Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Book Review // Before Midnight by Cameron Dokey

First a quick summary of my own: When Etienne de Brabant’s wife dies in childbirth, he cannot bear to see his infant daughter, La Cendrillon. But before he turns his back on her, he brings a little boy -- whose identity remains hidden -- to be raised alongside her. La Cendrillon and the boy, Raoul, grow up together. Then Etienne remarries, sending his new wife and stepdaughters to live at the great stone manor house above the sea: the stone manor house where wishes spring to life and all still lies stubbornly barren over a bitter grave

With wonderful characters and unique twists to the Cinderella story, this is a delightfully thought-provoking and fun rendition of the story. I have a few small caveats (mostly to do with pacing), but as I think overall they stem from the demands of being in a series, the enjoyments pretty thoroughly outweigh them. 

#1: I loved her twist with the stepmother and sisters, more especially as I think it has definite overtones from Ever After. :) So with the stepmother, everything from her fair skin and dark hair to the very play of action as she first enters the story. Also, I always feel like the Baroness in EA could have gone a different way (and initially might have, if Danielle’s father had been alive to gentle her), but instead she closes herself up in bitterness and then that root grows, propelling her downward. So to me Chantal de Saint-Andre here is that glimmering “might have been” -- only more so. 

#2: And no spoilers, but I heartily love the entire puzzle and ensuing conflict revolving around (and from) Raoul. Some key bit was hovering in my brain the whole time I was reading, but I still might not have caught it if I hadn’t been gearing up to read Wuthering Heights this month There are some very definite Heathcliff elements to his character! Both in his very situation and also his fiery, passionate, vehemently restrained, fierce-yet-grinning-under-the-lash personality. And I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that it all pretty much inverts, which is delightfully lovely. ;)

Throughout, there are some beautiful, unexpected little nuggets (a lot, actually). But here are two of my favorites:

“Old Mathilde’s spoon circled in the pot like a hawk after a mouse. “What makes you think that responsibility lies with you alone?” she asked. “You made a wish, that much is true, but you did not wish for anyone to be made unhappy. You made a wish for love. In my experience, such wishes have a way of coming true in the end, which is not the same as saying the journey isn’t difficult and long.”

Remember what you promised yourself, Cendrillon, I thought fiercely. Never regret love.”

So yes, in conclusion this is a fun, highly enjoyable read with characters I’m now thoroughly pleased to count as friends!!

Tell me! Have you read this story? If not, are you interested?


  1. Replies
    1. Rosie!
      Exactly -- "sweet" pretty much perfectly sums it up. :)

  2. This sounds very intriguing. I never thought very much about the Cinderella story until your Cinderella week (which was an amazing blog party, by the by. Just in case I hadn't told you that), but since then I've been much more interested in the story, and I'd really like to read some of the different takes on it. So thank you very much for the review. :) This book sounds particularly interesting, and I think I'm going to have add it to my to-read list. (As if my to-read list wasn't long enough already. Haha!)

    1. Miss March,
      Awwww... thank you so very much for your kind words!! ;D And I'm so happy you're getting more interested. :)

      Hee. Yes, reading lists!! The way they grow is dizzying. I don't know about you, but just when I think I'm getting near the bottom of mine/reached a manageable size along comes about five more titles -- sometimes in a single day. ;)

  3. Sounds great!

    ~Rilla Blythe


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