Wickedly Charming by Kristine Grayson
Sourcebooks Casablanca (March 2011)
Paperback, 352 Pages
This is an imaginative and fun take on a fairytale. Our two main characters are Charming, the Prince Charming of Cinderella fame. Who is now a beleaguered father of two, middle aged and bespectacled. Who has reinvented himself in the Greater World as a bookseller and renamed himself Dave. He is also the father of two girls who have been abandoned by their selfish mother and Charming’s ex Ella. Our heroine is Mellie, Snow White’s evil stepmother, who is on a campaign to clear her name and that of other evil stepmother, because it certainly wasn’t her that fed Snow the poisoned apple!
The book starts off with Charming at a book fair, because he is a total book geek and runs his own book store (personally I don’t see anything wrong with this!), where Mellie is campaigning against the misrepresentation of fairy tale characters in novels. Sparks fly as Charming is horrified at Mellie’s wish to censor fiction. The pair are like chalk and cheese with Charming quietly bookish, although gifted of course with magical charm, and Mellie outspoken, yet insecure all at the same time. It’s not long before Charming convinces Mellie there maybe a very different approach to improving the perception of wicked step mothers, after all look at vampires – everyone loves them now! Cue an unlikely partnership.
As a lover of happy endings and fairytales, I did have to get over the fact that Prince Charming and Cinderella are divorced, but not only that but Cinderella is the baddie. The horror!
This isn’t a hot and sizzling romance, more like a warm and fuzzy one, or a hot chocolate with marshmallows floating on the top. But I wouldn’t say there were lots of sizzle and sparks and the love story itself is a slow burner.
The pace of the book is also sedate. I liked the world creation of the Greater World (our human world) and the magical kingdoms where fairytale characters really exist in separate kingdoms. The story is however, slow moving at times. There are some really witty scenes, a fab coffee shop sequence springs to mind and there are some parts that unfortunately dragged. Which meant the overall flow of the book could have done with a bit more speed and a little less detail. For example, we meet some characters briefly, never to see them again.
This is the first book I have read by Grayson, but I’ve since discovered she has written a series of these fairy tale adaptations. While I enjoyed the story and its gentle chiding at fairytales, I probably wouldn’t want to read lots of them. But perhaps that is more to do with my love of fairytales and happily ever after, than a criticism of the writing, because I did enjoy it never the less.
A fun take on what happens after happily ever after with our favourite and not so favourite fairytale characters. A gentle love story that will probably appeal to people who like less spicy romances.
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