Reviewed by Sara Drake

A new take on the Cinderella tale, The Cracked Slipper looks at what happens after the famous ball. Eleanor Brice (aka Cinderella) married Prince Gregory Desmarais. She quickly finds herself thrust into a world of nobility and politics that her life as her stepmother’s servant did not prepare her to handle. Her husband drinks and whores, her stepmother continues to plot, and almost no one takes her seriously. Only her husband’s best friend, Dorian, understands her and before long she finds herself in love. Throw in unicorns, dragons, and magic and you have the setting of a delightful fantasy.

I love fairy tales and fairy tale retellings. Recently, I have become more interested in what happened after the classic fairy tales end. So, this book interested me from the moment I heard about it. Stephanie Alexander does a good job at looking at the reality of building a marriage after a whirlwind romance. The relationship between Eleanor and Gregory looks at the realities of discovering the flaws and learning to live with the choices made. The growing romance between Eleanor and Dorian touches the heart yet disturbs as the reader recognizes there is no chance for a happy-ever-after. The additional Lancelot and Guinevere style tensions add considerably to the plot.

The world building throughout the novel gives the reader a view of a unique new world. Dragons create Fire-iron, a substance that forms the basis of the economy. The unicorns have a Bond with the royal family, offering their services to help manage the dragons. These magical creatures exist alongside animals that talk to humans. This Disney-esque world offers an enchanting background for the tale.

Alexander does a delightful job of detailing the setting, the relationships, and the characters throughout this novel; however, the plot itself remains rather weak. The majority of the book wonders this way and that way depicting the relationships. The action starts suddenly and ends suddenly leaving the reader wondering what happened. The climax includes a battle with magical creatures not mentioned or described earlier, leaving the reader scrambling to catch up. The romantic tensions resolve themselves halfway, leaving the characters (and the readers) wanting more.

Alexander’s writing provided many examples of good prose. The few grammatical errors and editing mistakes detracted occasionally; however, this book had fewer mistakes than many of the novels I have read recently. The author shows a great deal of potential, especially in the romance genre. I had high hopes for the book but found the plot problems too much to bear.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

The Cracked Slipper is available as a free download on November 6-7 and again on December 7-9. Download your copy here

Sara Drake has been an avid reader since a young age. She has Masters degrees in Mental Health Counseling and History.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by JKS Communications. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.