Author- Madina Papadopoulos
We all love Cinderella. With the splendid and elegant gown, custom-made glass slippers, getting married to a prince and all the royalty that follows after that, who wouldn’t love Cinderella and wish to be her ? But let’s take a break from the Disney version, enter the real world and give a more humanly touch to the story. What’s even great is that Madina Papadopoulos has already done that for us in her novel, ” The Step-Spinsters”.
The story is set up in Medieval France where Cinderella lives with her step mother, Isabelle and her two step sisters – Fredegonde and Jovette who are lovingly called Freddie, who has big feet and bad singing voice and Votte, who has small feet and a smelly breathe. The story comes with a twist because Isabelle, Freddie and Votte are not cruel to Cinderella but neither exists a sweet family bond. Freddie is a smart and intelligent woman who ensures the proper running of their family estate; Votte makes beautiful tapestries and Cinderella is busy being beautiful and kind. Just like the original story, Cinderella fits into her glass shoes and is set to marry the Count Galant, son of Duke Lou.
The fairy god mother comes to help Cinderella on the night of the ball and she comes again to help Freddie and Votte but the fairy has her own price. She wants the key around the neck of Duke Lou.
The story is interesting because of the mystery of key around Duke’s neck, Cinderella’s affair with a Knight ( yes !!!!, an affair!!!) , Freddie’s plan to marry Duke and her affair with a troubadour and the ending of all of this is going to shock you all. You also get to read a lot of beautiful songs and poems that the characters sing.
The best character that I feel is Freddie who strives to achieve perfection in her work and yearns to be independent but unfortunately has to marry someone to keep her estate because the state law does not allow women with no male head in the family to keep it. She is no-nonsense kind of person, sticks to her routine and treats her workers in a dignified manner. She doesn’t want to be pampered by her lover but wants to stand at his side and hold the same power as him.
The book gives us a view of what all human greed and lust for power can make us do and the big price we have to pay for it. Love is too underrated in the present world. Every one is running after money and power. May be this story will make people realize , how difficult it is to live without love instead of learning it the hard way.
This is not your “happily ever after” fairy tale but “welcome to the real world” kind of story. Apart from kindness, our Cinderella also possess in herself other humanly traits like jealousy, love based on good looks, and selfishness . A bunch of interesting characters with their own flaws will teach you a lot of things but most importantly that life is not a fairy tale and there is a price for every want of yours.
Stars – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
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