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Cinderella's Dress by Shonna Slayton
Being a teen-ager during World War II is tough. Finding out you're the next keeper of the real Cinderella's dress is even tougher.
Kate simply wants to create window displays at the department store where she's working, trying to help out with the war effort. But when long-lost relatives from Poland arrive with a steamer trunk they claim holds the Cinderella's dress, life...
Cinderella's Dress by Shonna Slayton
Being a teen-ager during World War II is tough. Finding out you're the next keeper of the real Cinderella's dress is even tougher.
Kate simply wants to create window displays at the department store where she's working, trying to help out with the war effort. But when long-lost relatives from Poland arrive with a steamer trunk they claim holds the Cinderella's dress, life gets complicated.
Now, with a father missing in action, her new sweetheart shipped off to boot camp, and her great aunt losing her wits, Kate has to unravel the mystery before it's too late.
After all, the descendants of the wicked stepsisters will stop at nothing to get what they think they deserve.
Posted June 11, 2014
I love a good fairy tale. Princess, magic, romance... they're my favorite. It's what drew me to this book when I received an email from Entangled Publishing requesting reviewers. The opportunity to read a book that combines historical fiction with one of my favorite fairy tales? Count me in.
This book had a great premise, but I do think it could have been carried out better. It took a long time to get to the action. Yeah, we needed backstory - but I felt like the backstory was too drawn out and Slayton spent too many pages rehashing things that she had already told us. I found myself getting bored - something I did not expect going into this book. Along with that, it was super hard to follow the passing of time. Slayton does provide us with a date in the beginning, but she doesn't keep us updated with when each chapter is taking place. At one point, I honestly felt that several years had gone by, but in reality, I don't think that this story could have spanned more than two. I also thought that Kate had graduated from high school (and was also wondering when this had happened, since the fact was never mentioned), and then she and Josie started talking about prom. I found myself re-reading some parts several times, because sometimes, characters would appear with little to no introduction and I didn't understand how they'd gotten there. Basically, Slayton skimps on details that help give the reader a sense of direction - and it led to me feeling lost frequently.
I did really enjoy how Slayton developed Johnny and Kate's relationship. There was absolutely no insta-love; instead, their relationship was drawn out with careful detail. They had their struggles, but they overcame them. They got to know each other beyond each other's physical attributes and truly fell for one another's personalities - a rarity in romance. I did feel that at times, Kate made unbelievably stupid decisions - not only in her love life, but in general - but somehow, everything worked out in the end and I liked her so much as a character that I was able to forgive her for this flaw.
One final critique - as much as I felt the beginning of this book was too drawn out, I felt that the ending was too abrupt. Is this book a part of a series? Because with the ending we got, it needs to be. There were too many loose strings. The Burgosovs are still out there and eventually, we all know they're going to want that dress back. And on the subject of the Burgosovs, I definitely feel that we should have met more of them than the two thugs. And the way that they came to an end was just way too perfect to really be believed. Also, do Kate and Johnny really end up together? I hope so, but I don't feel like that was really cemented, either.
Ultimately, this book had a fantastic premise, but I don't think that it was carried out quite as well as it could have been. I hope that there's a sequel, but if I were to read it, I'd want it to be a vast improvement on this one. Cinderella's Dress wasn't a terrible book to read - there were aspects of it that I actually quite enjoyed - but it most definitely could have been better.
Disclaimer: I received an advance review copy of this book from Entangled Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
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Posted November 12, 2014
I really enjoyed this book! The prologue pulled me in, and the unusual time and place of the story (a Cinderella book set in 1940s New York City?) made me want to know what happens next. The characters were interesting and real enough that sometimes I was ticked off at them. Then I would remind myself the main character is a teenage girl - acting like a teenage girl! Haha! I loved the best friend and the love interest, and I loved how Aunt Elsie was portrayed. And then the magic of the dress! Yes, my inner little girl was happy with the magic of a fairy tale come to life. :) If you like "what if fairy tales are real?" kinds of stories, you'll enjoy this one.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 3, 2014
As soon as I saw the beautiful cover and synopsis for Cinderella's Dress I knew that this was a book I had to read, but I felt that what could have been a spell-binding fairy tale style story fell short of delivering to its reader.
In essence this is less a story about the Dress than about war; Shonna Slayton reveals the impact of World War II upon American citizens, including those who have families fighting or MIA, and those who are left behind dealing with sexism, rationing and trying to survive. We also encounter the war over the dress, which becomes a symbol of hope, between the descendants of Cinderella, the Kolodenkos, and the family of her step-sisters, the Burgosovs.
Although Kate is the story's main character, I particularly loved Aldabert and Elsie, who introduce Kate to the legend of Cinderella's Dress. As the story develops we sadly see Elsie's dementia worsening, but in her periods of lucidity she becomes the narrator of the fantasy part of the story. Her husband, Aldabert struggles to take care of her; the most moving scene is when he plays her Prince Charming and as they dance she remembers his true identity. As the keeper of the Dress, Elsie wants Kate to succeed the role and she is given the package for safe-keeping. Under Kate's guardianship the true power of the garments are revealed and she too becomes involved in the mystery and the age-old battle to possess it.
At the beginning of the novel Shonna Slayton shares her narrative with letters from Kate's father and brother, but as the story progresses these disappear and though we are aware Kate's father is presumed dead, I missed the contact with Floyd and feel there was no resolution to this thread.
Kate's romance with Johnny Day is also poorly explored; one minute they are merely acquaintances, then supposed sweethearts, then not talking. If Kate had Facebook she would constantly be updating her relationship status!
Overall, Cinderella's Dress is an enjoyable novel, and though it lacks the depth I hoped for I think other fans of young adult will find it a refreshing change from the norm.
I received this as a complimentary review copy, but this has had no influence on my opinion.
Posted September 29, 2014
Posted September 7, 2014
I am being absolutely honest here when I say that I wanted Cinderella's Dress to turn out differently. It's not like I had high expectations for it. It was just the premise of this book that made me want to read it, despite all the mixed reviews. I can't believe that the book I read is the same one with the synopsis above. I was all in for a Cinderella retelling set during World War II. But honestly, none of those were very clear. I'm disappointed to add yet again another novel to the famous list of: a good premise, but a bad execution.
The first thing I noticed about Cinderella's Dress, was how long it actually took me to get through the entire thing. It has been a while, since I can't even remember when I started it. The book didn't have that many pages, but I never had any interest to continue. There was literally nothing to hold on to and because of that, way too easy to put down. To be honest, there were several moments when I felt the urge to stop reading and call it a DNF. Nothing happened besides the boring everyday life of an American girl writing letters and creating window displays.
The mystery that Slayton was trying to build up throughout the book did nothing for me, because there was little to none. The plot lines that were supposed to do the job and build up anticipation and secrecy, did nothing. Instead of being woven neatly together, they're more like loose strings that don't connect in any way. The promise fairy tale aspect of the book was also nowhere to be found. It was only the prologue that held a bit of that. It's not because Cinderella's dress was involved that it suddenly turns the story into a retelling. When it comes to plot twist, the only surprise I got was how disappointed I ended up being.
It's known from the first line of the synopsis already that the story takes place during World War II. If it weren't for the many references in this book to the War and the pointless letters, I wouldn't have noticed. While reading, there wasn't a moment when I believed I was reading a story set in in that time period. In my opinion Slayton clearly failed in creating an appropriate atmosphere. Even though the centre of the war was in Europe, I didn't think the American citizens didn't notice what was going on. The book portrays as if that was the case. There was way too little influence of the war on Kate's situation, because she lived her life as if she didn't even live in the forties. The book could have easily been set during the sixties or even modern times, because it wouldn't have made much difference. Research is the main key word when it comes to writing a historical novel, and I didn't feel like Slayton did enough research to completely capture the vibe of the war.
I can't even bring myself to talk about the flat and undeveloped characters. None of them develop throughout the entire novel and remain just the same as they were before. In normal cases it's usual for people to change, even just a little bit. Yet when it's during the Second World War and spread over a few years, it amazes me how none of them did. Kate in particular was one dull and flat character. Instead of making things happen, things happened to Kate. She was passive in so many ways and did absolutely nothing for the story but writing letters and complaining. When I started thinking about her, she reminded me more of the forties white girl than anyone else. Like the plot, this girl had interesting stuff about her, such as being a feminist and having a unique passion, that supposedly would make her interesting. Nothing of that happened. Setting that aside, you would at least expect me to have compassion for the characters and their loved ones overseas. I don't. I really don't.
The clichéd romance in this book left me with only a few words in mind: well, that escalated quickly. In the blink of an eye, they went from being strangers to opponents to friends to opponents to lovers, and all of that not even in entire first half of the novel. The development of their relationship suddenly went to insulting to writing letters, and the romance just jumped out of the blue. I didn't care for the rest of their relationship. It felt like yet again one of those forced romances, and I wasn't a fan.
What could have been a great retelling with an extraordinary setting compared to the story, ended up being a slow-paced book with a plot that seemed to head to nowhere and boring characters that did nothing good.
Posted June 18, 2014
Slayton's Cinderella's Dress is a lovely example of amazing concept, bad execution.
Go on, read the synopsis yourself. It's trivial how a book with so much promise can be so lacking. You have historical fiction, which I love, fairy tale elements, which I adore, and a hint of feminism. What's not to love?
Perhaps it was the high expectations I had going into Cinderella's Dress. However much I hate DNFing books I receive for review, reading this became such a chore that it was impossible not to put down.
I'm not normally one to complain about the personality of a character, but come on, Kate was a freaking pathetic protagonist. A majority of the stupid stuff she does in this book are so obviously used as a plot device and not as a characterization of the protagonist herself. I mean, when you have something like this:
"That shoe was brand-new!' Kate felt her eyes tear up. The shoes weren't even hers-she hadn't earned them. She blinked rapidly. With made-up eyes, she had to be careful, or all that mascara would run down her face."
How can you not face-palm? Insipid, seriously.
Then, you have the reason for which I requested this novel: the plot. Or lack thereof, I should say. The book starts off well enough, but as we delve deeper into the history of the dress, my expectations get lower and lower. The novel is extremely slow from the get-go and nothing truly happens for a bulk of the book (until my stopping point at 75%, in fact).
What irks me is that absolutely no development takes place in the span of the uneventful plot - it was pretty much Ms. Stupidity writing letters to her father and lover and roaming the streets complaining of her job-less life. With the amount of complaining that occurs, you'd think that I would feel a shred of sympathy for her - obviously, I don't. Also, yay for flat characters.
There wasn't anything terribly bad about the historical fiction aspect, which I think the author at least partially succeeded in, but the good stops there. The author fails in capturing the fairy-tale premise this book promises and writes of a curse (I think?) that was lackluster at the very least.
While I was not the biggest fan of Slayton's novel, I cannot bring myself to hate it; hence the two stars. I feel that the topic was genius but the author was too inexperienced to succeed in bringing it to life.
Thanks to Entangled Publishing for providing a copy for review.
-Summer @ MissFictional's World of YA Books
Posted June 10, 2014
I received a copy of this book from Entangled Teen (Entangled Publishing) in exchange for an unbiased review. No other consideration was offered, expected or received.
I love historical fiction - there is just something amazing about reading stories based in a time before I was born. I am not, however, a fan of romance, but … mixed in with historical fiction, it has its place … and I actually enjoy it. This book – not just historical fiction, not just a clean romance, but Cinderella. You mention Cinderella (or any of the other fairy tales that I love) and I.am.THERE – I am always amazed at the stories that people come up with based on the old classics.
Have you ever wondered what the rest of Cinderella’s story was? What happened to her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren…? Where her dress is now? That is what this story is about – and so much more. World War II, family, friends, teen love, window designs, modeling and fashion – it was so much to read.
This story was beautiful. The characters were ones that you wanted to know more about, that you grew close to, that you cheered for when they did good, worried about when they were harmed, hoped the best for when they were in trouble (fingers crossed and all).
I want to know more and, with the way that the story ended – and the fact that there are some things that happened in the story that never came to a conclusion – I really hope there is going to be a second book. The story only barely touched on the father’s disappearance, Cinderella’s step-sisters and the necklace, Kate’s brother is still overseas. I look forward to what comes next.
I loved this book enough to give it a 5, but chose to give it a 4 because of one big thing that I noticed but, after skimming other reviews, it seems to me that I am the only one who noticed. When Kate’s aunt began telling her the story of the dress, she did not know the English translation of Cinderella’s name. Even though the person reading the story knew it was Cinderella (based on the name of the book and the description), Kate did not. Yet, in the book, it is referred to as Cinderella’s dress (16% “Kate leaned forward, eager for a look. She held her breath, wondering what the Cinderella dress would look like.”) long before the translation was remembered by Elsie (21%”A young girl made to be servant, shoveling out cinders for her stepmother. Then she escapes to ball where she meets prince of the land. I found her English name. You call her Cinderella.”). This may not seem like a big deal to you, but to me it is HUGE. It gives away the story. I, as a reader, was anticipating this conversation between Kate and Elsie, and when the conversation finally happened, it didn’t have as much strength as it could have – as it should have.
On a side note, I also feel like the book description gave away too much and, at the same time, gave away misinformation and I really don’t like that. You see, when I read these (which is why I usually skim them or don’t read them at all) and you tell specific things that are going to happen, instead of enjoying the build up to the story, I … wait for those things to happen. And in this one, one of the things that it says – “her new sweetheart is shipped off to boot camp” – is untrue. They are not sweethearts. She is interested in him and there’s a possibility that he is interested in her, they write letters back and forth, but there is no anything really, other than friendship, until the end of the story. (Sorry that I gave this away for those of you reading this, but it was given away already.) Also, the disappearance of her father – why did that have to be shared in the description? I mean, I know you want to get people interested, but the disappearance would have had a lot more impact – just as Aunt Elsie “losing her wits” – if it had been left out of the book description so that the reader could find this out on their own as the story progressed.
Posted June 10, 2014
Kate just wants to find her own path in life. She is a teenager during World War II. She is surprised when relatives she didn't know about show up and she learns her family has a secret. They are the keepers of Cinderella's dress. Now it seems Kate is in line to be the next keeper. The stepsisters were real and their family still hunts for the dress. While Kate only wants to be a window creator in a mans world she begins to find out more about the dresses. She isn't sure if they are for real or just a story told to her. Someone believes in them and will stop at nothing to find the dress.
Kate doesn't want to do what her mother wants.Instead of being a model or actress she wants to be a girl who creates windows. She is alo a girl who says stuff before she thinks. Sometimes it makes her sound hateful and uncaring. She isn't used to telling a special someone how she feels and sometimes you just want to shake her to knock some sense into her. She also doesn't listen to the good voices in her head telling her she shouldn't do something.
I was surprised by this book. I was expecting a story based solely on Cinderella but this book isn't. Kate works, goes to school and grow up in this book. The author does a great job describing what women surely went through in this time period. Men are sent off to war and women step up to take care of their families by working. They worry over their loved ones sent away. I like the addition to the letters in this story. It lets you see the characters much better. I was fascinated by Cinderella's dress. It is a little mystery you try to figure out whether it is real or just a story. I like getting to know more as Kate does. She makes mistakes in the book but she isn't afraid to make them right even if she is in danger. This is a great book if you enjoy reading about different times and letting your imagination run wild. What if Cinderella was real? I like the author's take on this and look forward to more books by her.
Posted June 7, 2014
Katherine (Kate) Allen is a teenage model of polish descent living in New York City, during the WWII in spring 1944. We start off as Kate, due to her pushy mother, attempts in vain to grab into the acting realm.
While auditioning for a part in a movieeeee.......which goes disastrously might I add *snickers* XDD she meets a handsome young lad with gorgeous blue eyes! *swoons* I luuuvvv blue eyesss *fans face* And this charming young man turns out to be a 18 year old named Johnny Day, born into the rich New York upper class.
In Cinderella's Dress, the story of Cinderella is a real one (duuhh *grins*) Though her name was actually Queen Kopciuszek, a polish queen from long, long ago.
And Kate's family have been safeguarding Cinderella's dress for the Kolodenkos, the polish royalty, for many many years. But the Burgosov clan, the descendants of the evil-stepsisters, want the precious dress for themselves.
Tempers run high, shoes fly, dresses burn, and sparks and insults shoot around at will, but what will happen in the end?
Will Kate successfully safeguard the dresses from the Burgosov's clutches as the unofficial Keeper of the Wardrobe? Or will the dresses be lost on her watch?
Kate has a lack of self-confidence, which I suppose would kinda make sense if you're surrounded by all these more mature young glamorous models with more training. It's a sucky career to be in, since everything relies on looks, confidence, and poise. And apparently she only has the first *frowns*
Despite being a model for the company her mother works at, the Allen's have little money and this only extends the other models – in particular Fran Marshall — cruelty to Kate. (since apparently models don't have a nice bone in their skinny bodies o.O *sigh*)
Kate feels pressured by her mum to be a model, tho Kate only sees the weak model qualities she possesses; it doesn't help that everyone other than her mum (including herself), think she's incapable at proper modelling. Plus she doesn't really have any love for it.....not surprised, considering no one actually encourages her :/ Her mum just pushes her into it.
Also, people tend to treat her like a little girl who hasn't grown up and just walk all over her, and it's kinda getting on my nerves because she just lets it happen. Talk about low self-esteem.
“If the goat didn’t jump, she wouldn’t have broken her leg,” she whispered, a sense of dread creeping into her heart.
“But if goat did not jump, she would be having a miserable life,” added a voice behind her.”
We watch as Kate slowly grows a backbone, if you will hehe xD She needs to let go of what her mother wants her to do, and realise what she wants to do.
I really liked how she grew into her passions, and learned to chase after them.
I think one thing that helped this story was the........well, not exactly female empowerment, but female discovery. I mean seriously. We start out in the 1940's. There is quite a bit of sexism in the air *scowls and mimes bashing peoples heads together* XP And we're just starting to hit a turning point in this book as particular females start pushing for jobs that aren't in their 'little corner of acceptable professions'. Kate wants to be an object and fashion-window designer, and yet hardly any females have been able to push their way into such a profession, which is outside of the circle of modelling and looking glam, even tho it's still related to the fashion industry.
It was a bit weird because during the first half of the book, with the constant letters back and forth during the war, the time myterioussssslyyyyyy jumped o.O But it wasn't actually stated straight out *scratches head* Instead, it was like:
One of the charries: It's been years!
Me: ....*crickets chirp*....*silence*....WHAT?!!?!?! o.O
I've never read a book situated in WWII on the Allies side. In fact I've hardly read any books situated in a World War xD So it was interesting to read in that extent.
“I actually feel like time has stopped because of this war. Like we are stuck inside a snow globe, and we can’t move on or change until the war is over. We get shaken up and watch the snow fall, and when it all settles, we get shaken up again. I guess I’m waiting for the glass to break.”
We weren't reading anything to do with the war itself, rather, we read of what it felt like to have loved ones in the war, reading each letter and telegram, the mixture of hunger and apprehension for news. *shudders*
THE ROMANCEEEEE!!!! DUN DUN DUUNNNNN!!!!!!!!!! XDDD It was sooo...........drawn out :P Like, even tho we've totally got sparks and are destined to marry (they don't actually marry XD This is me hoping *winks and crosses fingers*) let's just wait a couple years before we KISS! o.O
But the actual attraction was instant and I admit it was pretty sweet and first-crush-like ;D Except that I'm sincerely hoping it's the first-and-only-crush *grins* So cuuuuuteeeeee! *coos* I luuvved how Johnny kept coming up behind her and resting his chin on her shoulder! *giggles* Tis was just adorableeeeee <33
While it's an endearing story, there wasn't really any suspense *pouts* XDD
Tho the correspondence between the Allen's in NYC and Kate's dad, and then later between Kate and Floyd and Kate and Johnny did lend a welcome change of style to the novel.
Most of the first parts of the story were frightfully slow paced, and downright dreadful for dear wittle Kate *frowns*, but thankfully the feel of the novel started to turn around for me almost half way. Kate had become more outspoken and while she wasn't by any means an strong charrie, she no longer had that air of pleeeaase-step-on-me, honestly *rolls eyes*. She also started to actively pursue the future she wanted for herself. *faints in relief*
And all that nonsense about 'Ooooowaaaahhhh!!!! The evil step-sister descendants coming to kill for the dresses?!'
Psssshhh! XP All those good-for-nothing descendants did was tie up the elderly, speak little words, and tail Kate like a bunch of creepy stalkers ;P ......which they are!! XD *busts out laughing*
The ending.........*quizzical look* I can't figure out if there's gonna be a sequel or if this was a standalone o.O *taps chin* It could be either I suppose XD It kinda leaves it open to our imagination to what'll happen next, and I wouldn't mind if it stopped there because I'm totally imagining my own swell *winks* ending for the characters! *gleeful look* But who knows? There may be a second book yet :P As long as I get my happy ending.......*narrows eyes at Slayton* XD
It had quite a few flaws, and I found it unrealistic but cute and romantic in a Cinderella kinda way *cracks up* so 3.5 stars :)
—MissBloodsucker™ All Sucked Out!
Posted June 4, 2014
Here's a list of things this book had going for it:
Unique Take on the Cinderella Fairytale
Characters with unique passions
Lingo (Polish, 1940's style)
And now let me tell you how it all went wrong...
I sort of had high expectations for this novel but it just went wrong, so very, very wrong.
I kept updates for this novel on Goodreads and it seemed like the further and further I got nothing happened. I got to about 40% and was ready to DNF, but I kept going. I got to 66% and still nothing.
Now this I don't understand. How do you have this amazing setting and unique plot line and allow nothing to happen for that long. There were hints at what the true meat of the story was pretty early on but that's about all you got, a bunch of hints, and false hopes of anything happening.
It wasn't until I got to about 80% in that anything remotely interesting happened and that's not even mentioning the romance. SORT OF SPOILER ALERT-->The dress which is the pinnacle of the entire story is supposed to be this highly coveted thing, people are willing to fight and kill over but they do not attempt to steal, fight, or kill over this dress until about 85% percent into the book.
That was so very disappointing. The middle pieces weren't really enough to hold my attention so I kind of kept having to come back to it.
The romance: It caught me off guard. I had to go back a chapter or two because I thought I missed something. It happened sort of out of the blue even though by the end of it when they were really and truly together I thought it was endearing. (END OF SPOILER)
*sigh* If you are willing to wait until you get to about 80% end for anything remotely interesting to happen then I suggest you read this novel. If you are really into the idea of unique fairy tale retellings by all means check it out. But, do not say I did not warn you.
Now that's not to say there is not something good in this story because there is but I just didn't find it worth having to read 75% of nothing to get to.
I'm sad :(
Posted June 3, 2014
So I have to confess that I was drawn to this story because of the gorgeous cover. I know that this not a reason to like a story or want to read. I don’t usually read Young Adults too much but I thought that this story sounded interesting. There were some aspects of the story I liked and some I thought didn’t really help the story. I compromised on a three star because I did like the story, I just didn’t love it as much as I wanted to.
When the story starts a servant girl is entrusted in keeping a very important dress that belongs to her mistress. It is instantly clear that this dress is very important and the servant is sent away to keep it safe. The story then skips to present day “World War II”. The heroine, Kate, works at a shop. She has to fight a lot of sexism to keep it. The author really showed the struggles of woman in the era and their struggle to keep their jobs and be taken seriously. Kate is sweet but very young so there were moments when she became a little irritating. Basically she is a typical teenager, she has moments of doubts, and is not sure how to always handle situations. I thought that this book would be more like a fairytale but really the name “Cinderella” was as far as the fairytale aspect went.
There are some parts of historical fiction, some parts of romance, some parts of intrigue and some parts are flat. I liked that Kate was a young person trying to find her way but I felt that the build of the dress was really just a ruse to get readers hooked. Overall, this was a cute and entertaining story. If any readers really like history and especially WWII they will enjoy this story and the nuisances of the time period.
Posted June 3, 2014
This is a nice coming of age story set at the end of World War 2 and after.
I liked the story a lot and would have loved it if it would have not been about the dress. Yes, the dress is the main story or supposed to but really most of the everything with the dress is over half way through the book.
I LOVED Kate’s story, her life and how she deals with everything, living during war and making it. Her mother who seems to like to live her dream through her daughter. How Kate meets and gets to know relatives coming from Poland during the war. She finds a boy who then has to go serve in the War . And how she dreams to work in a job only men work. I loved her strong character who doesn’t give up easily.
All of those things were beautiful and I enjoyed them a lot but I really could have lived without the story of the Cinderella dress, it became to much about the dress and less about the characters.
I loved all the characters they were well written and easy to relate to.
I Give this story only 3 ½¿ but think it could have been easily 5¿ if not for the dress taking over the story.
*Received as a free arc copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you
Posted June 3, 2014
I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Here is my honest review.
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would - and I expected to enjoy it very much.
It's not exactly a fairytale re-telling.....more of a what happened after imagining.
Kate's family is wonderfully real and normal and quirky all at the same time. I loved the relationship that Slayton created between Kate and her mother. Her mother frustrated her but there was always a sense of love from Kate towards her even when things weren't ideal between them.
I thought Slayton dealt with the issues of women's roles well. Certainly the war brought more women into the working world and Kate's desire to find a place in it felt very realistic. And her anger at losing any headway she might have gained once the war was over also felt realistic. One thing that felt off during the book was Kate's age. I don't recall it being specified exactly. The references to school and prom make it clear that she is still in high school. And so there will certainly be immaturity there and Kate did have moments that illustrated her youth.
I remember thinking that I was a little over halfway through the book and it didn't seem that anything could be resolved by the end - it seemed like so much still needed to be covered. I wondered if this was going to be the first book in a series. I'm still not sure. The ending did come and there was resolution; however, there are certainly people out there who still want Cinderella's dress so there could be more to the story.
Posted June 3, 2014
When I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review, I worried about the romance because that's not my cup of tea. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't have to skim through pages of wishy-washy crushing. The romance is there but it's the romance of the Cinderella tale that inspired this book and I wound up liking the way the romance unfolded.
The story takes off slowly but it didn't bother me because the story had a comfy feel to it - something I'd read on a rainy afternoon. On the flip side, this book definitely promises WWII and war implies action. The story reads more like a peek into a normal teenage white girl's life during the 1940s (except a normal girl would probably think about the war more). I expected more information about WWII but the war remains vague and in the background, affecting Kate, the main character, by influencing her interactions with other characters who slip off-stage to deal with the war.
I love psychobilly so I enjoyed the references to old slang that I frequently use. I also loved the introduction to Polish words with pronunciations and definitions included even though I have no desire, reason, ability to learn Polish.
Posted June 3, 2014
I was super intrigued by Cinderella's Dress when I was approached to give it a read. I mean, come on. I may be in my (very)(okay, maybe closer to mid) 30's but I remember hoping for my own Prince Charming and wishing that I could have a fairy godmother when I was a little girl. And now, Cinderella's dress might be real?!? I had to try this novel out. We all want that little piece of magic and that is what I hoped was within these pages.
You know, it was a pretty good book. A little slow ... that's why I gave it 3 stars. The story was completely enchanting, even if it was a bit confusing at times with all of the Polish. But the story itself was something that really swept me up. The whole premise was something new and one that I think would appeal to a lot of readers. If it weren't so slow it would have been amazing ... oh and sometimes it would skip ahead MONTHS and not give any indication that that had happened. I really thought I had received an incomplete copy a couple of times. If there had been a "A few months later ... " heading or something. Anything would have worked. Those jumps in time with no warning or immediate explanation made the book start and stop and it just impeded the flow of the whole novel.
You'll fall in love with Johnny and his interactions with the main character, Kate. She's a spunky one that kept Johnny on his toes - their conversations were fun to read. This is definitely a book to give a go. Maybe my expectations of pace is faster than yours. Cinderella's dress would be good to read if you're looking for a sweet, carefree, pool read.
Posted June 3, 2014
Posted June 3, 2014
I had such high hopes for this one...look at the cover! Read the blurb! Who doesn't want to read a historical fiction/fairy tale modernization mashup? There's oodles of potential here--and while it wasn't a wasted read, it wasn't quite what I was expecting (and hoping for) either.
What I did love about this book--or should I say who?--was the character of Johnny. He's snarky but in a good-natured way; good-looking yet approachable. He didn't hold a grudge, and he was a darn good letter writer. He makes an excellent YA book boyfriend, though he doesn't get nearly enough page time here.
Another plus for me was the dresses. I loved the description of them as well as the concept. The ball gown especially has some sneaky mad skills (not going to spoil what they are here) that were unexpected and very cool. I would really have liked to have seen more about them, though, so I could really understand how that particular part of this novel's world "worked".
One thing I was really looking forward to was the WWII setting--to be honest, it's a huge part of why I picked this book to read and review. Though there were many historical aspects that were mentioned and gave me warm historical fuzzies, overall I just didn't get that feeling of total immersion in the time period that I was hoping for. The characters gave off a modern-day vibe throughout much of the book. Sure, the situations they were in were historical, but their reactions, comments, and actions didn't always ring true to the era they were supposed it be in. I did love the letters back and forth between Kate and her brother, father, and sweetheart, though--they were a really fun touch.
The timeline of the novel was uneven--in parts time passed at a moderate pace with daily events described as they happened. Then there were gaps in time that went by without explanation, though, and it often took me a bit to realize that we'd gone forward in time from the paragraph before. (This could possibly be something that's addressed in the final copy--maybe the ARC didn't show an indicator that the final will, reflecting the shift in time?) It made the story feel somewhat disjointed, and this reader at least feeling like she was playing frequent catch up.
The odd pacing was reflected in the ending as well--everything happened very quickly, and not everything felt as if it were a natural progression of what had come before. There were pretty major loose ends left by the novel's end, and no clear indication of whether or not there is going to be a second book. (If there is, I'll probably give it a go--I really do want to know what happened with the characters who are left hanging, and how the dresses are doing in the future--plus, hopefully the narrative of book two will be tightened up more than that of book one.)
There also was some unnecessary repetition--of comments, thoughts, situations--that made it all the more frustrating when things I really wanted to know about (how do the dresses work? what do keepers do? what's the real history behind the story--the drama between the descendants of Cinderella and the descendants of the stepsisters through the generations?) are only addressed in vague generalizations.
Kate's character too was a bit of a mixed bag--on the whole she wasn't bad, but she made some choices that just made me cringe. She was also really quick to make assumptions and then act on them without checking to see if they were holding true or not. (Also, her first kiss takes so long to come that at first I didn't even realize it was the first one. Until she told me it was, that is.)
Overall, this book used a whole lot of words to tell not nearly enough story. There was so much potential here, but reading the novel felt as if you were just skimming over events, never really getting truly immersed in them. I probably will give book two--if there is one--a chance, but that will be more on the potential of this one than its reality.
Plus, I'd love to see more of Johnny. Not to mention Kate's older brother Floyd....
Rating: 3 stars / C
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.