Author: Elizabeth Lim
Narrator: Esther Wane
Audiobook Run Time: 9 hours and 7 minutes
What if Cinderella never tried on the glass slipper?
Unable to prove that she’s the missing princess, and unable to bear life under Lady Tremaine any longer, Cinderella starts work at the palace as a seamstress. However, when Cinderella finds herself witness to a grand conspiracy to take the king – and the prince – out of power, she is faced with questions of love and loyalty to the kingdom.
Cinderella must find a way to stop the villains of past and present… before it’s too late.
Twisted Tales Series
So this is Love is the ninth novel in the Twisted Tales series that retells the story of Cinderella. Each novel in the series can be read as a standalone, so readers, like myself, can read them in any order or pick and choose the ones they want to read. The story follows Cinderella after the ball where the prince is set on finding the owner of the glass slipper left behind. In this story the prince is named Charles compared to the unknown name in the animated version; however, Disney France advertised his original name as Henry, which is what I always thought was the official name. The main twist in the story comes when Cinderella misses her chance to try on the slipper to prove that she is the girl from the ball. Instead, Lady Tremaine finds out and decides the best course of action is to sell Cinderella and send her far away. When Cinderella learns of this plan, she escapes and ends up as a maid at the castle for Charming’s aunt.
There are multiple plots working together in this story as Cinderella finds that there is more going on in the palace than meets the eye plus there is the fact that magic is outlawed, and she has to keep her fairy godmother secret along with the main desire for her to reunite with the prince. Lady Tremaine and her daughters are still the familiar characters from the animated version where their only goal is to move up in society and potentially have one of the daughters marry the prince. Their relationships remain the same with Cinderella in this version and I enjoyed that the author kept this part similar as there is a lot going on in the story and adding one more could have muddled the flow. Cinderella as a character remains a recognizable version of the animated tale while being given a little more dimension and backstory. She still comes off as naïve at times, but she is trying her best to learn along the way. Charles is where the author really expanded as the prince is given a lot of dimensions. The ball took place after the prince was away at university and has now returned. During his absence, he learned a lot about politics and ruling a kingdom which gives some complexity to his character as he is given motivation to make himself a better ruler compared to the unknown elements of his animated version.
There are many things in this story that seem too convenient or work themselves out too seamlessly, but this added some fairy tale like elements where it could happen. I liked that Lim introduced a new villain to the story compared to keeping the focus on the Tremaine family. They are still featured and their relationship with Cinderella is still complex, but it is not the main “battle” between the characters. I agree with many readers where the writing seems more middle grade at times compared to young adult, but I have come to not mind it in this series. I enjoy where the twist took place in this story as it took the animated original movie and places it in a new direction. In this pivotal moment, it reminded me of Cinderella III which begins in a similar way where Cinderella did not prove herself as the girl with the glass slipper and I loved that the prince had a similar likability in this novel that I enjoyed in that movie. Overall, this was an excellent addition to the Twisted Tales series and I look forward to reading more from the author and in the series in the future!