The girl, Cendrillon, and the boy, Raoul, pass sixteen years in the servants' care until one day a very fine lady arrives with her two daughters. The lady has married Cendrillon's father, and her arrival changes their lives.
When an invitation to a great ball reaches the family, Cendrillon's new stepmother will make a decision with far-reaching effects. Her choice will lead Cendrillon and Raoul toward their destiny -- a choice that will challenge their understanding of family, test their loyalty and courage, and, ultimately, teach them who they are.
In my “papers” somewhere or other there is a very long, very rambling, and very enthusiastic review for this story... But it simply wouldn’t do.
Because that’s not quite the story. Not that I don’t feel rambling and enthusiastic about it, but the beauty of this story (and the other books in this series that I have read so far for that matter) is its fresh simplicity. Oh no, not simplicity of plot, that takes some breath-taking spins on the good-old fairy-tale. But they have a “moral” and the story spins out around it. For instance, this one focuses on the power of love. Not so much romantic love as the kind of love that grows strong even when there is no earthly way it could have grown there. Love that grows in forsaken places and transforms frozen wastes into places of abundant and pure beauty. Or sunflowers as the case may be: a flower I love and whose symbolism is stunningly beautiful in here.
It’s “Cinderella” with a twist completely opposite to the original, but that doesn’t weaken the center of the tale in the least. Cendrillon is forsaken and lonely... it’s just who she’s forsaken by (and who becomes her family). That, my friends, is my favorite part.
The end is perhaps a little rushed (as in, she only knew Certain People some twelve hours before she has Very Definite feelings for them), however that didn’t really bother me because of other people and happenings. Hence I thought it actually worked out quite adorably.
It is a golden, sunshiny, romantic tale to set your heart aglow on the coldest of days.