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Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story

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Lil is an old woman who spends her days shelving rare books in a tiny Manhattan bookstore and lonely nights at home in her apartment. But Lil has an intriguing secret. Tucked and bound behind her back are white feathery wings–the only key to who she once was: the fairy godmother responsible for getting Cinderella to the ball to unite with her Prince Charming. But on that fa Lil is an old woman who spends her days shelving rare books in a tiny Manhattan bookstore and lonely nights at home in her apartment. But Lil has an intriguing secret. Tucked and bound behind her back are white feathery wings–the only key to who she once was: the fairy godmother responsible for getting Cinderella to the ball to unite with her Prince Charming. But on that fateful night, something went terribly and beautifully wrong. Lil allowed herself the unthinkable: to feel the emotions of human beings and fall in love with the prince herself, going to the ball in place of Cinderella in her exquisitely gorgeous human guise. For her unforgivable mistake, she was banished to live among humans, far from her fairy sisters and their magical underwater world. But then one day she meets Veronica–a young, fair-skinned, flame-haired East Village beauty with a love of all things vintage and a penchant for falling in love with the wrong men–and suddenly it becomes clear to Lil that she’s been given a chance at redemption. If she can find a soul mate for Veronica, she may right her wrong and return to the fairy world she so deeply longs for. . . .


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Lil is an old woman who spends her days shelving rare books in a tiny Manhattan bookstore and lonely nights at home in her apartment. But Lil has an intriguing secret. Tucked and bound behind her back are white feathery wings–the only key to who she once was: the fairy godmother responsible for getting Cinderella to the ball to unite with her Prince Charming. But on that fa Lil is an old woman who spends her days shelving rare books in a tiny Manhattan bookstore and lonely nights at home in her apartment. But Lil has an intriguing secret. Tucked and bound behind her back are white feathery wings–the only key to who she once was: the fairy godmother responsible for getting Cinderella to the ball to unite with her Prince Charming. But on that fateful night, something went terribly and beautifully wrong. Lil allowed herself the unthinkable: to feel the emotions of human beings and fall in love with the prince herself, going to the ball in place of Cinderella in her exquisitely gorgeous human guise. For her unforgivable mistake, she was banished to live among humans, far from her fairy sisters and their magical underwater world. But then one day she meets Veronica–a young, fair-skinned, flame-haired East Village beauty with a love of all things vintage and a penchant for falling in love with the wrong men–and suddenly it becomes clear to Lil that she’s been given a chance at redemption. If she can find a soul mate for Veronica, she may right her wrong and return to the fairy world she so deeply longs for. . . .

30 review for Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story

  1. 5 out of 5

    Trin

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. What This Book Is Being Marketed As: Fluffy retelling of the Cinderella story from the godmother’s point of view! She was kicked out of fairyland for falling in love with Cinderella’s prince; now, as an elderly bookstore clerk in present day New York, she has the chance to redeem herself by doing some matchmaking for a free-spirited hair stylist and her wealthy, recently-divorced bookstore owning boss! There’s a wealthy bookstore owner in this book, so you know it’ll be an optimistic fairytale! W What This Book Is Being Marketed As: Fluffy retelling of the Cinderella story from the godmother’s point of view! She was kicked out of fairyland for falling in love with Cinderella’s prince; now, as an elderly bookstore clerk in present day New York, she has the chance to redeem herself by doing some matchmaking for a free-spirited hair stylist and her wealthy, recently-divorced bookstore owning boss! There’s a wealthy bookstore owner in this book, so you know it’ll be an optimistic fairytale! What This Book Actually Is, Based On One Interpretation of Its Ambiguous Ending: Cinderella’s godmother grew up in a fairyland that seems as realistic and well-realized as one of those mid-’90s plastic fairy kingdom toys that unfolded from a Pepto-Bismol-pink clamshell case that looked like it maybe in a previous life held somebody’s diaphragm. She fell in love with Cinderella’s prince after seeing him one time, which makes her kind of want to off Miss Cinders rather than get her and Charming together. Luckily, Cinderella is suicidally depressed and tells the godmother to just go to the ball in her place. Godmother does, comes back to find Cinderella has slashed her wrists with her broken glass slipper. But if the godmother can manage that hair stylist/wealthy bookstore owner hookup, then everything’s still cool! What This Book Actually Is, Based On the Other Interpretation of Its Ambiguous Ending: The “godmother” is actually a crazy old lady who’s escaped into a fantasy world after her younger sister’s rape and suicide (?) when they were girls. At the end, she thinks she’s getting to return to fairyland, but actually, she just kills herself. In Conclusion: It’s so nice to know that whichever way you slice it, someone’s veins are getting sliced too! Also good to know: if this author offers you a nice, refreshing glass of Kool-Aid, it’s probably best to pass.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melodie

    I finished this book last night and I am still stymied on how to review it. The author retells classic fairy tales with back stories with twists that include great character development. I have enjoyed her work and expected this story to follow that path. The fairy realm and it's dealing with humans is the centerpiece here. Cinderella's fairy godmother,instead of being the matchmaker, attempted to take the prince for herself. Her effort earned her banishment to the human world that she so envied I finished this book last night and I am still stymied on how to review it. The author retells classic fairy tales with back stories with twists that include great character development. I have enjoyed her work and expected this story to follow that path. The fairy realm and it's dealing with humans is the centerpiece here. Cinderella's fairy godmother,instead of being the matchmaker, attempted to take the prince for herself. Her effort earned her banishment to the human world that she so envied forever. What follows is her struggle to earn back her place in the fairy world. Or is it? Is she really what the story implies? The story is dark and incredibly sad. And as it ends this reader was left with more questions than answers. I believe the author did this deliberately, wanting the reader to draw their own conclusion. I didn't like the conclusion I came to.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    What? What was that? I can't believe I finished this book. I should have abandoned it when it just didn't make sense to me. It kinda got interesting in the middle but then petered out again. I found it overly descriptive, repetitive and confusing. I had previously read Mermaid which was a lovely (and far more concise) book and that was why I tried this one. For me, Godmother, is less fairytale retelling, more crazy lady needs a therapist. Not good. What? What was that? I can't believe I finished this book. I should have abandoned it when it just didn't make sense to me. It kinda got interesting in the middle but then petered out again. I found it overly descriptive, repetitive and confusing. I had previously read Mermaid which was a lovely (and far more concise) book and that was why I tried this one. For me, Godmother, is less fairytale retelling, more crazy lady needs a therapist. Not good.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    This book was absolutely beautifully written...until maybe the last 10 pages. Despite its cheerful and happy looking cover, the story is dark and somewhat tragic. Lil is an old woman living in New York City...and she has been living in New York City for a few hundred years. Because of her failure to help Cinderella to go to the ball and as punishment for falling in love with the prince herself, she has been banished from her world of fairies and now has to live her life as a mortal--with wings t This book was absolutely beautifully written...until maybe the last 10 pages. Despite its cheerful and happy looking cover, the story is dark and somewhat tragic. Lil is an old woman living in New York City...and she has been living in New York City for a few hundred years. Because of her failure to help Cinderella to go to the ball and as punishment for falling in love with the prince herself, she has been banished from her world of fairies and now has to live her life as a mortal--with wings that she cannot use and must constantly hide. She hates her mortal life and longs to return to her family in the alternate fairy world, and when an opportunity arises for her to redeem herself by helping a girl go to a ball and find her true love, she does everything she can to make sure that everything is perfect. Then it gets weird. It seems like after Lil goes through all this trouble that there would be some sort of epic ending, whether it be positive or negative. However...I'm not really sure WHAT happened, exactly. Seriously. I have no idea what to think. The ending was so ambiguous and vague; it actually irritated me. I wanted to completely re-write the ending, and go back and read it again. I still gave it three stars because for 95 percent of the book, I loved it. But really. Its almost like a completely different person wrote the last 10 pages.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

    What a great little fairy-tale adaptation! At first I wasn’t so sure I would enjoy this novel but it got better and better the further I read. The author does a fine job of capturing human emotions in her characters (I felt the same way about her novel “Rain Village”) although sometimes she becomes a tad bit repetitive (such as, okay...we understand...the main character is sad all the time...). This novel was well worth the effort and the ending was superb! I wasn’t expecting the twisty twist an What a great little fairy-tale adaptation! At first I wasn’t so sure I would enjoy this novel but it got better and better the further I read. The author does a fine job of capturing human emotions in her characters (I felt the same way about her novel “Rain Village”) although sometimes she becomes a tad bit repetitive (such as, okay...we understand...the main character is sad all the time...). This novel was well worth the effort and the ending was superb! I wasn’t expecting the twisty twist and that is rare for me. Back to my shelves this one goes, perhaps for a re-read in the future!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I'll admit, I was turned off when I first saw the cover. It was just so tacky. The words were even in glitter and there was this fairy dancing in the corner. But then I opened the book and I read the words. I honestly don't know how many times I have cried for this book, but every time I think about the beginning, the ending, all the stuff that happened in between, the waterworks just come and come and come... This is truly a beautiful book with an amazing story. The protagonist happens to be a b I'll admit, I was turned off when I first saw the cover. It was just so tacky. The words were even in glitter and there was this fairy dancing in the corner. But then I opened the book and I read the words. I honestly don't know how many times I have cried for this book, but every time I think about the beginning, the ending, all the stuff that happened in between, the waterworks just come and come and come... This is truly a beautiful book with an amazing story. The protagonist happens to be a banished fairy god-mother, but don't let that stop you from reading it. If anything, this story is haunting, and it will haunt me for the rest of my life. There's just so much this novel teaches you about humanity, even if the persona isn't even human. The human character is flawed. But at the same time, it is such a beautiful, beautiful thing. It was one of the most depressing books I have ever read, but amazingly, its underlying message is of the blessing of life. To see life as such a beautiful thing. And nomatter what, even if everyone you love has left you and forgotten you, even when you are so old your hair is completely white, your face is full of wrinkles and no one ever truly sees you, even if there is nothing for you, don't give up. My favourite quote of the book? "When I was young, centuries ago, I envied humans for that. For being able to feel that. For being capable of such love and such grief. There is something wonderful in all of it. Do you know that? What you have. The world you have. There's so much love behind everything, so much beauty. You cannot give up on it...This is what the world is, exactly this. This is what it means to be human."

  7. 4 out of 5

    Susana

    This is not an easy book to read. This is not simple and straightforward. I'm not even sure in what literary category to place this book. Is it a fantasy book? Or is it a story about someone who's having a psychotic breakdown? I don't know. I adored the writing, and the characters. But... The ending....(sigh) it was dark, and sad, and if you're strong or optimist enough to believe..that you're reading a fantasy work, then the ending was perfect for the main character. The thing is I'm not that opti This is not an easy book to read. This is not simple and straightforward. I'm not even sure in what literary category to place this book. Is it a fantasy book? Or is it a story about someone who's having a psychotic breakdown? I don't know. I adored the writing, and the characters. But... The ending....(sigh) it was dark, and sad, and if you're strong or optimist enough to believe..that you're reading a fantasy work, then the ending was perfect for the main character. The thing is I'm not that optimist. When I reached the last page,the first thing I thought, was: "OK, here is a tale that I would really like to discuss with a psychologist". Original, that's for sure. And a story that I probably will never forget.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cory

    Beautifully written retelling of Cinderella which includes the fairy godmother's life in modern New York City. The author writes in a way that makes it very easy to feel and see and understand the characters and situations. The ending is a bit weird and confusing, as it calls into question the reliability of the narrator--which isn't to say that I didn't like the ending, as I thought it was quite brilliant. Beautifully written retelling of Cinderella which includes the fairy godmother's life in modern New York City. The author writes in a way that makes it very easy to feel and see and understand the characters and situations. The ending is a bit weird and confusing, as it calls into question the reliability of the narrator--which isn't to say that I didn't like the ending, as I thought it was quite brilliant.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Thea Rosemary

    Full review here: https://taylormaemarie.com/2016/11/15... Full review here: https://taylormaemarie.com/2016/11/15...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Cinderella might just be the most popular fairy tale. Not surprising really, most of us feel under apprenticed or taken for granted. Cinderella works her fingers to the bone, but finally is elevated and is able to sit down. Of course, she is elevated because she is beautiful and nice. Turgeon’s retelling of Cinderella is supposedly about the godmother who upsets the tale by falling in love with the prince destined to be Cinderella’s husband. Part of what Turgeon is paying with is the idea of m Cinderella might just be the most popular fairy tale. Not surprising really, most of us feel under apprenticed or taken for granted. Cinderella works her fingers to the bone, but finally is elevated and is able to sit down. Of course, she is elevated because she is beautiful and nice. Turgeon’s retelling of Cinderella is supposedly about the godmother who upsets the tale by falling in love with the prince destined to be Cinderella’s husband. Part of what Turgeon is paying with is the idea of memory and trauma. Her protagonist, Lil, the godmother of the title, feels that in order to regain her place among her sisters she must play matchmaker to her employer and new found friend. In some ways, this romance plot is the weakest part of the book. But it does serve the larger issue of the book which is connected to narrative and memory and, to a lesser degree the question of worth. Lil is chosen to help Cinderella, but is she the right one. Lil in many ways is someone that society would discount, in many ways despite being the godmother is also the Cinderella figure, though she doesn’t necessary have a shoe to fill. Her white hair and age make her something other – someone to be humored, loved, or even coddled, but the question does arise -do those around Lil, even those who truly seem to are for her, know her or even have her interests at heart. This is particularly true when the twist comes because how it is revealed by one character comes across as cruel and dangerous. In fact, it renders the character who does it almost unlikable. Not so much that she does but how she does that. The twist of the novel is one that while and seems to have divided the readership. You are either going to be impressed by it or disappointed. While twist does have some build it, the middle section of the book, which menders slightly, could have done a better job of building up to it. It is a powerful twist however.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Krystle

    What an intriguing summary, no? Godmother of Cinderella who’s been banished from the fairy world because she fell in love with the prince instead? How awesome! You know how I love these retellings. Carolyn Turgeon has beautiful writing. There were some passages where I had to pause for a bit to let her words sink in because they were just that gorgeous. But then other times it felt as if the words were coming out forced, like she was trying too hard to make everything sound ethereal and surreal. What an intriguing summary, no? Godmother of Cinderella who’s been banished from the fairy world because she fell in love with the prince instead? How awesome! You know how I love these retellings. Carolyn Turgeon has beautiful writing. There were some passages where I had to pause for a bit to let her words sink in because they were just that gorgeous. But then other times it felt as if the words were coming out forced, like she was trying too hard to make everything sound ethereal and surreal. Don’t get me wrong, her writing is more than sufficient for the task it’s up to. The book is slow and I enjoyed watching parts of the plot unravel slowly, especially since our main character is an 80-year-old woman. Not a frequently used trope! It was refreshing when she always finds herself recollecting her past and her magical side that leaves her empty, yearning, and full of guilt. It was really interesting to see the dynamic between Lil and Cinderella. How instead of the usual vibrant heroine from the fairy tale, she’s transformed into someone who’s insecure, depressed, and lacks vitality. Quite a change. And then when we transition to the present, I loved how the somber mood was balanced with the lighter relationship and subplot with Veronica. It’s much needed and you can’t help but root just a little for Veronica as Lil tries to matchmake her up with the man of her dreams. Yet, when the story took a darker turn I was unhappy with the way things were switch up in the narrative. The ending left me hollow and unsatisfied to a major degree, wiping out the good feelings I had about the book before. Compacted with the realization of our unreliable narrator and the open ended resolution that can be interpreted in many ways. I was not a happy camper. It sort of ruined the good mood and premise of the first parts of the book. Some concepts and plot points of the story were great though. A cautionary read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    The moment I put the previous Turgeon book down, I already knew that I truly and totally wanted to read her other work too. So, when my grandparents gave me vouchers for St. Nicholas I already knew that I was gonna get this book. Cinderella is one of my favorite fairytales, so I was really excited to read this one. And it did not disappoint. Once again Turgeon managed to make a very well known story hers. Her take on Cinderella is original, very original. There was a moment I was getting slightly The moment I put the previous Turgeon book down, I already knew that I truly and totally wanted to read her other work too. So, when my grandparents gave me vouchers for St. Nicholas I already knew that I was gonna get this book. Cinderella is one of my favorite fairytales, so I was really excited to read this one. And it did not disappoint. Once again Turgeon managed to make a very well known story hers. Her take on Cinderella is original, very original. There was a moment I was getting slightly frustrated, thinking Turgeon had chosen an interpretation I totally hated and then she flipped it and all of a sudden I loved what she did immensely. What I love most is the focus on Lillian, the good fairy we all know from Cinderella's tale. It's a point of view we rarely get, while there's a lot to tell about her. Turgeon used this opportunity to build an amazing fairy world with rules and a government and huge differences from the human world. The contrast between the two worlds made Lillian's choices understandable. What I also loved is the fact that the story stays a little vague on one thing: Which story is the absolute truth? Are you going with magic? Or are you going with an interesting coping mechanism from a woman who has endured something no one should ever have endured? I think I eventually go with the first option, although the latter is a possible and totally interesting interpretation too. I can't wait to dive into Turgeon's other work, because she has more magical stories and I'm really curious to see what she does with those.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    This book was not at all what I was expecting, but I found that I really enjoyed it. It was such an interesting perspective, in so many ways. And I like that it's open to interpretation. This book has many layers. In spite of the fairytale elements, it was surprisingly real. This book was not at all what I was expecting, but I found that I really enjoyed it. It was such an interesting perspective, in so many ways. And I like that it's open to interpretation. This book has many layers. In spite of the fairytale elements, it was surprisingly real.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mel (Daily Prophecy)

    I loved her book 'Mermaid' so I decided to give this one a try. I was a bit disappointed. SPOILERS. This story tells about an old woman called Lil. She lives in New York and she works at a local bookshop. She works for George, a strange man in my eyes. He's always whining about the fact that he'll never find someone new (he divorced last year), but he doesn't give anyone a chance. Lil meets Veronica, a bright, young girl and she decides that she and George are destined for eachother (something I di I loved her book 'Mermaid' so I decided to give this one a try. I was a bit disappointed. SPOILERS. This story tells about an old woman called Lil. She lives in New York and she works at a local bookshop. She works for George, a strange man in my eyes. He's always whining about the fact that he'll never find someone new (he divorced last year), but he doesn't give anyone a chance. Lil meets Veronica, a bright, young girl and she decides that she and George are destined for eachother (something I didn't really see, but okay) She wants to make up the big mistake she made in the fairyworld. The reason why she was kicked out of the world she so longs for to return to; she took Cinderella's place. Cinderella was sad, depressed (and I thought she was very annoying) and she didn't want to meet the prince. Lil was in love with him the first time she saw him, so she promised Cinderella she would go - and the would return to help her. After the ball, she finds Cinderella on the floor. Dead. Her wrists cut with a glass shoe. Then everything becomes a blurr for me.. Veronica goes with George to the ball and a day later she comes to Lil to tell her everything about it. Instead of a happy conversation, it goes a really other direction. Veronica shows Lil pictures of her sister (the one Lil always talk about. And she wants to go back to the fairyworld for her). Apparently, Lil did go to a ball and she did met her prince. But her sister was (I think) raped and murdered. That's the Cinderella she keeps talking about. So, Lil is a crazy, old woman who has made up a story in her head.. Is it because of the trauma? Or just because she's old? I hated this ending. I really, really hated it. Lil dies, because she believes she's going back to her fairyworld. Why didn't the cover said anything about a old woming losing her mind? I didn't understand the ending at first.. I still believed she was a fairy, but then I thought about the pictures and it all became clear. It sucks.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Charleen

    Well, I kinda feel cheated by this book. The story is supposed to be about what really happened the night the fairy Godmother was supposed to get Cinderella ready for the ball. Lillian works at a book store that sells used and collective books. She allegedly has a secret. She is Cinderella's fairy Godmother, a fairy that was banished from the fairy world for falling in love with the prince and going to the ball in Cinderella's place. One day she meets a woman named Veronica and she becomes convi Well, I kinda feel cheated by this book. The story is supposed to be about what really happened the night the fairy Godmother was supposed to get Cinderella ready for the ball. Lillian works at a book store that sells used and collective books. She allegedly has a secret. She is Cinderella's fairy Godmother, a fairy that was banished from the fairy world for falling in love with the prince and going to the ball in Cinderella's place. One day she meets a woman named Veronica and she becomes convinced that she is to be her redemption. She has to help Veronica find love. Frequent inconsistencies make the plot of the book feel off. First off, how come it is set in New York? Lillian was banished from the fairy world and has been wandering around New York City? Huh? Wouldn't it have been better to have `landed' in a country where there were actually palaces, a royal family and kingdom of sort to rule over? The first three letter of each paragraph express exactly how I feel about this book. I did not really like it. I felt it was a bit boring and pointless. Specially at the end when it suddenly changed tones and became extremely dramatic. If you want to read about alternate fairy tale stories, read Wicked instead. SPOILER. No where in the back summary of the book does it say we are dealing with a crazy lady. END SPOILER

  16. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    Well, at first, I really loved this book - the beauty and romance of it all was initially intoxicating. But the crushing reality of its ending ruined the whole book for me. It really did. Too many questions were left hanging... and for all that magic to be stomped away, it really left a reader wanting to read something else. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who wanted to be disappointed. This one retold fairy tale that really lost the magic of its medium. Well, at first, I really loved this book - the beauty and romance of it all was initially intoxicating. But the crushing reality of its ending ruined the whole book for me. It really did. Too many questions were left hanging... and for all that magic to be stomped away, it really left a reader wanting to read something else. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who wanted to be disappointed. This one retold fairy tale that really lost the magic of its medium.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kalyn

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I liked the writing style and the story, but I never really got into the characters. I had a hard time finding any connection with them and Lil's suicide at the end just highlighted the lack of connection. I don't mind unreliable narrators but I never felt connected to Lil enough to be anything but dismayed by the reveal. I liked the writing style and the story, but I never really got into the characters. I had a hard time finding any connection with them and Lil's suicide at the end just highlighted the lack of connection. I don't mind unreliable narrators but I never felt connected to Lil enough to be anything but dismayed by the reveal.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nele

    Loved it! I'm really a sucker for fairytale retellings. And I know that I'll read this one again in the future. Loved it! I'm really a sucker for fairytale retellings. And I know that I'll read this one again in the future.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Linnae

    Darker in tone, with bits of magical realism. Lil has been around this world for a very, very, long time. She works at an used books store in Manhatten, and goes home at night to an apartment, alone with her memories. She used to be a fairy, living in the world under the lake. The brightness and freedom of that time seem so far away now. Her white feathery wings are all she has left as a reminder of who she was before she was banished, and even they must be tightly kept under wraps in the human w Darker in tone, with bits of magical realism. Lil has been around this world for a very, very, long time. She works at an used books store in Manhatten, and goes home at night to an apartment, alone with her memories. She used to be a fairy, living in the world under the lake. The brightness and freedom of that time seem so far away now. Her white feathery wings are all she has left as a reminder of who she was before she was banished, and even they must be tightly kept under wraps in the human world. You see, she made a terrible mistake in the matter of a young girl; a girl who was destined to meet a prince. * * * * * Have you ever seen the movie "Enchanted" with Amy Adams? [Pause while I go watch a couple of the songs on YouTube.] All right, I'm back. Anyway, she's a fairy-tale princess who inadvertently finds herself in New York. It is so fun and lighthearted, right? This....is not like that. Take that idea, add some tragedy, unrequited love, terrible consequences, and an old lady who may or may not be completely crazy, and well, there you go. You're getting a little closer now. To have a real live fairy godmother living in NYC, complete with wings, it may seem obvious there would have to be some sort of magical realism going on. I was going with it. I got comfortable with the idea. The wings seemed to be the extent of it pretty much. Then there was more. Things started spiraling. The ending was disconcerting. It fit, I think, but I was left with the feeling of "Wait a minute, what just happened here?" Um...don't know what else to say about that without spoiling it. So yeah. Don't go into this expecting warm fuzzies or redemption. It seemed like that's where it was headed, but then it was like getting smacked in the face with a bucket of cold water. I suppose the magical realism in that way was quite effective. There were parallel realities going on and as the reader you got to choose which to believe. If you read it, I definitely would like to discuss it with you! Content: Some innuendo and strong desire, but all it led to was kissing.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Aly

    I rate this a 3.5 rounded up to a 4. I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. It was a little slow, which made it harder to get into. I also found it challenging to connect with Lil, the main character. However, I did like the original take on this classic tale. I have read many Cinderella retellings and I have never read one quite like this.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Fun fairy book took a turn and then another turn, well then, another. Not sure what I think about this book at all. Clever book, but deceiving.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Patty Abarno

    I cannot even begin to say how moved I was by this novel. So beautifully written and heartbreaking sad... at times I stopped because I wasn’t ready for the end. I loved the story and all of the lovely characters that I completely embraced and enjoyed. So worth the read. After I finished I could not stop thinking about this novel all day.. literally was haunted and moved.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Review published here: http://www.hipsterbookclub.com/review... Carolyn Turgeon's Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story is a quirky and offbeat retelling of the classic fairy tale, brought up to date for an adult audience. While preserving the basic, familiar features of the original story, Turgeon introduces readers to an often overlooked and underappreciated part of the story: the fairy godmother. Her interpretation is less Walt Disney than Brothers Grimm, hitting on themes of redemption and f Review published here: http://www.hipsterbookclub.com/review... Carolyn Turgeon's Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story is a quirky and offbeat retelling of the classic fairy tale, brought up to date for an adult audience. While preserving the basic, familiar features of the original story, Turgeon introduces readers to an often overlooked and underappreciated part of the story: the fairy godmother. Her interpretation is less Walt Disney than Brothers Grimm, hitting on themes of redemption and forgiveness. The godmother of this story, Lil, is a fallen fairy now living in present-day New York City after being banished from her magical land. Though she still has her wings, which she keeps hidden under wraps, Lil has lost her magic and is stuck in an aging human form. Now an old lady with white hair, sunken eyes, and a heavy heart, Lil often reflects upon her youth in the fairy kingdom. Chapters alternate between Lil's previous life as a beautiful fairy and her current state. As the story unravels, it becomes clear that Lil made a terrible mistake in her former life that has caused her to live the rest of her days in a kind of purgatory until she is forgiven. Lil believes that if she can play matchmaker once again and cause two of her lonely young friends to fall in love with each other, she will be redeemed, liberated from her human form, and invited back to the fairy land. The traditional Cinderella story is aimed at a younger audience and has a more transparent and easily digestible theme. Turgeon's version illustrates how people can become their own worst enemies through denial and self-loathing. While there are still touches of whimsy sprinkled throughout the book (like the quaint rare bookstore in which human Lil works) the story is very dark at its core, dealing with some intense issues. Turgeon strikes a good balance between the heavy themes and fantastical aspects of the story, managing to make Godmother relevant enough to be taken seriously but light enough to not be overwhelming or depressing. One of Turgeon's real gifts is her ability to show, through her writing, the magic of modern, everyday life. Her beautifully written descriptions of New York City rival those of Lil's magical fairy kingdom. Turgeon obviously loves the city and excels at describing the enchanting old city glamour and gritty bohemian districts. It's enough to make a seasoned city dweller want to take a walk around his or her own neighborhood with fresh eyes and discover new charms. Godmother does have its problems, however—namely, the characters. Lil is the only truly developed character of the book, and her self-loathing and timidity can be bothersome. Yes, she made a horrible mistake in the past and is overcome with a mix of guilt and desire, but there is never any reason for readers to side with her. She is pitiable but not actually likable. The two main supporting characters, the two lonely hearts Lil attempts to unite, are underdeveloped and insignificant. Readers learn next to nothing about the man, George, except that he is handsome, educated, and a bit gloomy. Turgeon must have forgotten to give him a personality or didn't deem one necessary. His polar opposite, Veronica, has an excess of personality, as if Turgeon tried to fit too much into one character and instead ended up with a caricature. Veronica is a loveable oddball , frenzied but caring, friendly but sarcastic, confident but self-deprecating. She's supposed to be young and hip—sewing her own clothes, owning a hair salon, in love with old Hollywood and vintage ephemera, even publishing a blog—but comes across as clichéd and overdone. Veronica and George are intended to be modern versions of Cinderella and the prince, but they elicit no emotion and therefore only serve Lil's plot to bring another young couple together. Character disappointments aside, the book is well crafted and imaginative. Rather than simply retelling a well-known story from a different perspective, Turgeon turns the tale upside down to reveal a darker side, tackling profound themes of redemption and forgiveness. It's an enjoyable mix of sweet and bitter, light and dark, magic and realism.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    More like 3.5 stars. The book has 3 main characters: Lillian (Lil) is an elderly woman who works at a used book store in Manhattan. But Lil has a secret-she is a disgraced fairy who was banished to the human world. She was Cinderella's fairy godmother, but instead of getting Cinderella to the ball, she fell in love with the prince and went in her place. Lil befriends a young woman, Veronica, when Veronica comes into the bookstore to see if she can sell some books she no longer wants. Veronica is More like 3.5 stars. The book has 3 main characters: Lillian (Lil) is an elderly woman who works at a used book store in Manhattan. But Lil has a secret-she is a disgraced fairy who was banished to the human world. She was Cinderella's fairy godmother, but instead of getting Cinderella to the ball, she fell in love with the prince and went in her place. Lil befriends a young woman, Veronica, when Veronica comes into the bookstore to see if she can sell some books she no longer wants. Veronica is both a free spirit with a history of dating "losers" and an old soul who wishes she'd been young in a more glamorous, romantic time like Lil was. Lil's other close friend is George, the owner of the bookstore. George is recently divorced, comes from money but isn't really part of high society other than family obligations. It's because of family money he's able to keep the bookstore going despite it not being overly profitable. One day, George mentions to Lil he has a charity ball he has to but doesn't want to attend. It's a pet project of his mother's. He suggests Lil accompany him, but Lil, thinking Veronica and George would be perfect for each other, realizes this is her chance for redemption: that she has been sent to get Veronica to her prince and if she is successful, she will be forgiven for the fateful night all those years ago and she can finally go back home to the fairy world. This was an interesting take on the classic tale of "Cinderella." The book went back and forth between present day and the events leading up to Lil taking Cinderella's place at the ball. There were a couple of times in the earlier chapters I was a little confused as to which era Lil was in, but for the most part it was pretty easy to tell them apart and the author did a great job of weaving them together. The characters were well developed. I could picture Lil as the stereotypical, white-haired fairy godmother as is always depicted in "Cinderella." I could picture the "wild child" beauty of Veronica. For George, I pictured the character of Daniel Faraday (played by Jeremy Davies) from "Lost" for some reason. Even the minor characters were well developed but the descriptions of them did not take away from the main story. The story manages to be both a light fairy tale-Lil getting Veronica and George to the ball, and a sad, dark tale of love and loss-Lil loving and losing the prince by taking Cinderella's place; Cinderella missing her deceased parents: Lil's banishment from her home for failing her mission. The part that really resonated with me, however, was a conversation between Lil and Veronica when Veronica is getting ready for the ball and she's telling Lil how she always dates losers because she loved and lost before-he was there and everything was normal one moment and the next he was gone. She's terrified because she's lonely but she doesn't think she can love anyone else. She's happy but that makes her feel guilty because he's not there. She feels empty and she's afraid that emptiness will never go away. Of course, being a fairy godmother Lil assures her she's young and will still have her "happily ever after." Ah, if only it really worked that way...where is that fairy godmother when you need her? The book was well written with a good pace. There is a subplot about Lil's landlord dying and the grandson who inherited it selling the building. This comes up throughout but Lil is pretty much ignoring it out of fear of not having anywhere else to go. But it is resolved in the very end with an intriguing ending to the book that can be taken as Lil making her way back to the fairy world, or something entirely different which changes the whole perspective of the book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story is Carolyn Turgeon's second novel. Since Godmother's release, Turgeon has published The Next Full Moon and Mermaid, the latter of which is currently in development for a movie by Sony Pictures. In present-day Manhattan, an old woman with beautiful white hair named Lil divides her time between working in an independent book shop and her lonely apartment. Her friends are few and far between, mainly because Lil has an important secret she can never share with a Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story is Carolyn Turgeon's second novel. Since Godmother's release, Turgeon has published The Next Full Moon and Mermaid, the latter of which is currently in development for a movie by Sony Pictures. In present-day Manhattan, an old woman with beautiful white hair named Lil divides her time between working in an independent book shop and her lonely apartment. Her friends are few and far between, mainly because Lil has an important secret she can never share with anyone. Lil is actually Cinderella's notorious fairy godmother, but was banished to our real world forever for appearing to Cinderella's prince as a human and making him fall in love with her. As punishment, Lil must spend years in our world without her one true love, while also maintaining large fairy wings she keeps hidden and bound to her back each and every day. When Veronica, a beautiful and free-spirited young hairdresser steps into the book shop, Lil is reminded instantly of her beloved fairy sister, Maybeth, who remains behind in the fairy world. Lil then makes it her personal mission to help Veronica find her one true love in hopes that if she succeeds, she will be redeemed and allowed back into the fairy kingdom - and also reunited with Maybeth. Clever, magical, and entrancing, Godmother is a unique, though macabre spin on the traditional story of Cinderella. This novel is very intellectual, and is as much a psychological thriller than it is fantasy or literature. From the start, Godmother had me reeled in, and I found that I could hardly stop reading (and barely take a breath!) until the very last page. From the get-go, this novel will seduce you with the promise of endless possibilities and spin on this classic fairy-tale. Each and every character in Godmother is colorful and romantic, even the wistful and tragic Cinderella. Lil's transformation at the end reminds me of Natalie Portman's demise in the movie Black Swan, which I thought made this novel even more clever than I had originally thought. There's no denying that Godmother is full of surprises and utterly creative - there's absolutely NO way as a reader you'll be able to guess what happens! Turgeon's writing and story is so convincing that she (almost) had me believing that fairies were real, and that some truly do live among us with the task of finding humans our one true loves. Turgeon has talent unlike any other I've ever seen in literature, and I'm eager to read all of her other novels! Those who like dark spins on classic fairy-tales will absolutely love Godmother. I give this book the highest praise it can possibly garner, and so far, is one of the best novels I have read in the past year. For more book reviews, please visit http://dreamworldbooks.com.

  26. 5 out of 5

    kiirsekrein

    The summary at the back of the book makes it sound like it's a fluffy retelling of the well-known Cinderella story where the godmother is the antagonist. She fall in love with the prince herself, instead of helping Cinderella hooking up with him, and got kicked out of Fairyland to live as human where she works in a bookstore and gets a chance to redeem herself: play the godmother for the bookstore's owner and a hair stylist which she met in the bookstore. The book could have been great if it wou The summary at the back of the book makes it sound like it's a fluffy retelling of the well-known Cinderella story where the godmother is the antagonist. She fall in love with the prince herself, instead of helping Cinderella hooking up with him, and got kicked out of Fairyland to live as human where she works in a bookstore and gets a chance to redeem herself: play the godmother for the bookstore's owner and a hair stylist which she met in the bookstore. The book could have been great if it would have stayed as such a fluffy story. (view spoiler)[Actually you can view the story from two point of views: 1. Cinderella's godmother, called Lil, grew up in Fairyland (I still don't get why fairies live under water, makes no sense.), got appointed to hook up Cinderella with her prince by the Fairy Elders and fall in love herself with him when she saw him once (!). Luckily the prince feels the same after seeing her once and can't stop thinking about her etc. When the ball night arrives the godmother goes and does help Cinderella: gets the dress, the glass slippers, the hair style, ... - very pretty, very Cinderella. They even got to the point where Cinderella got her pumpkin-styled carriage with black horses. Cinderella turns out to be depressed and just wants to be reunited with her long-dead parents, so she tells Lil that she has no wish to go to the ball. The godmother sees her chance, grabs it and goes to the Ball instead of Cinderella. When she returns after midnight she finds Cinderella dead in the grass with slashed wrists (Glass slippers can change your life ...) and gets banned for breaking the rules of Fairyland (no love between humans and fairies unless the Fairy Elders saw it in the bark of trees). Back in NYC, as an eightysomething, she gets the chance to redeem herself when she can set up her boss, a wealthy freshly divorced man, with the hair stylist that sold books there once. 2. The other point of view is somewhat darker. Lil is still an old lady but she escaped into a fantasy world after her younger sister committed suicide (The whole story is that they sneaked out in 1952 to go to a place where they shouldn't have been and Lil grabs her sister's boyfriend/ex-boyfriend to get into a club and let her sister stay behind. It's very likely that men raped the girl (the headline just said "society girl takes own life after violent attack").). Lil turns her younger sister into Cinderella in her mind and telling herself that she failed to protect Cinderella although it was her duty as godmother. At the end of the story she believes that the Fairy Elder redeemed her and she would go back to Fairyland, but she just kills herself when she jumps into the water of the Hudson. (hide spoiler)]

  27. 5 out of 5

    Laurel-Rain

    What would happen if the Fairy Godmother, who was supposed to get Cinderella to the Ball, totally messed up, for selfish reasons, and everything afterward changed the course of history forever? In this tale, we meet Lil, an elderly woman who works in a bookstore in New York City. She is isolated and lonely, but she dreams about another time, another place, and about love. And every night when she goes home, she unwraps her bandages and unfurls her wings. And wishes that things could be different. What would happen if the Fairy Godmother, who was supposed to get Cinderella to the Ball, totally messed up, for selfish reasons, and everything afterward changed the course of history forever? In this tale, we meet Lil, an elderly woman who works in a bookstore in New York City. She is isolated and lonely, but she dreams about another time, another place, and about love. And every night when she goes home, she unwraps her bandages and unfurls her wings. And wishes that things could be different. She is on a mission, however; she has just met a beautiful young woman—Veronica—who would be perfect for her boss, George, a handsome yet lonely man. If she can get these two together—there's even a ball coming up!—then maybe she will find redemption! Yes, then she could go home. She could be a fairy again. Will this fairytale have a happy ending? Can Lil make up for the sins of the past? As we follow her journey, back and forth, between the past and the present, we hold our breath...and hope. In the final pages, as we reach the startling conclusion, we begin to wonder if anything is really the way it seems. And even as we long for that happily-ever-after, we suspect that even more surprises are in store for us. "Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story" is a tantalizing exploration of life, love, and what happens after. Five stars are not enough!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Kimmel

    Well, well, well…I almost feel like I dated this book. There was so much emotion and epicness and then…nothing. It was all a farce. I don’t get why the author went through so much effort to describe in detail the fairy kingdom and the events that happened 300 years ago just to be like “Gotcha!” Why write the book if you’re not going to commit to it? The ending was such a slap in the face. I guess I can appreciate that Lillian made up the Godmother scenario in her head to run away from the truth Well, well, well…I almost feel like I dated this book. There was so much emotion and epicness and then…nothing. It was all a farce. I don’t get why the author went through so much effort to describe in detail the fairy kingdom and the events that happened 300 years ago just to be like “Gotcha!” Why write the book if you’re not going to commit to it? The ending was such a slap in the face. I guess I can appreciate that Lillian made up the Godmother scenario in her head to run away from the truth of what happened to her sister, but…I was so let down…There was no real magic…Just a sad old lady who pretended to have a second chance so much that she even killed herself (unintentionally) trying to hold on to the fantasy she created. I felt so bad for Lillian. This a story that people can read and think of their own grandmothers as Lillian…I certainly did. I loved the deep descriptions of the ways of the fairies and the prince’s kingdom. The part in the book where Lillian sees a painting of what happened to Cinderella in a museum really got me going. That was a big “woah” moment for me. Veronica was a cute character. She’s a woman who wears her heart on her sleeve and tries to find the beauty in everything…even if she creates it, herself. It gives you a different take on the elements of a not-so-happily-ever-after.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    What if the version of Cinderella that has been passed down through the years wasn't quite right? Perhaps the fairy godmother didn't resemble a plump bag of potatoes and was constantly tested by her strong feelings for all things human. Lil is an old woman now, ekeing out a small life for herself in Manhattan, working at a bookstore, and always thinking of the past--her sister and best friends. At night, she goes home alone to her apartment, sinks into a hot bath and lets her wings unfurl. Lil, y What if the version of Cinderella that has been passed down through the years wasn't quite right? Perhaps the fairy godmother didn't resemble a plump bag of potatoes and was constantly tested by her strong feelings for all things human. Lil is an old woman now, ekeing out a small life for herself in Manhattan, working at a bookstore, and always thinking of the past--her sister and best friends. At night, she goes home alone to her apartment, sinks into a hot bath and lets her wings unfurl. Lil, you see, is that fairy who was destined to get Cinderella and the prince together, but something went terribly wrong. Now, with her apartment being sold and turned into offices, Lil begins to have a sense of urgency about her purpose among all these humans. Enter the luminous Veronica, the girl Lil believes will fulfill her destiny. The ball is a charity gala, the prince is Lil's boss, George, and Veronica will do nicely as the Cinderella stand-in. All around her, Lil sees sadness and glimpses of what she believes are the fairies, readying for the time she will finally rejoin them.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Matteson

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I really thought that by the time I finished this book, I would have definitely given it 5 stars. The premise is excellent, as I love magical realism, especially when it is geared towards adults. However, as I read on, I became bored, as I felt a lot of the language was redundant and did not move the story along. Also, I was confused by Lil's age, as it seemed she was really an old woman, not an old fairy woman who lived for centuries. And guess what? She's the former, and that totally threw me I really thought that by the time I finished this book, I would have definitely given it 5 stars. The premise is excellent, as I love magical realism, especially when it is geared towards adults. However, as I read on, I became bored, as I felt a lot of the language was redundant and did not move the story along. Also, I was confused by Lil's age, as it seemed she was really an old woman, not an old fairy woman who lived for centuries. And guess what? She's the former, and that totally threw me for a loop! I do like suspense and twists, but this really came out of nowhere, and I really felt let down that Lil was not a magical fairy returning to her fairy land. I also didn't care for Lil and George's relationship, as they had been working together for years, but it seemed all of a sudden they were best buddies. I'll actually rate this 3.5 stars, as I do like the idea of a suicidal Cinderalla. I mean, who wouldn't be with the life that Cinderella led? Well, this is just my humble opinion, and I do look forward to reading other stories by this author.

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