags and leaves. She has had enough of this treatment but still has her dignity. The only problem is that she has nowhere to go and now no money to go with. Hitch drives her back to his apartment in Virginia, and convinces her to stay there until she finds a job and a place to stay. They try to fight their growing attraction, but cannot. It does not help things when she comforts him after his father falls ill. Within a span of twenty-four hours she makes friends with his mother, who is one of the most distant and unaffectionate women ever. He admires Cindy for how she handles his parents. What he does not anticipate is falling in love with her. By the end, he cannot imagine life without her. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Dixie Browning under Modern Fiction.
Kayla Delaney, a gorgeous but aging movie star, is sent to "Alpha Camp," a survival training school run by a former Marine, Quinn Harris, to "transform herself in to a lean, mean fighting machine" (138) for an upcoming role. Quinn, who has always had a on her from afar, offers to train her personally. Although he is tough on her the first day, she finds him compelling (141). They get to know each other better in the next few weeks. He admires her spirit and feistiness and "her allure in person was...sunshine and wildflowers rather than musk at midnight" (147). He realizes that she is much more "real" than he expected (158) and he admires her independent thinking (168). She also bonds with his adolescent daughter, Stevie, by taking her shopping and listening to her problems. Stevie even asks her if she has had breast implants like most women in Hollywood, but Kayla just laughs and says, no, she's "all natural" (193). When she receives her combat boots, which are issued to every camper, she refects: "She'd always been dubious about the shoes-as-destiny theory of life ...Even as a little girl, she'd found the story of Cinderella and the glass slipper hard to swallow. Yet when she considered the sense of confidence that seemed to infuse her each time she pulled on her new combat boots, she felt this skepticism easing" (176).
Kayla and Quinn eventually succumb to the attraction between them. Kayla explains to him that she thinks every action has consequences. "'Making love has never been a no-strings thing for me'" (223). She needs time to decide if it is right; he says time is not something they have. She says, "'The notion of getting involved with someone knowing there's a clock ticking is very scary to me'" (223). Shortly before her departure, she talks to an old friend about surprising Quinn for his birthday. He says, "'I was hoping you'd finally kicked off your goody two shoes," and she replies, "I'm into combat boots these days, actually" (259). After the birthday party, Quinn proposes to her and asks her stay there with him. She is torn between her love for him and her career that she has been working toward for so long. She decides to go through with her film, but on the first day of filming, she trips over her combat boots and breaks her leg, forcing her production company to replace her. Quinn drops everything and goes to see her. He realizes he has been selfish asking her to sacrifice for him. He tells her he is going to sell the camp and come to L.A. to be with her. But she has already decided to leave show business. At their wedding, she breaks tradition and gives herself away (278). For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Carole Buck under Modern Fiction.
Orphaned at nine years old, Elaine was sent to live with her godmother, Aunt Gabrielle. Aunt Gabrielle is rich, rather self-centered and patronizing, and Elaine longs to get away. When Aunt Gabrielle announces her upcoming marriage, she makes plans for Elaine to spend three months at a lavish hotel in Bayville, specifically so that Elaine can find a rich husband. Elaine would rather Aunt Gabrielle spend the money on a practical future, such as training at a secretary's school, but Aunt Gabrielle cannot resist the last chance to play fairy godmother.
At Bayville, Elaine meets two men, the semi-famous screenwriter Roger Ivarley, and the smooth businessman, Adrian Gethop, who is handicapped from a car accident. She is immediately taken with Roger, who takes her on drives in the country and out dancing. Elaine's relationship with Roger is threatened by Miss Moroni, the famous actress, whom she often sees having tea with Roger. She confides her woes to Adrian, who enjoys her company immensely. She urges him to see more doctors to help him with his condition. He helps her with her goal of training herself as a secretary if and when she needs to support herself.
When Adrian goes to the new hospital for a new procedure and must stay there for a while, Roger appears even more attached to Elaine, even seeming jealous of her friendship with Adrian. But when she learns he is secretly married to Miss Moroni, and is just using Elaine to observe her character for his new screenplay, she is furious. She is even more furious when she learns her "character" is plain and innocent, as opposed to the elegant and worldly Miss Moroni's usual characters. She gives Roger a piece of her mind. She then runs off to the hospital where Adrian is staying and they declare their love for each other and make plans to be married. [Cinderella references: pages 29, 138, 188; References to mirrors: 21, 30, 71]. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Mary Burchell under Modern Fiction.
In 1816, the Earl of Lyndhurst hires a common maid-servant, Giselda Chart, to be his personal nurse and take care of his war wounds, but he does not expect to be so intrigued by her. After the wars with Napoleon, she and her family are starving. She may be poor, but she has a great sense of pride (29). He can see that she is hardworking and determined (4), yet she also has a soft and cultured voice (1), which makes him wonder what she is hiding and where she has come from. He invites her to dine with him regularly and is very generous to her.
When Giselda's brother needs surgery or he will die, she knows she must make fifty pounds immediately to pay for it. She asks the Earl to send her to one of his friends who might pay that much for a virgin (41). But he admires her too much-her grace and reserve (37), her self assurance and also her shyness (31)-that he cannot consider her as a woman to be seduced and conquered (37) nor can he send her off to be prostituted (41). Instead, he thinks of another plan. He offers her fifty pounds to pose as a rich heiress to teach his over-indulgent nephew, Julius, a lesson (54). He has Mme Vivenne, a costumer from a local theater, to dress Giselda (68).
Giselda does such a good job at acting that the Earl's friend, Colonel Berkeley, offers her a job in his theater. Yet she is afraid of her future without the Earl (106). She has started to think of him not as an invalid, but as a man with whom she has dined on equal terms (100). Meanwhile, Julius' selfish behavior disgusts her. She does not approve of his past-pretending an affection for an ugly heiress, hoping to marry her and gain her wealth for himself. But then Giselda realizes she is doing the same thing-pretending to be someone she is not. She also knows that love is not always the happy, ecstatic state that novelists depict (121). She realizes that she loves the Earl, a man she cannot reach.
After she finds out that Julian is attempting to have his uncle, the Earl, murdered, Giselda runs to the Earl just in time to push him out of harm's way. The Earl realizes that he loves her and tells her so. Giselda feels she needs to tell him the truth about her family: she is the daughter of Major Charlton, an officer who was unjustly accused of treason and had run away with his family before his trial. Her father had died since and as a result, his family had been left destitute and on the run. Giselda runs away from the Earl, ashamed, before the Earl can tell her that her father's name had been cleared long ago. The Earl rushes after her and finds her, exclaiming that she belongs to him (154). There were no more mysteries or secrets, only love (165). For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Barbara Cartland under Modern Fiction.
[Part of a trilogy called the "The Lucky Charm Sisters"]. Susan Greenwood's mother was unreliable, unlucky and irresponsible. When she died four years ago, she left Susan with huge debts and two young siblings to raise. Susan struggles to pay her bills and lives in a shabby part of town, but she has her pride and works hard for what she earns. She does publicity for her older half-sisters' restaurant, the Lucky Charm Diner, and when things are slow, she helps as a waitress. Zach Lowery, a rich and handsome customer, needs a wife to appease his dying grandfather's wishes. He has just the proposition for beautiful Susan: if she will pretend to be his fiancée for a night in front of his beloved grandfather, he will pay her ten thousand dollars. This is an attractive proposal for Susan, who desperately needs the money for her sister's college tuition.
All goes smoothly until Zach's grandfather wants them to get married before he dies, so he can attend the wedding. Susan agrees to marry him because she is not the kind of woman who breaks her promises or lets down a dying old man, but she does make sure there are strict stipulations to the agreement. However, when Gramps miraculously recovers and expects to come home to a new family, the charade must continue even longer. Susan agrees to one year, knowing the arrangement is in the best interest of her siblings. Zach is ecstatic, but he does not know what to do about his growing attraction and deep admiration for Susan. After his disastrous first marriage, he is reluctant to trust women, but Susan is different. He has to work to give her anything, unlike his greedy ex-wife. Eventually Gramps observes them enough to realize the true nature of the situation, and playing fairy godfather, lures them together for a real marriage. In the epilogue, they are happily married and expecting their first child. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Judy Christenberry under Modern Fiction.
Rita Ambler's life was hard. Hers has always been the "Cinderella role" (9)-she prepares and cleans dinner every night, among other chores. Now that her alcoholic husband is dead, she supports her family financially as well. While her mother watches Rita's son, Timmy, Rita works as a nurse in the local hospital. She thinks that there must be "something more to life than the endless Cinderella drudgery" (13). At a party one night, she is reunited with her first and only true love, the handsome doctor Glenn Seabrook, who just came back to town after medical school. Glenn seems older and has a more reserved manner, mature judgment and sense of responsibility than when she last saw him (61). Their attraction is still strong and it scares Rita so much that she fakes a headache so she can leave before midnight (31).
After an accident almost kills her son Timmy, Rita is overly grateful to the doctor who saved his life, Dr. Lester Wyman. They spend some time together and Lester proposes (66). She accepts, thinking this will give her more time to stay at home with Timmy. Yet like her late husband, Glenn is an alcoholic. Each encounter with him seems to make her deeply depressed (86). She cannot forget another doctor and another proposal-from Glenn so many years ago (69). She and Glenn rekindle their friendship, and Glenn accuses her of being a "martyr," racing home every night to do the "Cinderella" bit (96) for her ungrateful mother and sister. He does not understand why she lets them take advantage of her so much. After her sister's attempt at an abortion which almost costs her life, Glenn encourages Rita to stay strong. Finally her friend Connie tells her the truth about Timmy's accident-that Glenn was actually the one to save Timmy since Lester was too drunk. She also tells Rita that Glenn is madly in love with her and she would be a fool to let him go (118). Rita finally leaves her mother and sister to marry Glenn. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Jane Converse under Modern Fiction.
Ever since shy librarian Susan Wilkin's parents died her sophomore year of college, she has been afraid of loving and losing. At age twenty-eight, she realizes that she needs to take some risks in life and decides to have a child on her own. But when the sperm bank accidentally gives her handsome CEO Sterling Churchill's sperm, Sterling wants to be included in his child's life. Sterling has an overdeveloped sense of responsibility (93) and proposes marriage to Susan so that their child will have the stable, loving, two-parent home that they both agree would be ideal (21).
On their wedding day, while Susan is buying a new dress for the occasion, a saleslady convinces her to get a makeover (32). A brand new Susan emerges, far from the plain, unassuming woman Sterling thought he was marrying. Suddenly he realizes his attraction to Susan, but dismisses it because he thinks he is incapable of loving after both his divorce and his difficulties with his mother (139, 161). Slowly, Susan begins to change his mind as they get to know each other better. When he gets scared and tells her how he cannot love, she decides that she cannot raise her child in a forced situation like the one they have. She runs back home, only to have Sterling follow her when he too realizes that he must take chances for love. [Cinderella reference: 136]. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Caroline Cross under Modern Fiction.
Daisy Flattery is an artistic, eccentric, messy, and strong-willed brunette who has no fashion sense according to Linc Blaise, her downstairs neighbor. He is focused, neat, proper, and, quite frankly, Daisy gets on his nerves. Daisy is a struggling artist, who has a knack for storytelling. She claims that stories are not lies, but unreal versions of the truth. Linc is on the brink of getting the professorship he has always wanted, but the head of the committee thinks that a man his age should be married or there is something wrong with him. When Linc offers Daisy a deal-tell a story for a thousand dollars-she cannot say no. He wants her to pretend to be his fiancée for the night, thinking there would be no danger of actually liking her since she was obviously not his type.
However, Daisy does such a good job of charming the whole committee and their wives, that Linc must extend the proposition further since they expect Daisy to be with him when he moves to their town. He convinces Daisy to go with him temporarily; the agreement would end at the end of the academic year. The arrangement works well; Linc gains acceptance in the community with his charming, loving, and colorful wife, and Daisy gains the financial freedom she needs to grow as an artist. The problems begin when Linc and Daisy realize they do not really have that many differences between them; in fact, they cannot keep their hands off of each other. As the year goes on, both begin to wish that midnight was not so close. Eventually they realize their marriage is not a story, but real life. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Jennifer Cruise under Modern Fiction.
Mathilda McKinney writes an advice column for a Seattle newspaper called "Dear Aunt Tilly." Her advice and theories come from her own life experience; she writes in simple, practical language, "from common fold to common folk" (42). She is surprised when Julian Rothwell, Duke of Chesterfield, storms into her office one day, and she is even more surprised when she hears his reason. Apparently Julian's cook, who is in love with the chauffeur, took Tilly's advice and broke up with him when he cheated on her. Now, Julian cannot get a decent meal and his limo rides are downright frightening. He wants Tilly to give them both more advice and make his life peaceful again. Tilly, annoyed that Julian calls her "Miss" instead of "Ms." (25), reluctantly agrees to see the cook. But when she does, she only reiterates her former advice and tells her it is time to stand up for her rights (45) and that she must teach him to respect her (46). Then she gives his secretary, Emma, some advice, resulting in Emma's resignation. Julian, who is furious, orders Emma to take his secretary's place until he can find a new one (77). Tilly jokes that Julian thinks she is "the worst thing that's come along since the American Revolution" (53). But alas, Tilly's boss thinks it is a good idea too and makes her do it, but she absolutely refuses to wear skirts like he requires (85). Spending time together, however, only increased their attraction and they end up kissing. She challenges him to work on her family's farm to see if he can handle it (165). Tilly, confused about what she wants, gets advice from her mother (181). Julian is intrigued by her; her responses are so pure, honest and open (228). But she feels overwhelmed by the class difference-he is a duke and she is a "nobody" (232). After the week is over, they go their separate ways.
A few weeks later, "Aunt" Tilly gets a letter from her mother. "Seeking" advice, Tilly's mother writes about her daughter's situation, how her daughter brought a man home who fit in with their family so well, who has the "same values [they] do of love of land, of tradition, of family, of learning, and love of a good plateful of plain and simple country cooking" (241). At the end of her letter she says, "...this time the fairy tale's for real" (243). Tilly gets another letter, this time from Julian, who professes his love and says he is waiting downstairs to see her. She runs to meet him and they live happily ever after. "She was Cinderella at the ball...She wasn't a nobody. She was a somebody. And Julian Rothwell loved her just for herself" (249). [Cinderella references: 148, 249.] For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Emily Dalton under Modern Fiction.
[Audience: Adolescent girls.] When Anne's parents divorced when she was eight, she stayed with her mother on quiet Perry Island, while her father went to Seattle to pursue a law degree. Now, eight years later, he has a new wife and two new daughters, who have "magazine perfect" outfits and makeup (29). Her father invites Anne to stay with he and his family for the summer. Anne is excited for the opportunity to get to know her father better, as well as to experience the bustling city life. She tells her best friend Ryan, "There is more to life than this" (7).
When she arrives, her father and his family are very nice and welcoming. The stepsisters invite her to a formal dance at their school (46). Her stepmother even buys her a dress and shoes (92) and she feels like Cinderella (94). Yet she feels out of place when she overhears her father and stepmother fight about her. Her father defends her, saying she has more brains and guts than most girls and uses them to accomplish things; she does not care only about clothes and boys (77). Her stepmother continues to berate her background (88). When she arrives at the ball, she feels out of place because her dress is much more revealing than the other girls' dresses (102), although everyone says she looks stunning. She says, "I want to go home...wherever that is..." (118). She does not know where she belongs (127). She and Phillip Conrad, her date, get along really well and he invites her out again.
At her father's home things only get more tense when one of her stepsisters collapses from anorexia, a condition her stepmother refuses to acknowledge (119), as well as their parents' marital problems. Phillip saves her more than once from the tense situation, offering her some romantic distraction. Her mother also writes to her, and she offers some valuable advice: to be true to herself (131). Her mother's words reminded her that she does belong somewhere (170). As she reflects on her stepmother and -sisters' dependence on her father, she realizes that she too has been fantasizing for years that her father would rescue her from her problems (200). Eventually she realizes she wants to go home to her mother and her friend Ryan, who declares his love for her. [Pride and Prejudice reference: 15.] For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Elizabeth D'Anard under Modern Fiction.
[First of a series of three books about three sisters: Catrina, Jill and Suzanne.] After a hushed-up environmental contamination near Catrina Brown's great aunt's house was threatened to be brought to the surface by the reckless bulldozing of developers, potentially causing Aunt Pixie's and her neighbors' houses to be lost, Cat decided to do something about it. Aunt Pixie makes her a dress (8), and she poses as "Lady Catrina," a member of English royalty, at a ball just for the chance to talk to Chancellor Wainwright about the issue. All is going well until a handsome CEO, Patrick Callahan, takes her attention away and thwarts her mission. They dance all night, barely giving Cat a chance to chat with the Chancellor. After she is successful, Patrick guesses that she is an imposter, but assumes she is just after the eligible bachelors. He threatens to expose her unless she spends the rest of the evening with him. He just wants to deter all the shallow women who are after his money. The night goes well and they part, but he cannot stop thinking about her. "...[H]e was intrigued. Not by the packaging, but by the motivation" (15).
Later, he decides to talk to her, and drives past her Aunt Pixie's house, where she lives with Pixie, her two half sisters, Jill and Suzanne, and Jill's son Sam. Cat is not there, but he does notice smoke coming from inside the house. He immediately calls the fire department, and rushes in to rescue Aunt Pixie and her little dog. When Cat comes home with Sam, she finds a disaster on her hand. She stubbornly refuses Patrick's offer to let her and Sam stay with him for a while, and instead chooses to rent a room at a cheap hotel in a bad part of town. After a few minutes there, she decides it is just too frightening. She goes back to Patrick's posh apartment, and stays there until her house is cleaned and fixed.
They hesitantly go on a few dates, and try to overcome the class differences between them. She assumes he wants to be with her so he will not lose his bet with himself to overcome the challenge. He, however, respects her spirit and determination (46) and the way she lives her life to the fullest (23). They see the Chancellor in the grocery store, and have to make up a fib of being secretly engaged to explain why "Lady Catrina" was still in the country. Of course, then they have to keep the lie going even longer. Patrick tricks her into going to a society ball so she will go out with him again, using the excuse that the Chancellor is expecting to see his fiancée. Things still are not going very well, until Patrick's friend Lauren, acting as yet another fairy godmother (181), intervenes and makes them both see that they are meant for each other. [Cinderella references: 52, 54]. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Lilian Darcy under Modern Fiction.
[Third in a series of three books about three sisters: Catrina, Jill and Suzanne]. After Jodie's sudden death, an emergency c-section saves her unborn baby's life. Now, her half-sister Suzanne Brown, Suzanne and Jodie's selfish mother, and Jodie's cousin Stephen Serkin-Rimsky all want custody of baby Alice. Suzanne has always wanted a child and desperately wants to raise Alice, spending countless hours at the hospital with her. Suzanne's mother only wants custody for Alice's trust fund, but looks to Doctor Feldman, who has temporary custody of Alice, as the more stable choice because she is married. Prince Stephen wants Alice because she is the heir to his country's throne.
Suzanne knows that the only way to get custody is to marry. She wants to find "a man to fit the bootie-a prince of a man, with a hero's heart..." (10). Stephen proposes a plan to Suzanne: marry him, and they both are almost guaranteed custody of Alice over Suzanne's mother (29). Suzanne agrees, not knowing that he is a prince and that Alice is an heir to the throne. When she finds out, she is livid, but sees no other choice than to go ahead with the marriage plan-or lose custody herself. As Stephen and Suzanne get to know each other better, they argue over Stephen's manipulative ways, but are both committed to Alice's welfare.
Meanwhile, Suzanne's mother also desperately wants custody and kidnaps baby Alice. Stephen then realizes that he cares deeply for both his new wife and baby Alice, that his motives are not merely patriotic. When Alice is found a day later, it is apparent that although Suzanne's mother seems to have had good intentions and did not mean to endanger Alice, she is unstable and unfit to raise her. Custody is awarded to Stephen and Suzanne, who then take Alice back to Stephen's country where they renew their vows in front of their new subjects-genuinely this time.
[Second in a series of three books about three sisters: Catrina, Jill and Suzanne]. When Jill Brown, an ice skater and single mom from Philadelphia, fills in for a friend as Cinderella in an ice show in Las Vegas, she does not quite know what she was getting herself into. Part of the job's promotional duties are to participate in a reality show, a Cinderella contest, where men bid on the woman they want to marry. Jill finds herself in a bar with some sleazy men, and is not at all looking forward to the outcome. Luckily, honest and hardworking Montana rancher Grayson McCall happens to be there, and, seeing her discomfort, outbids them all. Neither Gray nor Jill realize the marriage was legal. Even though they both sense a connection and definitely an attraction between them, they plan to divorce as soon as possible. They return to their real lives and time goes by.
Now, Jill has a proposal from her friend and single dad, Alan, but she needs the divorce from Grayson before she can accept. She tries calling him, but his number has been changed. So she packs up her son, Sam, and takes a road trip to Gray's Montana ranch, where she is greeted very warmly by his mother. Everything is going fine until Sam comes down with chicken pox, and they are forced to extend their stay for a few more weeks. As she helps out on the struggling ranch, she and Gray get to know each other better. As their time together draws to a close, they both realize they do not want to part. Jill wants the stability Alan offers her, but cannot deny that she is falling in love with Gray. Gray is apprehensive about his abilities to parent a child and shies away from single moms because of it. But once Sam runs to him in an emergency, he starts to gain confidence in himself. Soon Jill and Sam head home, but only to find Gray waiting in Philadelphia to declare his love for Jill. Their love does not just grow; it explodes in their faces (183). [Fairy tale references: 11, 13; Real versus magical: 40].
Jade Han is the daughter of a renowned Chinese architect and a famous American movie star. After a tragic plan crash kills her parents, her very traditional grandparents come to America to take care of her. Now they have arranged for her to marry a wealthy Chinese man, perhaps even squashing her dream of designing parade floats. Her Cinderella Coach won her an apprenticeship with a respected float company, and she is determined to follow her dream no matter what her grandparents think. Trask Jennings, the owner of Fantasy Floats, was a poor, orphaned, but hard working boy, whose dedication to his company is his first priority. After having his heart broken by a rich girl, now he distrusts all rich kids, including Jade. They get off to a bad start, and it only gets worse once Trask realizes his overwhelming attraction and admiration for Jade, especially when he knows she is "intended" for someone else. She gets a new haircut right before they attend the Coronation Parade and Ball. Together, they watch their float and mingle with the float-making society, and Jade's beauty takes Trask's breath away (142). By the end of Jade's year-long apprenticeship, it is obvious that her arranged marriage will not be happening and that she must deal with her blossoming relationship with Trask. An unfortunate accident lands Trask in the hospital, but Jade saves his company single-handedly (153). Finally, they both realized they are only meant for each other. [Negotiating traditional (Chinese) versus modern (American) values: 106, 119, 123, 185]. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Roz Denny under Modern Fiction.
When Mary Ellen Spencer and Skip Toland went to high school together, she was overweight, plain and awkward. She dreamed of being transformed like Cinderella into her imaginary alter ego Mariel, who was svelte and elegant (8). But after her father was arrested for embezzling money at Skip's uncle's company, Mary Ellen moved away and did not see Skip again until after her divorce when she was thirty, when she started working as an assistant in his company. Even then, he does not recognize who she is, which was fine with her. She does not believe in fairy tales anymore anyway (19, 24).
After she wins a million dollars in a contest she refers to as her "fairy godmother" (56), Mary Ellen decides to grow up. She loses weight, goes back to school, runs a children's center to help troubled kids and is determined to clear her father's name of the crime he did not commit. She ends up on the board of directors for another school, of which Skip is the chairman. But even after all the changes in her life, she still feels like the awkward, overweight woman she once was (44).
Nevertheless, on a weekend retreat Skip and the newly transformed Mariel really hit it off and begin to date. Skip is delighted when he finds out that she is the Mary Ellen from high school, who he always seemed to be able to talk to and genuinely missed when she moved away. Mariel is happy: "For once in her life reality was the best thing Mariel could imagine" (81). But when Skip realizes she is out to clear her father's name and accuses his uncle of wrongdoing, he steps back. It is not the time to start a relationship with her when he is about to run for office. But his attraction to her is too much to deny; it is "mystical" (26). Skip takes the chance anyway, no matter what the cost to his reputation. As their relationship intensifies, so does Mariel's investigation. The press latches on to his uncle's past wrongdoings and his opponent tries to use it against him in the election race, causing a strain on his and Mariel's relationship. In the end, however, Skip sticks by her side, urging her to find out the truth no matter what, and accepting her for who she is. When they marry, there is "no trace of the Cinderella awkwardness of a girl who felt she was wearing borrowed finery and a borrowed identity" (243). [Cinderella references: 21, 24, 45, 56, 70, 75, 118, 179, 198, 244, 253]. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Jacqueline Diamond under Modern Fiction.
Ella McBride needs a job to put herself through art school, and millionaire William Hawk needs a nanny for his children ever since his wife died. In fact, ever since her death and his move to Wyoming, he just cannot handle his two rambunctious children at all. He calls Ella his children's "fairy godmother" (32). The arrangement is great-the children love Ella and she loves them-until Hawk falls in love with her too. He is not fooled by her "plain Jane routine" (53), and is attracted to her animated response to life (45), her youth, exuberance, sensitivity (61) and outspoken manner (96), quite unlike his late wife. Ella feels like a part of the family, something she's always wanted since her parents died. The concept of "home" has been an elusive one since the death of her mother (127).
When Hawk's social climbing ex-sister-in-law Frannie unexpectedly comes to visit, suddenly Ella starts to feel like a servant. Frannie orders Ella around and generally treats her like a low-class employee. Hawk makes things worse by giving Ella money to buy new clothes for the upcoming housewarming party (145). When Frannie tells Ella of her engagement to Hawk the night of Hawk's housewarming party, that was it for Ella. Ella runs off, grief-stricken and confused. Hawk comes after her when he learns what had happened, assuring her that the engagement was a lie. In fact, he was actually planning to propose to Ella the whole time. The last lines of the novel proclaim: "No longer the ugly duckling of her youth, she was transformed into a real-life Cinderella and made beautiful, not by the twirling of a godmother's wand, but by the power of Hawk's eternal love" (185). [Cinderella references: 38, 170, 185; Mary Poppins: 52]. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Cathleen Galitz under Modern Fiction.
Cami Jones, a clumsy plain Jane ugly duckling, is a research librarian in a big company who is about to show everyone she can handle a promotion as a special events coordinator by planning this year's gala. All her life she has "waited for a man to see more than a bookish girl with glasses" (107). Duke Merchon is the head of security operations for the same corporation. He is also an orphan who uses women ever since his wife died tragically six years ago. He is handsome, rich and successful, but he is also convinced that he cannot love.
When Cami and Duke must work together on the gala, they find that they are strangely attracted to each other, even though neither are each other's types. As Duke and Cami start to get involved, Cami discovers a new, sensual side of herself that was dormant for many years. He makes her feel special (92), and she gains a new confidence and inner glow; people start to notice. Through Cami's adoration and love, Duke is also transformed into a happy, sensitive man. He is impressed by her morals (27) and purity (14), intelligence and spirit (22). Yet when he spends the night with her, Duke always seems to leave before the morning.
When Cami goes behind his back to find the mother and siblings he does not know he has, Duke becomes furious and pushes Cami away. Eventually, however, he goes to see his birth mother, and realizes what a gift Cami has given him. He realizes that he cannot live without her. [Ugly Duckling reference: 51; Sleeping Beauty: 104; Romance novels: 34, 37, 45-46]. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Katherine Garbera under Modern Fiction.
In this romantic comedy, Lissa Wilkins is an independent, self-sufficient thirty-year-old hotel manager, who has been burned by smooth, handsome men before. She steers clear of men with the "Prince Charming vibe" that Steven Jackson has. He is visiting the hotel to recommend it to his father to buy. One night, while trying to set up some spooky tricks designed to scare Steve away, Lissa falls through the ceiling into Steve's arms. She quickly runs off, leaving her father's girlfriend Rosa's ugly old sandal behind. This prompts him to plan a "Cinderella search" at the upcoming fair, where women pay $3 for a chance to win Prince Charming (or as a runner-up prize, a kiss from him), if only her foot will fit the ugly sandal. Lissa just wanted to prevent Steve's father from buying her father's hotel, but, instead they fall in love. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Judy Griffith Gill under Modern Fiction.
When librarian Annie Barimer takes a new job as a governess for a family in a small country in the Alps, her friend jokes about her finding her prince charming. On the train to her new post, she loses her ticket and is about to be kicked off the train. She meets a charismatic man who rescues her from the situation. They end up talking and get along really well.
When she arrives at her new position, it turns out that she will be the governess for the two princesses of the small country, and the widowed Prince Johann is actually the man she met on the train. However, now he treats her as his employee, and they have different views on how to raise his daughters. He does want her to instill "American" values (59), which prioritize emotion, and to instill the "pioneering tradition"-the conviction that all Americans seem to have that they can change and improve things, but also to instill in them traditional, "royal" values as well. She tries to do this by taking the girls outside the Palace walls and into town, but ends up getting into trouble with Palace security. Annie and her employer must negotiate how to instill values of empowerment in the girls, yet also respect and loyalty, all the while keeping the family safe.
Annie stands up to her employer, and is pretty blunt about what she thinks, which is an uncommon trait in Prince Johann's employees. She is different from the women he has met before (27), and he respects her for it, although it compromises his position somewhat. He finds himself enjoying her company more and more, and defending her when she angers his advisors. Eventually it becomes clear that he must let her go-or make her his wife. He plans a lavish ball specifically so he can propose (167). [Prince Charming references: 9, 18, 182; Hans Christian Andersen reference: 33; Wuthering Heights reference: 18].
Emma Lawrence, an plain Jane (21) American horticulturist, and Brice Palliser, a British aristocrat, have been pen pals for two years now, since she saw a picture of the Earl's estate which had a rare plant she needs to have for her research. The only problem is that she thinks he is John, the gardener for the estate. When she finally receives funding to go get samples of the plant, she writes to her pen pal and hopes to finally meet him, not realizing his true identity.
Brice knows that when she finds out who he really is, she will act differently towards him. So, he meets her as John, and plays the charade for most of her trip. He is impressed with her intelligence (49) and her strong, independent and stubborn nature (52). She also values honesty, which puts him in a compromising position (54). When someone recognizes him at a restaurant, he knows it is midnight and that he must come clean. She is angry and battles her long engrained feelings of inferiority. He offers to fund her lab if she stays longer, hoping to convince her of his love (177). Eventually she realizes that he lied to her because he loved her and did not want to scare her away. [Cinderella reference: 142]. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Elizabeth Harbison under Modern Fiction.
Jane Miller has worked for Trey Breckenridge as his administrative assistant for five years, all the while being completely in love with him. But, he is handsome, and she is an awkward plain Jane (19). When Trey needs to fake an engagement so his super traditional father will sign over his shares of the company to Trey, he is in a bind. He asks Jane to go to dinner with he and his father, posing as his fiancée, and in return, he will pay her overtime (20). She says yes, of course, because she would do almost anything for Trey. He buys her an elegant dress and a gorgeous ring for the occasion. A professional shopper comes to her house to deliver the dress, fairy godmother style (36). She looks ravishing, definitely not her usual prim and proper outfit. She wears her hair down, not in the usual bun. Trey finds himself attracted to her, and respects her all the more when she is so charming to his father. In fact, Trey's father thinks she is so perfect for Trey, he wants to stick around a while longer to spend time with them.
A few days into the "engagement," one of the shareholders who has loaned money to Breckenridge Construction decides to call in the loan, potentially forcing the company to go bankrupt. The only way the company will be saved is if Trey gets married and transfers his assets to his wife, buying them time to finish their substantial deal with another company, and thus paying off the loan. Trey and Jane rush off to Las Vegas for a quickie wedding, agreeing upon a contract of one year (58). They rush home only to discover they want their marriage to be real. In the end, Jane ends up saving Breckenridge Construction on her own, with a spur of the moment meeting with another executive (174). [Cinderella references: 33, 38, 58; Beauty and the Beast: 32].
Amanda Wainwright has had a bad year. After her fiancé was murdered, she finds out that he was involved in many illegal activities and never loved her nor intended to marry her. Josh Carter, and undercover agent who helped expose her late fiancé, was one of the agents to break the news to her. A year later, she still suffers from grief and depression (54) and Josh decides it is time to cheer her up. He knows there is no one like Amanda (9). She is not the most beautiful woman he has ever met, but it is her face he sees every night before he goes to sleep (13). If he believed in love, he might think he was in love with her, but he no longer believes in happily ever after (184).
But in an attempt to lift Amanda's spirits, he ends up just getting her mixed up in unsafe circumstances. When one of his enemies sees them kissing and assumes they are in a relationship, the only way to keep Amanda safe is to move into her house and keep her with him at all times. However, spending time together only increases their attraction to each other. He thinks she is one of the kindest, most loyal, trusting and generous women he has ever met (28). She is also sweet, innocent and real (77). In fact, he thought women like her were a myth (26). To her, he was a fairy tale prince (36). She thinks she is not his usual type since she is plain, ordinary and boring (92), but she feels safe in his arms (135).
When she must go to a dinner party as Josh's date to keep up pretenses, she feels like Cinderella going to the ball. The agency dresses her in beautiful clothes and jewels. But at midnight she must return it all (146). Later, Josh and Amanda get stuck on an assignment, are drugged and find themselves in a locked room on a boat. They make love-Amanda's first time. They are rescued and Josh sends her to stay at his sister's house while he finishes the assignment. Amanda is upset because she thinks Josh does not love her, but when Josh returns for her, he proposes. He tells her he will make her believe in all the good things again (249). [Cinderella references: 146; Prince Charming reference: 184; Fairy tale references: 36, 84, 91, 239.] For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Sally Tyler Hayes under Modern Fiction.
Tyler Fortune is the vice president of his family's huge construction company in Arizona. But if he does not marry by age thirty, he will not inherit his share of the company. His parents have a long list of eligible women for him, but resentful Tyler wants to find a wife on his own. He enlists the help of a video dating service, and spends hours screening the tapes for someone he thinks will fit his criteria. He is looking for someone who is polite, moral, genuinely fond of children and the domestic arts, and who is shy, so he can take control (22). He thinks he finds her in the last tape he looks at-plain librarian Julie Parker, who only wants to marry so she can have a baby. She is a "realist" and has ceased to believe in fairy tales (34). She has waited a lifetime for love, and children were a guarantee (79). To Tyler, she seems plain, scared and innocent, yet strangely appealing and tantalizing (12).
To his surprise, Julie gets along great with his family, particularly his grandmother who takes her under her wing. She pays for a beautiful wedding dress and a makeover for Julie, who comes out looking beautiful (83). Before long, Tyler starts thinking maybe procreation will not be such a chore. And not only is Julie not plain, but she is also not shy either. She has a lot more backbone than he realized (27); she is very intelligent (29), different (74), and has a hidden spunkiness to her (77). Soon their "marriage of convenience" is not turning out to be how he planned.
When Julie gets pregnant, she realizes she cannot live this lie anymore. She feels too strongly for Tyler to stay in a marriage that drives her crazy. She leaves a note and runs back to her home in Houston. Tyler is outraged and finds her, revealing his love to get her back. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Katherine Jensen under Modern Fiction.
C. J. Bede has a plan to get back at the father who got her mother pregnant but then married someone else. She was going to buy out his fireworks company. All was going well until Rowan McKenna, the "prince of takeovers," came to town looking to do the same thing. Hoping to thwart his plan and get back at her evil stepsisters, Karla and Darla, she crashes their annual Firecracker ball.
Posing as Cinderella with the help of her fairy godmother, her neighbor Miss Pru, she snags Rowan's attention away from the Farley family and their firecracker business. That was the easy part. What she did not expect was that he would like her Cinderella image so much. She intrigued him when she was "plain old C.J." (83, 164), but as Cinderella, she takes his breath away. She is different (22), a "wildcat" (36), smart (57) and blunt (93). He even puts an ad in the paper to find out her real identity. Still posing as Cinderella, she visits him occasionally. But as time goes on, she grows more and more nervous that he will learn her true identity or recognize her as plain old C.J. She even finds it impossible to separate her two identities (161). Soon, he confesses that he has known her true identity for some time now, and like Miss Pru, he prefers plain old C.J. without her mask (195). Together, they take over the firecracker company and live happily ever after (248). [Cinderella references: 85, 114, 93; Prince Charming 80; Barbie doll 86]. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Julie Kistler under Modern Fiction.
Ciara Wilde made it big. From poor, plain Cathy Wazorski, she had become a rich and beautiful actress. She finds herself engaged to Brendan Swift, another big shot Hollywood actor, and the wedding is swiftly approaching. Only now she is tired of compromising her morals for parts in movies, and she is really tired of Brendan's selfish ways. She just wants to get away for a little while, to rethink her choices in life at her friend's remote cabin in the mountains.
Jace Lockhart is worlds away from Ciara's seemingly glamorous life. He is also looking for peace and quiet at the cabin, but is getting over very different wounds. As an international news reporter, he has seen too much. He watched his lover die in his arms after a bomb went off, and he still has nightmares about it. He no longer believes in happy endings (60).
When they find each other at the cabin, both Ciara and Jace are annoyed at the lack of privacy. They are even more annoyed when a blizzard forces them both to stay indefinitely. But they start to find similarities between them, and a sizzling attraction that they cannot deny. Jace finds that Ciara is not at all what he expected of a Hollywood bimbo (40); in fact, she is smart (63), shy, sweet (102)-she even has dreams of writing a screenplay. She is closer to the insecure loner she had been in childhood than any of the confident roles she plays in the movies (69). She still sees the plain girl from Kentucky when she looks in the mirror (138). She values her independence and security above all else (57), is devoted to her family, and is not hung up on looks (117). She starts to help heal his mind (170), and he makes her feel like she is home (216). When their weekend comes to a close and the roads are clear again, both are sad to leave and nervous about their future together.
On his way back from getting some groceries, Jace picks up a newspaper. In it he reads all about Ciara's engagement to Brendan and how she had run off right before their wedding. Jace is furious that she did not tell him about her engagement at all in the entire romantic weekend they had spent together. They argue, and she leaves. A month later, they see each other at a mutual friend's wedding. Jace realizes he was wrong to jump to conclusions and not allow Ciara to explain. The love between them still exists, perhaps even stronger than before, and neither will let anything come between them ever again. [Barbie doll reference: 14; Ugly duckling 71]. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Ruth Langan under Modern Fiction.
Nicola Rosten, socialite and heiress to a cereal fortune, goes to Deborah Main's fancy dress party dressed as "Cinderella in mink." She flees the party when she sees her fiancée, Jeffrey, kissing Deborah. As she flees, she gets hit by a car. The owner of the car, Joanna, thinking that Nicola is a poor runaway, takes her to the charity center where she works. There, Nicky meets handsome Barnaby Grayson, the founder of the center and a psychiatrist, who also mistakes her for a poor runaway. Nicky, tired and unhappy with her life, plays along for a change. She works hard (93) and does not wear makeup for the first time in her life (101). During their therapy sessions, Barnaby cannot hide his attraction to this unfortunate homeless girl, but tries everything to maintain doctor-patient boundaries. He admires her sensitivity (76) and her intelligence (93). She loves the way he treats her like a person and not a wallet (116). Soon, Nicky, too, realizes she has fallen for Barnaby and his huge and compassionate heart, and wonders if he would still love her if he knew her true identity (108, 115).
When her godfather, Marty, comes looking for Nicky a few weeks later to take care of some paperwork, Joanna, jealous of Barnaby's attention to Nicky, takes the opportunity to thwart Nicky's plans. Only she gets it all wrong and does not give Nicky a chance to explain the truth. When Joanna tells Nicky that she and Barnaby are secretly engaged, a grief-stricken Nicky decides it is time for her to return to her real life, even though she has been happier at the center than ever before.
To get even with Barnaby, she sets up a trust for him to establish more help centers, with the stipulation that he come to dinner with her once a month. On the first dinner, Barnaby realizes just who Nicky is, but to Nicky's chagrin, does not show any emotion. Months pass by, and Nicky again finds herself at a party at Deborah's. She takes a walk and ends up near the center, where she runs into Barnaby. Finally realizing Joanna's lie, Barnaby sets the record straight and professes his undying love for Nicky. [Cinderella references 25, 48, 163, 95, 180, 184]. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Roberta Leigh under Modern Fiction.
CEO Travis Rule needs to find a wife before his thirty-fifth birthday to keep with the family tradition. His mother has even suggested several possibilities. To get away from the pressure, he takes a vacation at his ranch, where he surprises the new (and beautiful) housekeeper, orphan Cindy Ellerbee. He is immediately attracted to her, but has a hard time convincing her to spend time with him. She is trying to save money to realize her dream of opening a needlework shop, and certainly does not want to compromise her job by getting too personal with the boss. But he insists on eating dinner with her, giving her driving lessons, and helping her research for her needlework shop. He is impressed with Cindy's independence (33) and self-sufficiency (43), and finds her quiet and refined (49) and talented and generous with her time (52). Unfortunately, Cindy no longer believes in love after her first heartbreak (73), and makes the distinction between fairy tales and "real" life (74).
When his mother shows up with two young socialites, one of whom she hopes will become her new daughter-in-law, Cindy suddenly feels jealous, especially when she is treated as an employee for the first time at this position. Little does she know, Travis is already quite sure who he wants as his bride, and sets up a series of "compatibility tests" that the two girls are sure to fail.
Finally, the whole situation gets to be too much for Cindy, especially since she has fallen in love with Travis, and she calls Fanny Rae at the housekeeping agency to see if she can send a replacement housekeeper. Fanny Rae always "believed in her when no one else did" (141). Before Cindy goes, however, Travis proposes, and she changes her mind about leaving. [Cinderella references: 21, 23, 119, 182]. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Linda Lewis under Modern Fiction.
One day, while janitor Cindy Territo and her friend Vanessa were cleaning the vice president's office, Vanessa suggests that Cindy should crash the company's posh Christmas ball. Cindy thinks Vanessa is crazy, but intrigued, she goes along with the plan. Vanessa gets her hands on a discarded ticket (20), and Cindy's aunt makes her a beautiful dress (23). She even wears her mother's antique comb in her hair. She drives herself to the ball in her uncle's limo, but must be back by midnight because he has a job later in the night.
At the ball, vice president Thorndike Prince thinks Cindy is beautiful. Although he is practically engaged, he cannot take his eyes off of Cindy. She thinks it is great fun, telling him that she is Cinderella and he is her prince (25). They have a wonderful night, complete with a carriage ride around Central Park. At midnight, however, she runs off, dropping her late mother's antique comb (63). As Thorne searches desperately to find Cindy again, Cindy is whisked back to real life, and her reality as an orphaned janitor. She would never fit into Thorne's world.
After several more encounters, their feelings for each other get stronger and stronger. Thorne begs for one more night to "test the magic" (95). He surprises Cindy by taking her to meet his parents and breaking things off with his girlfriend. Surprisingly, Thorne's snobby mother really respects Cindy for her blunt outspokenness and charming down-to-earth quality. Finally, Cindy reveals her real name and the fact that she is actually his janitor, expecting that he will never want to see her again. But it does not matter to him, and they are married soon after. Her wedding day is the "birth of her dreams" (186). [Cinderella references: 25, 29, 48, 54, 56, 63; Fairy tales: 8]. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Debbie Macomber under Modern Fiction.
At CEO Jonathan Steele's charity ball, he meets Cynthia Morgan, who benefited from his grant for seed money to start a new business a few years ago. With the money, she started a nanny service, which is now flourishing, thanks to Jonathan. She wants to go to the ball to thank him properly (10). They hit it off immediately, dancing the whole night. Unfortunately, Jonathan's night with Cinderella ends early when his half-brother is shot to death and Cynthia accidentally drinks poison meant for Jonathan. Although preoccupied with solving the mystery surrounding the night, he sits by Cynthia's side for four days while she lies in a coma, even offering to pay for her medical bills.
When she awakens, she wants to repay his kindness and offers her nanny service for his newly acquired nephew, Colton. But Jonathan does not want just anybody; he wants Cynthia. She takes on the job, thinking it will help her heal to start working again. She moves into his house temporarily and starts to fall for Jonathan. Jonathan is determined not to get attached to anyone, including Cynthia and his baby nephew, believing that love is a waste of time (87). Gently, Cynthia urges him to heal his childhood wounds and open his heart. He keeps reminding her that he is not the prince she thinks he is, but she pursues him anyway.
He admires her innate ability to see the best in people and her way of standing up to him (136). He is also drawn to her family (53), and compares her mother with his own (48). One night, he cannot keep denying his attraction for this sweet, innocent and beautiful woman, and he takes her virginity. The next morning, he is scared and does all the wrong things. He closes off emotionally to protect himself, pushing Cynthia further and further away. She finally gets the picture when she sees him go out with another woman. She runs home to her mother and nurses her pain while he sits in his huge house all alone. Suddenly his house seems incredibly lonely where it never had before. He wants to believe in himself the way she believes in him, but it takes a while to realize his mistake. He starts to think she's actually the stronger of the two (142). When he does and realizes he loves her, he takes a chance on love. [Cinderella references: 17, 20, 31, 239; Sleeping Beauty 157; Fairy tales: 143, 150].
When Trevor MacAllister, a brilliant surgeon, begins to work at the hospital where Dana Rowan is a nurse, all the nurses fawn all over him. He is the most eligible bachelor, a "godlike creature" (8), a true paragon (11), and they treat him almost like a "religious icon" (11). They even give him a nickname, "Prince Charming, M.D." (26). But all Dana sees when she looks at him is the high school senior who slept with her and then told the whole school, breaking her heart and ruining her reputation. "Trevor had once been the brightest star in her universe. When that star had gone out, it had taken her a long time to make her own light" (67). She refuses to be like her mother and wait for a man to rescue her (95). She refuses to be attracted to him now (12), except it does not quite work.
Trevor has not dated in two years, since his first wife Vanessa cheated on him and they went through a messy divorce. He starts to doubt whether he ever even loved her (34). But he wants a family, "a loving mate, happy children, a contented home life," but now believes it is an elusive dream (40). All he wants is "someone to see him for who and what he was on the inside" (51). He resents the many rumors about his sex life that circulate around the hospital; in fact, these kinds of rumors always circulated about him. He tries to ignore them, but Dana cannot seem to. Trevor still feels badly about hurting Dana, who meant more to him than she knows. She would never listen to his apology or his denial that he that spread the rumors. Yet, he always admired her toughness and "survivor's strength" (18), her outspokenness, intelligence (45), enthusiasm, honesty, and humor (47). There is just something about her (43) that always caught his eye. In fact, Dana was his first time too, although she does not believe it. He thinks since they had been each other's first time, "[m]aybe that was a bond that could never be broken" (69).
Trevor moves in next door to Dana, much to her dismay. But, she is neighborly and helps him adjust. She even has a few meals with him. A few weeks later, they both go on a week-long seminar for hospital management. They seem to spend all their time together and soon everyone thinks they are a couple. They begin to date, although Dana assumes it is casual since she believes all the rumors about how many women Trevor is dating at once. After all, Trevor seems too good to be true, too perfect to be a flesh and blood man (112). When she visits his parents, Trevor's mother tells her, "You look beautiful, my dear. Such a lovely dress, and you flatter it perfectly" (82). Dana looks up to his mother as a model of independence (184). Dana is very much afraid of dependence; she has goals and she achieves them. Yet, with the right partner, she believes she can still retain her identity (202).
Soon, Dana's belief in the rumors about Trevor begins to tamper with their relationship. She seeks advice from her old boyfriend. He tells her that perhaps these women are lying because they need to be perceived as desirable (213). Unfortunately, Trevor sees Dana having dinner with her old boyfriend and is furious with jealousy. They argue and break up. Dana goes to her girl friends for comfort. With them, she begins to sort out her issues about the dichotomy between her fantasy ideal and the real person that Trevor is (229). Her friends' advice gives her hope (231) and she sets out to get Trevor back. [Snow White reference: 204; Fairy tale reference: 236.] For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Susan Mallery under Modern Fiction.
Chloe Marshall and Princess Moira of Ennsway have been best friends for ten years. Moira has been living in the United States since she was sent away for school. Now it is time for her to go back to her country to fulfill her duties, but she has her own dreams. She convinces Chloe to switch lives with her. Chloe always loved the way Moira rewove tales about her childhood into fairy tales (9) and agrees to the switch. They call it "Operation Fairy Tale" (16). Moira's secretary, Emma, goes along with the plan as well and stays by Chloe's side, instructing her and guiding her in the proper ways of a princess.
Chloe meets King William of the neighboring country of Baesland. He is like a "fairy tale prince" (27). He is enraptured by her "American independence" (79), her headstrong nature, and the fire in her eyes (94). Chloe learns that Moira's father has signed a contract with King William declaring her hand in marriage. He dies before the contract can be voided. She is conflicted; she could never marry someone she did not love (85) and resents that she is being forced to. "...[S]he didn't want to marry him because of a contract. She had good ol' American pride, after all" (97). After several mysterious attempts at her life, William decides to take her to his castle to keep her safe. She thinks his gorgeous castle must have been where "Cinderella had ended up" (102). When she refuses to come down to dinner, William picks out the proper dress and shoes for her (110). Although he is stern with her, secretly he is intrigued. The Prime Minister also says, "Her Highness is such a breath of fresh air" (114). William makes her choose a wedding gown. She does not think a woman should choose a dress before she chooses a husband, and he counters that with a comment about how all girls in America read magazines from a young age and dream of their wedding gowns (116).
Soon Chloe confronts Emma about the real reason she was sent instead of Moira. Emma admits to arranging the whole switch out of patriotic duty to her country. Moira would never have made an adequate queen, she claims, but Chloe has an innate sense of justice and is unselfish (132). Plus, even if Chloe wants out of the deal, she now has no identity to return to-Emma has changed all the records (133). Chloe does not mind all that much, since she is falling in love with William anyway. Meanwhile, William, who is also falling in love, appeals to his secretary for advice. He tells William to "romance" her, to tell her she is beautiful and treat her special (168). After another attempt at Chloe's life, William runs to the rescue and feels like her knight in shining armor (178). Afterwards, he tries to be a gentleman and is quick to pull her chair back, "not that she needed it. She was quite the independent American woman, with a mind and muscles of her own" (197). He tells her he loves her. But before the wedding, she feels she must tell him the truth, knowing she may be imprisoned for it. Of course, William loves her for who she is, and cannot imagine running his kingdom without her by his side. [Cinderella reference: 102; Fairy tale references: 16, 27, 97; Knight in shining armor: 178.] For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Jenna McKnight under Modern Fiction.
When Carter King, president of Carolina Banking, wanted the perfect family, he hires a private investigator to find the best candidates. The qualifications are that the women must enjoy children, understand poverty, be reliable and not manipulative, and be someone who needs what he had to offer. They also must have plain Jane looks. Marly Alcott fits every category. She is the big-hearted, caring founder of "Little Learners," a foundation for low-income children in the projects. When he goes to her and invites her to be his date for a society function, he does not expect her to look so beautiful. She also has a "rare generosity of spirit that knows no socioeconomic boundaries" (85). He realizes that she is a survivor like himself (114), is real and genuine, and "[s]he inspired him to dream" (188). When he finally gets up the nerve to pitch his proposition-marry him for a quarter million dollar donation to her struggling foundation-she flat out refuses.
She reconsiders his offer, however, when she witnesses the murder of one of her students' mothers by his powerful drug lord father. She is scared and does not want Tyler to be turned over to his father's custody. However, the situation brings back haunting memories about her previous life as Hilary Steele, the daughter of one of the wealthiest men in New England. When she was fifteen, she witnessed a horrific murder, and her family was killed because she testified. When she joined the Peace Corps a few years later, they bombed her village and her best friend died. She assumed her friend's identity out of fear for her life, and has lived as Marly Alcott ever since. She even had plastic surgery to alter her appearance to that of a plain woman. She would not bring herself to testify as she did eight years ago and risk Tyler's life or her own, or risk her deep secret surfacing. She goes to Carter for help, adding a stipulation for Tyler's safety into their agreement.
They are married within days and bring Tyler to a private school a few hours away. Marly promises to go to the police, but Tyler's drug lord father comes after her before she can. Carter quickly rescues her, killing the villain in defense, but not before Marly is seriously injured. Carter loves her and vows that if Marly recovers, he will release her of her promise, believing she only married him for money. Marly, fully in love with Carter at this point, will not hear of it, and the novel ends with them dreaming of their future together with their family. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Monica McLean under Modern Fiction.
Julianne Bennet and her twin sister, Jackie du Marcel, were separated at age eight, when their parents divorced. Julianne stayed with her mother in a small town in Virginia, living a homey and secure life, while Jackie lived with her father in Hollywood amidst glamour and movie stars. At twenty-five, Julianne is considering a marriage proposal from her boring boyfriend, but decides to take some time for herself while visiting Jackie in California. Jackie has to leave unexpectedly for a week, and people mistake Julianne for Jackie. At first, Jackie is dismayed. But after a while, she cannot resist a chance to try out her sister's life-glamorous, posh and wild. All she had known about this kind of excitement came from the books she had read, from "secondhand knowledge" (156).
Cade Marshall, Jackie's handsome and rich next-door neighbor, also mistakes Julianne for Jackie. She does not correct him and soon they are spending time together. Julianne worries what will happen when Jackie comes home and the truth is discovered (96). Cade cannot figure out why he never noticed Jackie in this way before, why he was never attracted to her with this ferocity. He wonders why a woman who had seemed so worldly acts so innocent with him. But when Jackie comes home and Cade figures it all out, he is angry that Julianne lied to him. Eventually, however, Cade realizes he is in love with her, and it does not matter what her name is-all that matters is that they are together. [Cinderella references: 95, 148]. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Barbara McMahon under Modern Fiction.
Callie James, a young, strong-willed Irish immigrant, just wants to make ends meet for her impoverished family back in Ireland. She resorts to stealing food, for which the penalty is death. Byrch Kenyon, a handsome newspaperman from New York City, rescues her before she gets caught. Her mother fears the worst and sends her off to her cousin in America, where they believe the streets are paved with gold. Callie arrives in Staten Island penniless, disenchanted and missing her mother terribly. Her cousin Owen runs a whorehouse, along with Madge, the "manager." Almost forced into prostitution, things can't get much worse for her. However, Madge takes pity on her and makes her a beautiful dress and some petticoats and sends her off to a charity house. Callie is horribly exploited there as well, until Byrch Kenyon rescues her once again and finds a position for her as a companion to a rich girl, Mary Powers.
Callie works hard for her meager wages and makes her way as an independent, self-assured woman in the face of all kinds of adversity. Unfortunately, she falls in love with Mary's brother, an irresistible, but irresponsible mama's boy, Rossiter Powers. Callie gets pregnant, and is out on the streets once again when Rossiter's mother finds out. Heartbroken, Callie returns to the slums. But she is more determined than ever to make a better life for her child and becomes a shining star in the dark, dull streets of Shantytown.
After a tragic fire kills her son, griefstricken Callie only finds comfort in the arms of her love, Byrch Kenyon. Soon, Callie is back, fiercely independent as ever, and writing news stories on the conditions of the slums. Nothing can stop her from surviving and thriving, except perhaps herself. By the end, Callie is making a difference in New York, as well as earning her own income as a reporter on Byrch's paper. People read her articles because of her unique mixture of intelligence and streetsmarts. But, she and Byrch are living together on borrowed time, and people start to talk. She feels she cannot have him because of their Cinderella arrangement, but he convinces her otherwise. They get married and plan a trip back to Ireland to see her mother. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Fern Michaels under Modern Fiction.
It seems that wherever Julia Buchanan goes, she is reminded of her ex-boyfriend, Spencer Kendall-especially when she sees a great pair of shoes at a secondhand shop, shoes which Spencer would have loved on her. She decided to wear them to the upcoming "Unsinkable Molly Brown Ball." When Spencer calls her unexpectedly to tell her he is in town and wants to see her, Julia decides to wear her new shoes. She thinks to herself, "Nobody would have to know that she was crazy enough to believe in magic slippers" (324). She tells him to meet her at the beauty salon, where she is getting her hair done. She sees him through the beauty shop mirrors (334). He tells her that her shoes are incredible (336). At home, as she tries on her dress, the songs "Pretty Woman" and "Material Girl" by Madonna are playing on MTV (344). Her friend Julia tells her that she must "... make her own magic. Clothes and makeovers can only do so much" (344).
Julia and Spencer talk about the reasons they broke up. Spencer got the job he always wanted in California and had been forced to move away from Julia, who did not want to leave the business she had just started. They still love each other, however, and she and Spencer spend the night together. Spencer even tells her he wants to move back to Denver to be with her. It turns out Spencer is going to the ball that night too, and she tells herself, "He'd be shocked when she showed up at the ball like a modern-day Cinderella in flashy platform shoes" (361). Yet, at the ball, Julia feels out of place wearing secondhand shoes. She compares herself to Molly Brown-if Molly Brown could be unsinkable, so could Julia (365). Then she overhears Spencer telling someone about his new position and how he accepted it. She thinks he means the one in California and becomes furious. "Here she was-Cinderella at the ball-and Spencer's betrayal was about to pitch her back to the ashes" (369). She tries to run away, but Spencer runs after her, explaining that he was talking about his new position, right here in town, and he proposes to her. [Cinderella references: 312, 361, 369, 371, 372.]
Ami Whitelake is still getting over her broken marriage when she takes a job as a veterinarian on a big Arizona ranch. They told her it was not a job for women, but she knew she would revel in the solitariness and the beauty of the Arizona landscape. She has always been a loner; she was orphaned as a young child, then her adoptive parents died in college, then her marriage broke up because she could not have children (12). The only problem with her new job happens when she falls in love with her boss, the owner of the Wagner Ranch, Jeff Wagner, who tells her "we're all strays of a sort" (30). But she had stopped holding on to her dreams long ago (49, 99), and has little faith that anything will work out between her and Jeff. After all, "love is a fairy tale, best left to a competent storyteller" (152).
Jeff's six-year-old daughter, Mandy, deaf since she was two years old, had been to every doctor in the West. When Ami comes to the ranch, however, she thinks of one more option-her best friend who just happens to be a doctor specializing in hearing problems in children. When Jeff, Mandy, and Ami take a trip to the East Coast to see this new doctor, Jeff and Ami find themselves in bed together-a huge mistake since Jeff was practically engaged to a beautiful neighboring ranch owner, Eileen.
As time goes by, Jeff starts to realize he thinks of Ami more than his own fiancée, and breaks it off with Eileen. Ami begins to realize that she loves him, a very risky proposition for a woman who has just gotten over her last heartbreak. But then Eileen, who just wants to get even, accuses Ami of stealing some of Jeff's cattle. Ami is so hurt that Jeff even has to ask her whether it is true that she packs all her things and begins the journey back home. Unfortunately, she gets caught up with the real rustlers, who shoot her and leave her to die. As she lies in the hospital, Jeff convinces her to marry him. [Fairy tales: 152, 252, 255; References to "home": 154, 194, 216]. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Zelma Orr under Modern Fiction.
Instead of surprising her boyfriend in Italy for his birthday, Gina Hart, a transatlantic courier from Brooklyn, finds him in bed with another woman. To make matters worse, another one of his girlfriends shows up. Angry and hurt, all three women make a pact to swear off men for good. Now stuck in Italy for several days, Gina tries to make the best of it, but the next thing she knows, her wallet has been stolen. She goes to the Embassy and waits in line for a new passport. She feels sick and ends up fainting in Jackson Maxwell Covington III's office. Jackson is an assistant to the consul general. He surprises himself by realizing he is attracted to her. "He was supposed to be rescuing her, not lusting after her" (36), he thinks to himself. As she recovers from minor heat exhaustion, they banter back and forth and get on each other's nerves. He finds her stubborn (44) yet charming (50), although she likes to think of herself as "streetsmart, if not booksmart, outgoing, funny" (9). She is told she must wait another night for her passport.
Some other unfortunate incidents further delay her departure. Jackson insists that she stay with him since she has nowhere else to go. Jackson thinks how different she is than another woman in his life, Miranda, who is selfish (92). The next day, Gina dresses more conservatively, but Jackson misses her short skirt (97). When Jackson's date backs out, he invites Gina to go to the Arabian consulate's dinner with him. As she prepares for the dinner, she pretends she is Cinderella (107). Greta, who works at the Embassy, helps her shop for a dress. Jackson thinks Gina looks incredible. But "...the glitter and sparkle of the other women's gowns caught her eye, reminding her that his was a fairy tale. One that could have a bearable ending only if she remembered she was no Cinderella" (133).
Jackson invites her to another fancy dinner and she is nervous about embarrassing him; her old feelings of inferiority return (147). Greta advises her not to sell herself short (148). As Gina and Jackson dance, he feels alive (152); they seem to fit (161). Jackson makes her feel beautiful, even though she had not lost that five pounds she planned to before she came to Italy (181). She thinks to herself that if she were smart, she would leave before midnight (162), but instead she stays. After a run-in with Miranda, who is kind of Jackson's girlfriend, Gina thinks to herself that Miranda is too much of a "wuss" to be with Jackson (185). Jackson explains that he has never been serious about Miranda, and that he actually wants to be with Gina. But soon, Gina gets her passport and moves on with her life. She and Jackson talk occasionally and are both secretly miserable without the other. Eventually he realizes he must be with her and visits her in New York, where he proposes. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Debbie Rawlins under Modern Fiction.
Tracy O'Brien meets handsome Anthony Delano, a prominent Houston businessman, one day in the grocery store. She thinks he is "elegance personified," a "magnetic Prince Charming" (2). They flirt and he ends up giving her a ride home and staying for a while. She tells him how nervous she is for her upcoming interview for a position as a resident director of a fundraising campaign. When she arrives at the interview a few days later, Anthony is on the committee evaluating her. She gets the position, but Anthony embarrasses her with a few inappropriate comments. He thinks he is just helping her and offers to help her get acquainted with the city (57).
He drives her to work every day since she does not have a car (94), and they start to see each other more seriously, although she has some reservations about the relationship. After getting into an accident with her new used car, she exclaims, "I want to go home!" (106), to which he replies, "You're home now, darling!" (107). When she gets upset that he takes over everything (112), he tells her about his parents' relationship and jokes that his mother always did everything his father said. Tracy thinks that is not a very "modern attitude" (115). He wants more from the relationship, but she still has issues. They reach a "stalemate." "She often asked herself why she resisted him. He was truly a prince out of a fairy tale and she was like a stubborn Cinderella who didn't want to go to the ball and wasn't even sure Prince Charming existed" (125).
Tracy talks to her Aunt Fayetta about the relationship. Aunt Fayetta thinks Tracy, like her mother, has the "martyr complex," the attitude that "joy and happiness are something sinful, something you don't deserve" (149). Tracy realizes that she had thought she was pursuing freedom and her own identity, yet if Aunt Fayetta's assessment was right, Tracy was really pursuing safety instead (151). She realizes that love is an act of faith, with no guarantees (168) and decides to marry Anthony. [Cinderella reference: 125; Prince Charming references: 2, 95, 116, 125, 148.] For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Eugenia Riley under Modern Fiction.
When big city lawyer Ross Garrison moves to a small town in Montana, he was looking for a peaceful place to get over his late wife. Lynn Taylor is a plain (24), once overweight and unpopular, yet hardworking, quiet, and dependable woman (76). He meets at her school one day, to discuss one of her students who also happens to be the heir to an estate which he is managing. Her "fairy godmother" and friend, Danielle, tells him to meet Lynn at the beauty salon later, after her appointment; a makeover was Danielle's birthday gift to Lynn (20). When Ross arrives later at the salon, he does not recognize her. He cannot believe it is the same woman and is transfixed by her beauty. "She was Cinderella at the ball, Sleeping Beauty awakened and ugly-duckling-turned-to-swan all rolled into one" (55).
They go out to dinner to discuss her student, but never actually get to that subject. Soon they are back at his place, flirting like mad. She ends up spending the night, and wakes up horrified. She runs off, forgetting about the shoe she misplaced the night before (84, 105). She is definitely the talk of the town the next morning. She runs away. To make matters worse, her step-sister, Trish, has a major crush on Ross and feels like Lynn betrayed her. Lynn's whole family stops speaking to her. Ross feels bad and offers to pretend to be her fiancé for a month to help Lynn regain her reputation. Lynn agrees, although she knows it is only because she wants more time to show Ross that they should be together for real.
When the month is up, she professes her love, and he tells her it just cannot be. They break up as planned. Lynn has Thanksgiving with her family, who have all now forgiven her, but she is only thinking of Ross. When tragically one of her students gets kidnapped, Ross is there to comfort her. He just cannot stay away. Lynn finally convinces him that love is magic if he would just believe (189). They work things out and decide to get engaged for real. [Cinderella reference 22; Ugly Duckling, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Lady in Red 55, 80, 155; Romance novels versus real life: 83]. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Christine Rimmer under Modern Fiction.
Orphan Megan Delaney and her friend Carrie, both translators for the U.N. in New York City, decide to take a vacation to the small European country, Beaumarre. They cannot wait to catch a glimpse of the famous Princess Gabrielle and her new fiancé, Prince Nicholas de Valmontine. They have a great time and even meet some men at the nightclubs. Megan meets Prince Nicholas, who is posing as a commoner, Philippe. He thinks she is "[a] real beauty...A woman who didn't need glamorous makeup to attract attention" (25). She is attracted to his charisma and sexual potency (28).
Megan is classically beautiful with a smashing figure (9), and she just happens to look like Princess Gabrielle with a different hairstyle. One day, Megan and Carrie are approached outside a coffeehouse by a suspicious character who has a proposition for Megan. Inspector Henri Montelle, head of National Security, asks her to pose as the missing princess until Gabrielle is located (42). Megan thinks it would be fun and agrees. She gets a grand makeover, complete with a new hair color and style, and she wears a lot more makeup than usual. Her first night on the job, however, proves to be harder than she thought. Princess Gabrielle and Prince Nicholas' marriage was arranged by their parents, and neither of them are happy about it. Even Megan thinks arranged marriages are barbaric. She says, "Protocol wasn't an excuse to force two people into a loveless marriage" (63).
To make matters worse, as Megan spends time with Nick, she likes him more and more. She admires the way he is genuinely interested in people, no matter what their status (142). Nick sees many qualities in her that he did not in Gabrielle. Megan is not selfish and does not throw fits like a spoiled child, the way Gabrielle does. But Nick still thinks she is Gabrielle. Megan says to Carrie, "I'd still be me under all the goop" (69) and she begins to wonder how it will affect Nick when he finds out she is not Gabrielle. She gives Inspector Henri until Sunday night to find the real princess. "After that, Cinderella turns in her time card" (123).
Several more fiascos later, Nick and Megan are more in love than ever, and Megan feels more guilty than ever, knowing she is deceiving him. She also realizes that he is Philippe, the man she met in the nightclub. She swears to tell him the truth. Before she can, however, they run into the real Gabrielle who is shopping with her ex-boyfriend, a tennis star. When he realizes he has been duped, Nick is furious. Gabrielle is even more furious that Megan "stole her identity" (217). It turns out Gabrielle is engaged to her tennis star, which is why she ran away from the arranged marriage. They all sit down together to see what would be best for all of them. They work everything out and Gabrielle says, "Let's go back to the palace and start your transformation, Megan. It's spooky having an identical twin" (225). Megan and Nick have a fairy-tale ending. "The prince had found his princess and they would live happily ever after" (246). [Cinderella references: 80, 123; Fairy tales references: 182, 187, 246, 249.] For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Tracy Sinclair under Modern Fiction.
[Audience: adolescent girls]. Wendy Miller's summer job is as seamstress for America's Teen Beauty Pageant. Rich and handsome Spencer Fife mistakes her for Miss Florida, and she goes along with it, believing he wouldn't like her if she revealed her true identity. After three weeks of dating and many near mishaps with her lie, he invites her to the ball. Her friend Kim helps her get a dress for the ball (98). She goes as Miss Florida, narrowly getting past the event coordinators before they recognize her. When Miss Florida turns up, Wendy flees. Finally, at the end, she comes clean, and it turns out Spencer isn't rich after all-she had mistaken his name with the famous Phyffe family. She says, "I can forgive you for not being a millionaire if you can forgive me for not being a beauty queen" (131). For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Sheri Cobb South under Modern Fiction.
Suzanna Malloy, a reporter for the Tech-Sentinel, meets the top secret doctor, Daniel Crompton, when she is investigating for a story. Dr. Crompton works at the huge multinational complex and Suzanna must be very resourceful to gain access to his lab. He is amused by her feminist T-shirts like "When God made man she was only kidding" and "If we set one man to the moon, why can't we send them all?" (94). Unfortunately, while they are arguing about her right to be there, Dr. Crompton's lab blows up, getting a funny slime all over himself and some on Suzanna.
Dr. Crompton, usually very reserved and focused, cannot stop thinking about Suzanna. Furthermore, because of the nature of his experiments, Suzanna is put in danger by her involvement at the scene of the crime. He finds himself wanting to protect her. She accepts his offer out of fear for her life, against the better judgment of her "Uncle" Vinnie who has been there for her since her parents died. But she insists that Dr. Crompton not call her "girl." They drive to his secret cabin, on the run from those who want Dr. Crompton's data and also those who tried to kill him in his lab. At this point, Dr. Crompton realizes that he has acquired mysterious super hero powers that allow him to be invisible during certain hours and blow cars to cinders with his eyes. He suspects it is from the green slime, residue from his experiments on bi-level molecular transfer.
As Daniel and Suzanna spend more and more time together, they realize they are falling in love. Suzanna, as independent as she is, wants "a partnership, true love, happy ever after, all that stupid, preprogrammed, fairy-tale stuff that she'd resisted all her life. And she wanted it with Daniel Crompton" (164). Daniel, too, realizes that he loves her and wants to marry her-if they get out alive. After some dangerous encounters with his enemies, they arrive safely home. In the epilogue, Daniel has retired from experimenting and they have two beautiful children (247). [Nancy Drew references: 5, 7, 8; Fairy tale reference" 164.] For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Anne Stuart under Modern Fiction.
Luanne Evans met Prince Aleksander Vlastos when she was twenty-one. He was impressed with her directness, intelligence, and spirit (17) and she was pretty without makeup (16). She feels that she was always a misfit (46) and "plain old trailer trash" (49), however. After their one-night stand, Luanne gets pregnant. Not knowing his identity or a way to contact him and realizing that "happily ever afters don't come from one night stands," (52), she marries a long-time friend, Jeff, who raised the child, Chase, as his own.
Eleven years later, Aleksander learns of his child's existence, and comes to claim him as the heir to his country's throne. Luanne's husband recently died in a racing accident and she is still getting over her grief, not to mention adjusting to having another child on her own. When Aleksander shows up, she thinks it might be good for Chase to get away for a while. She agrees to go to Aleksander's country for a visit, so father and son can get to know each other. However, she is shocked at the size of his palace. She feels as though she was in a fairy tale (74) and asks, "Is this what Cinderella faced when she showed up at the ball?" (77).
As she and Alek get to know each other better, she compares the "real life" she had with Jeff to the "magic" she has with Alek (150). Alek's grandmother, Princess Ivana, realizes they are in love and tries to bring them together (166). Even Alek's subjects compare Luanne to his adored late mother (210). She works through her feelings of inadequacy, but then she realizes it was actually back home where she never really belonged (242). Luanne and Alek decide to marry, and she thinks at the end, "Who needs magic when reality was this dang wonderful?" (248). [Cinderella reference: 77.] For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Karen Templeton under Modern Fiction.
Clea Mallory is a successful model in London, far from her ugly duckling origins. Once the awkward, chubby adolescent Patti Donovan, she had not forgotten her brother's handsome friend Matt Highland's cruel words to her so long ago. Now she is ready to prove to him, and to herself, that she is a beautiful, successful model. She wants revenge. She would lure him into her beauty, then trample on his feelings as he had done to her so long ago. After running into him at the opening of his newest hotel, she agrees to go out with him, and for several weeks they date. Problems start happening when they enjoy each other's company a little too much. Matt seems to defy every preconceived notion she had about him. He resents her preoccupation with her looks, making snide remarks about how she must get home before midnight every night for her beauty sleep or she will turn into a pumpkin. He becomes furious when she starts advising his sister on makeup techniques.
Clea becomes friends with Matt's sister, and begins to feel guilty about her deceptive plan. Clea agrees to go to Matt's secluded cottage for a week's vacation. They fight, and he throws almost all the pieces of her makeup collection into the fire. He questions her, asking if she can recognize herself under all that makeup. Who are you? he asks (131). She does not speak to him for two days and is embarrassed about her unmade-up face. Strangely, he thinks her more beautiful than before, yet she feels her most vulnerable. She is afraid he will recognize her as her old ugly self, Patti Donovan. Gradually she gives in to his love and recognizes that she is beautiful without makeup. She realizes when she set the trap for Matt, the only thing she caught was herself. "Matt had given her a gift more wonderful than anything a fairy godmother could bring, he had driven away those lingering doubts and given her confidence in herself" (165).
She realizes she is pregnant, but when she is about to tell Matt, he happens to see an old picture of herself with her brother. He is furious with her and himself for being so cruel, and runs off. A week later he comes back, apologizes, and proposes marriage. The novel ends "as all true fairy stories should end..." (187): they live happily ever after. [Cinderella references: 31, 69, 107; Makeup, masks and appearance: 17, 76, 82, 104, 116, 118, 130, 136]. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Kate Walker under Modern Fiction.
Maggie Rice, pregnant and struggling for money as a waitress, meets Del Rogers when she waits on him at the café where she works. Del is a secret agent who works a few blocks away. From the minimal interaction he has had with Maggie, he admires her spirit, courage, and the way she always has a smile. She is genuine and caring, and not bitter toward the man who left her (19). Del happens to be there when Maggie goes into labor and ends up delivering her baby (18). She names her daughter "Delilah," after Del, and he feels a connection and responsibility toward both of them. He knows, however, that his work is not conducive to having a family, and he deals with some conflicting emotions, especially since his ex-fiancée left him because he could not have children (43). Del starts to spend more time with Maggie at the hospital and then at her apartment, first doing favors for her, but then because he starts getting attached to both Maggie and Delilah. Their attraction for each other grows. "She wasn't any svelte model-thin waif. No, she was all woman. Beautiful. Ripe. Desirable" (70), but he has too much respect for her to take advantage of her condition. He thinks she is special; she thinks she is ordinary (115). He even thinks she looks beautiful in the morning, without makeup (176).
As Maggie asks questions about his work, Del must start lying, something he is not proud of, but is necessary. He feels bad about it and starts comparing himself to Alan, the man who left Maggie. Both men tell lies and keep things from Maggie, and eventually, both have the same affect on her. Lies diminish the relationship (167). She knows she would be fine on her own, but she does not want to be (184). When Maggie confesses her love for Del, he runs away. She thinks, "Well, what had she expected? A fairy-tale ending? Midnight had come and gone. The ball was over. Time to return to the pumpkin reality of diapers and spit-up stains" (196).
Del gets called to a dangerous assignment, but he cannot concentrate. Later, he goes back to Maggie's apartment, only to have his enemy follow him and take her and Delilah hostage. Wounded and frightened, Del does everything in his power to keep Maggie and her baby safe. He succeeds, although Maggie goes into shock for a few days. Del does not leave her side. When she awakens, he confesses his secret life to Maggie and his undying love, as well as the fact that he cannot have children. She loves him no matter what and promises to adopt children. In the epilogue, they live in the perfect fairy tale cottage (241) and are absolutely happy with baby Delilah and their new adopted six-year-old son. [Knight in shining armor references: 37, 89, 197; Fairy tale reference: 196, 241.] For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Ingrid Weaver under Modern Fiction.
Cindy Rawlins is a shoe saleswoman in her town, Madronna Beach, CA. She works a second job as a waitress, to save enough money for veterinary school. When she fears losing her job after she lost a $300 shoe, she places an ad in her paper, describing the shoe and asking that any information be directed to "Cinderella." Wealthy businessman, Parker Stevens, just happens to come into the store around the same time, and immediately finds Cindy attractive. Cindy is "something that stirred the ashes of his own belief for happiness" (110).
However, Cindy is different from the other women he has dated. She is stubbornly independent (21), saving animals in distress, and working hard for what she has. The missing shoe does not fit her; actually it fits her handicapped friend Marissa (66). Cindy does not know how attractive she is either (105). She is impressed because Parker is thoughtful, considerate of others, and helps where he can-all ingrained character traits, and not things he thinks about (153). But, her extreme fear of dependency (154, 158) and his own previous bad experience cause them some problems in their fledgling relationship. Coincidentally, Cindy's best friend, Marissa, and Parker's friend, Tom, also meet and fell in love and help to steer Cindy and Parker's relationship in the right direction.
Parker urges her to reconcile with her mother, and Cindy visits her old house (116). Where Cindy feels she has lost her innocence, her belief in the world, Parker gives it back (196). They have an all or nothing kind of relationship (198) and need each other equally (224). The novel ends with a wedding. [Fairy tales reference: 70; Santa Claus: 147]. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Kathleen Webb under Modern Fiction.
Jake Masters moves to a new town to rid himself of his past. But on the first day of his daughter's preschool, he gets into an accident at his new ranch and is knocked unconscious. Next thing he knows, he is looking up at his daughter's preschool teacher, Sarah Anderson, who rescues him and takes him to the hospital (17). Since he knows no one in his new town, she offers to take care of his daughter, Nikki, while he is in the hospital. He agrees, but insists on paying her for her services.
The arrangement is extended when he still needs someone to help him take care of Nikki. Sarah agrees to stay on, but does not expect to feel the way she does about Jake. They have a "gravitational pull" between them (59). He is drawn by her presence, her strong face, determination and inviting eyes (34), very different from his beautiful but selfish late wife (58, 101). But Sarah is a plain Jane (13). As a girl, her mother always tried to make her over (52) and made her feel inadequate (84). Sarah thinks Jake's attraction to her is because she is "plain enough to be safe" (114). She tells Nikki an original fairy tale at bedtime about a plain girl instead of a beautiful heroine (47).
When she gets a new haircut, wears her contacts and a little makeup (153), she blossoms before his eyes (161). Because of her newfound confidence, not because of her new look, Jake is finally able to convince her that she is a beautiful person. He helps her see through a "new pair of glasses" (166). After he hires a new nanny to take care of Nikki, Sarah goes home. They both think it is best for Nikki's transition if Sarah does not see her anymore. But Nikki refuses to eat or sleep without Sarah, and truthfully, Jake cannot eat or sleep either. He eventually asks Sarah back, not as the nanny, but as his wife. [Ugly duckling reference: 129; Fairy tale references: 47, 114]. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Robin Wells under Modern Fiction.
Charlotte Taylor and Gabe Donofrio have been best friends for as long as they can remember. Gabe considers Charlotte just one of the guys and even brings her to a bachelor party (204). She knows that she is about as "sparkling and mysterious as a glass of milk," compared to her beautiful and sophisticated friends (208). She tries to convince everyone she is single by choice and "that was the lie she was swearing to" (212). After a sarcastic discussion about The Guide, a book on how to win a man in one year, Gabe makes a bet with her that she could not be Mrs. Right in one year (210). Charlotte takes him on, increasing the bet to one thousand dollars and one month to turn herself into a wife. However, she is also kind of hurt that Gabe finds her so unattractive that she could not win a man's heart (220).
At eight the next morning, Charlotte's friend Dana comes over to help with her transformation (216). Dana tells her that her days of hiding are over (218) and has a compressive "beauty agenda" lined up (220). The same day she meets the handsome Jack Landor. She buys a brand new red dress for her date with him. The date goes well, although she says she "barely recognizes herself lately" (246). Jack is impressed with her honesty (248). Then she sees Gabe with a blonde bimbo across the restaurant. She thinks, "So Gabe was into women who proved there was better living through plastic enhancement" (249). Like a jealous girlfriend, Charlotte begins to act seductively toward her date, hoping Gabe will notice. Gabe cannot take his eyes off of Charlotte. He had never looked at her as a woman before, and "the proof of her transformation hit him in the face like a slap" (273). She looks so happy and vibrant. But he knows he cannot take advantage of their friendship, and he vows not to touch her.
She goes out with Jack a few more times, once to a society event where she wears her red dress when everyone else is wearing black-and-white. Instead of being embarrassed, however, she acts confident and gets complimented. One woman says she looks like "Grace Kelly does Versace" or "Audrey Hepburn does Vera Wang" (285). It was the first time in her life that she felt beautiful (291). Marriage, family and happily ever after were becoming real possibilities (317). Soon Charlotte realizes she has no chemistry with Jack. She gives in to her intense attraction to Gabe and they spent the night together. Gabe gets scared, thinking he will lose the one woman who means anything to him. Charlotte does not understand and gets angry. Eventually Gabe's friends help him to see his mistake and he proposes to Charlotte. She knows now that "he may have shown her how special she was, but he didn't make her special. She's special all on her own" (362). [Pygmalion reference: 232; Pandora's box: 295; Tarzan and Jane reference: 328.] For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Cathy Yardley under Modern Fiction.
Ella McCloskey, orphaned as a child and forced to live with her wicked stepmother, thinks it a dream come true when millionaire rancher Mac Brubaker, her employer, falls in love with her. She is proud not vain, gentle, has inner strength, and is sweet and spunky (12). He insists that they marry right away. But the day after their secret wedding, Ella overhears a private conversation between Mac's parents and some friends. They are making arrangements for the friends' daughter to spend the summer at their ranch, with the intention of getting her and Mac to marry. Ella is overwhelmed by the huge gap in social standing between herself and the Brubakers. Although she is beautiful, she has a simple, impoverished and plain background (41). She runs away, leaving only a bedroom slipper behind.
Mac hires a private investigator who spends months tracking Ella down. When they finally find her, she is working at a diner in a remote town under an assumed name (70), and she is pregnant. Mac demands answers as to why she broke his heart, but she goes into labor before she can reply. Furious with each other and frustrated by their inability to understand each other's motives, Mac refuses to let her go this time. He buys the diner and spends weeks taking care of Ella and their new baby to prove his devotion. At the end, they go home to his parents, who are supportive of the marriage and appalled at the misunderstanding they caused. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Carolyn Zane under Modern Fiction.
PRECURSORS TO THE HARLEQUIN ROMANCE:
Jane Judd has "a taste for books and a consuming ambition to write them" (12), although she has never told anyone but her mother about her dream. After her parents die, she goes to New York looking for work as a writer. One editor gives her advice: to read as much as possible and write every day and not to come back until she has something good (13). She gets a job as a general housekeeper in Jerry Paxton's art studio to support herself, and she has been there for the last five years. Jerry thinks she is too silent (7), that "she's like steel, clean cut, shining, efficient, silent, unbreakable" (9). When he gets into a bind because an actress drops out of the Pageant of the Prophets, an acting spectacle which the rich and influential Mrs. Abercrombie Brendon hires him to put on. He asks the ever-dependable Jane to fill in (30). Bobs, a female artist friend of his, helps transform Jane's hair and makeup and dresses her in the costume. When Jane makes a literary reference to the situation, Bobs says, "Oh my word...Cinderella quoting Oscar Wilde to her fairy godmother!" (31). After seeing this plain woman transformed into a radiant beauty, Jerry feels like he has never looked at her before (32). Everyone raves about her performance, including the well-known critic, Martin Christiansen, who is in the audience. When he speaks to her afterwards, she surprises herself by telling him about her dream of writing (41). But, in the morning, she returns to being "plain Jane Judd" (43). She tells Bobs, "It's better for me to be plain...I like to be inconspicuous" (45).
When she runs into Martin again, they make a "compact of friendship" that they will freely give and take from each other (50). She shows him her writing and he helps her with it. He tells her she is "destined to write," but that she reads too much and lives too little (79). She begins to take a class at NYU, a historic study of women, and she realizes that she would like to have a husband and children (87). When Jerry proposes to her at the spur of the moment, she accepts, remembering Martin's advice about how she should start living (92). Jerry merely wants to protect himself from the many women that always seem to surround him. She refers to it as a "business arrangement" (94). After their marriage, they argue over the issue of an allowance. She explains calmly that an allowance is "the difference between my being a self-respecting partner, or a dependent" (102), that she "must be independent" (103) and if he does not agree, she will resume working to keep her financial independence. Jerry reluctantly agrees, but not because he recognizes her equality (105). When she dresses for a party later on, she feels as if she looks like a different person. Jerry remarks, "Good Lord!...I believe you are a beauty and you've been keeping it to yourself all the time" (104).
Jane turns out to be Jerry's ideal wife-it seems everyone loves and admires the new outgoing Jane. She is beautiful and spirited, and Jerry tells her she has come to life (197). As their marriage goes on, however, he starts to get the feeling that she is more complex than he thought (131). He says, "No use making any plans for Jane. She makes and breaks her own" (132). She keeps renting her old room where she used to live, and she goes there to read and write every morning, although Jerry does not know. When she has their baby, she asks Jerry to help out in the mornings, so she can have some personal time. Jerry, who does not believe in women's rights, reluctantly agrees, since he does not go to the studio until later anyhow, but still maintains that he is doing women's work (191). He watches her in all her roles and notes that she always maintains an "independent aloofness" (207). When she hears her book has been accepted for publication, she ecstatically tells Jerry, but it only sparks an argument. She says, "I believe in myself" (229) and argues that it is her right to share joint expenses with her earnings (234).
When Martin confesses his love for Jane, she is very confused. To make matters worse, Jerry walks in right at that very moment. He has always been jealous of his wife's intellectual intimacy with Martin, but now he is infuriated (263). After a while, he agrees to let Jane get away to make her decision. He realizes that, although he does not understand her, "it is her right to see it through her own way" (273). He realizes what frightens him is that "Jane was so sure, so true to herself" (282). As Jane contemplates divorce from her loveless marriage, their son becomes very ill. She is sick with worry. After he recovers, Jerry confesses his true love for her, and she realizes that she cannot walk away from her family. [Cinderella references: 31, 42, 56, 254; Fairy tale references: 172; Women's Suffrage Movement and equality references: 85, 93, 102, 105, 113, 227, 234.] For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Marjorie Benton Cooke under Modern Fiction.
Marilla, an orphan, works as a companion to Mrs. Borden's baby twins. Marilla is only twelve years old, but she has elaborate dreams about fairy land and being Cinderella, dancing with the Prince at the ball (5). In her dream, her beautiful fairy godmother tells her, "'You mustn't lose faith in fairy godmothers" (16). She wakes up just before midnight. When she gets sick, in her delirium, she confides her dream to her doctor and the family she works for. They nickname her "Cinderella." When Miss Armitage, a thirty-seven-year old woman who has never been married and wants a daughter of her own, offers to take Marilla while she recovers, Marilla asks her, "Are you a fairy godmother?" (73). Miss Armitage has progressive views on what should be taught to children. She says, "[T]he girls ought to be educated up to better ideas of marriage" (84).
Soon Marilla becomes as dear to Miss Armitage as a daughter. Miss Armitage and Doctor Richards think Marilla has a better command of language than most children her age (98); she is a very unusual child (100). Doctor Richards also wants a daughter, one just like Marilla (129). Marilla is grateful for their love. She says, "I'm so glad you love me. For I never shall be like the girls who have pretty homes and parents to love them. But you'll be the fairy godmother always, won't you?" (189). But alas, Marilla must go back to looking after Mrs. Borden's twins, even though she is in weak condition.
When it is found out that Marilla is an heiress to a small inheritance, arrangements must be made for her legal custodian. Doctor Richards volunteers, and he adopts her as well (281). Marilla is very excited, but even more so when Doctor Richards proposes to Miss Armitage-now they can be the family she always wanted: "It was not the tie of kindred blood, but that divine immortal kindred of love, and as he clasped his arms about them both they were Father, Mother and Child" (297). [Cinderella references: 5, 22, 61, 82, 95, 133, 169, 289, 296; Fairy godmother references: 16, 73, 184, 243]. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Amanda Douglas under Modern Fiction.
Consuelo Brand, a poor orphan and nursemaid to her cousin's children, describes herself and her friend Anne as "the only ugly ducklings in this dazzling array of swans" (1) when they spend a day in a park. She admires her friend for being "not one whit depressed" (1) by that fact, as well as her belief in the world (2) and says, "This lack of self-consciousness struck me as scarcely short of greatness...It was almost above the level of the feminine, and far above the level of the Me" (1). When Anne tells her that she is "different," that she is really a beauty (3), Con jokes about how she can be her fairy godmother and to please turn her into a "beauteous maiden in pink muslin" (3). Lady Sophie de Gretton overhears their conversation and quite unexpectedly offers to have Con as her guest for several weeks; she wants her to try her out as a fairy godmother (5). Con welcomes this transformation (12) and also the ability to get away from her slave-driving cousin's "charity."
Lady Sophie plans to present her to society just as she would a rich heiress, simply because she wants a "new doll" to play with (10). She immediately makes preparations to turn "the prettiest of Cinderellas into a princess" (97) with her "wand," her purse (98). In the chapter entitled "I Understudy Cinderella" (93), Con, who now goes by "Consuelo," attends Lady Dunbar's ball, where she meets Sir George Seaforth once again. The first two times they met, he had rescued her from bad situations. She thinks him handsome (20). Everyone finds her very beautiful, uncommonly fresh and original, and bewitching (136)-except for Lady Dunbar, who has mysterious reasons for hating Consuelo, as well as her daughter Diana, who is jealous of Sir George's attention toward Consuelo. Diana tries several times to thwart Consuelo's position in society, including hiring a singer to sing an offensive song about Cinderella, pointedly toward Consuelo (182).
Consuelo finds Diana looking through the drawers of her late mother's lost escritoire, which Sir George had found and given back to Consuelo as a present. Consuelo suspects that Diana is looking for a secret compartment for papers which may prove something damaging about Diana's family, and which, for some reason, are hidden in Consuelo's mother's old desk. She tells Diana, "You are the villain of my story; but I am not such a poor toy" (218). Then Diana reveals that Sir George had talked Lady Sophie into transforming Consuelo to win a bet with two of his friends about what makes a woman deemed beautiful in society. Con confronts Lady Sophie, who admits to the original reason, but also pleads with Con, telling her they all love her and that Sir George is now head over heels for her (233). Con only feels hurt and anger, and she runs away at midnight (236). She says, "My vanity was in dust and ashes now" (248).
She sells a ring Lady Sophie had given her to buy a train ticket and stays at a boarding house for a while until she finds a position at the haunted Arrish Hall under an assumed name (259). "Here the Sleeping Beauty might have lain for her century of charmed slumber, I somewhat sentimentally told myself, enmeshed by fairy barriers, hidden from the world" (261). Her new employer, however, is not who she thought he was and is actually an agent for the Dunbars. He drugs her one night and comes looking for the papers he thinks she has on her. She awakens and runs down a secret passage, into Sir George's arms. He has finally located her and come to rescue her. He nurses her back to health for six weeks. When she is well again, he and Lady Sophie explain to her the truth about her parents, found in the papers in the escritoire, that her father was a Dunbar and legally she should inherit their wealth. But all she cares about is that Sir George loves her and wants to marry her. [Cinderella references: 97, 146, 182 ; Fairy tale references: 135, 261; Fairy godmother references: 3, 5, 9.]
When Jonathan Leigh, an aristocratic member of the Philadelphia elite, married an opera singer, his sister Chloe never forgave him. After his wife's tragic accident, a bitter and jealous Chloe switched Jonathan's infant daughter Muriel with an orphaned French baby of the ancient Leigh line, to preserve the integrity of the Leigh name. She did, however, provide a loving home for the real baby Leigh, with the small town Jamisons, and kept in touch yearly.
Years later, after Jonathan Leigh's death, the lawyers for Leigh family were puzzled over his will. Jonathan specifically left his estate to his "rightful" daughter and left a footprint from the real Muriel's birth, as well as the address of the Jamisons. Barney Avery, son of Douglas Avery, the Leigh lawyer, sets off to see the Jamisons and their daughter Janet. Barney muses that Janet is a "country Cinderella." In the meantime, the imposter Muriel, a spoiled, snobby and withdrawn girl, and Chloe are planning Muriel's upcoming marriage to Prince Rupert of Sabria.
As Barney gets to know Janet Jamison, he falls in love with her, admiring her refreshing innocence and honesty, qualities he does not find in the Philadelphia elite. He then regrets telling her what he came for, because once he tells her the real reason for his visit, she will think he has pursued her for her impending fortune. Once Chloe realizes what is going on, she becomes afraid that the Duke of Sabria will harm Janet so that the marriage to the Prince will go as planned without scandal. Chloe goes to the Jamisons with a story about a meager inheritance and takes Janet to the Leigh mansion to keep her safe from harm. She might be a kidnapper, but she is no murderer. After a few bewildering days at the Leigh mansion, both Janet and Muriel begin to wonder what is going on.
When the secret is out, Janet is hurt and mistrustful of Barney, and Muriel is furious with Chloe. There is a huge argument, and nobody knows what to do. All they know is that Janet is the real Muriel and will inherit the Leigh fortune. But she really does not care about the fortune at all. She offers half of it to Muriel and wants to keep the whole thing quiet. In the end, everything works out- Muriel marries the Prince and Janet marries her prince, Barney Avery. [Cinderella references: 56, 83, 79]. For Flyleaf and/or Back Cover description, see Philip Wylie under Modern Fiction.