Author: Jude Devereaux
Genre: Fantasy romance
My rating (10 max) : 9.8
I have not previously read Jude Devereaux. Definitely, my loss. Her book, Wishes, was a delightful take-off on the Cinderella story. I've seen and read any number of these type stories and usually enjoy them for what they are, copies.
Wishes has a heroine, Nellie, who is over-worked and under-appreciated by her ungrateful family. But, unlike the fairytale princess-to-be, Nellie is overweight. She has a beautiful face, a sweet personality, and a kind heart. She loves her manipulative, abusive sister and never sees her for the vicious user she is; nor does she see her father, who substitutes for the wicked stepmother, as the penny-pinching, verbally abusive, slave master that he is. The book begins and ends with her ever-faithful love for the reprehensible pair.
The story mostly takes place in Chandler, Colorado in 1896. Jace Montgomery, our stand-in for Prince Charming, comes to Nellie's to be interviewed by her father for a job in his shipping company. He arrives an hour early so that he can meet the beautiful daughter that Charles Grayson had been touting. Jace wanted to meet Grayson's paragon of virtue and when he meets Nellie, he instantly falls in love with her. The problem is, Grayson never mentioned having two daughters. He wants to marry his youngest daughter, Terel, to the undercover shipping heir. She is the only daughter he ever talks about.
One misadventure after another, usually conducted by Terel, causes almost terminal problems to the relationship between Jace and Nellie.
Jace is not the usual princely type. He adores Nellie, but he is jealous and has a bad temper. He almost loses his would-be bride because he isn't aggressive enough in his pursuit.
As in most Cinderella stories, there is a stand-in fairy godmother, Berni. The book begins at Berni's funeral. Yes, funeral. I almost shelved the book, but I'm glad I didn't. It turns out that Berni's stint as Nellie's fairy godmother is part one of her redemption on her path to heaven.
I loved this book. I'm a sucker for Cinderella stories, but this one was unusual and special. It could have dipped into cliche after cliche, but it didn't. Its unique takes on the familiar story are endearing. A good love story with a fair dose of magic is always enjoyable.
It is an absolutely wonderful book with absolutely wonderful characters.
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