A(nother) recommendation via Cannonball Read-ish/Pajiba.
I wouldn’t call this revelatory or a retelling in the vein of McKinley, but it’s definitely the bones of the Cinderella story transplanted to a Regency-ish setting. And I can’t deny that I, personally, enjoyed it quite a bit (as a matter of fact, here is what happened–I started reading this yesterday night, had to put it away because I was very sleepy, and then woke up early this morning remembering that I was reading something I liked without recollecting exactly what it was because I read and/or started a few books yesterday. It was only when I re-opened my Kindle that I remembered that it was this book, at which point I got back into it.)
Here is another story: junior year of high school, fall term everyone read some Austen. I, like most classes, read Pride and Prejudice (one class definitely did Persuasion) (although by that point I’d already read it). One note I’ll always remember is my teacher reminding us that at the end of the day, P&P is essentially a fairy tale, because the idea of a man of Mr. Darcy’s stature showing up at a county ball being held in Hertfordshire was akin to the Prince of England showing up at a school dance, or something similar.
This tale is very similar…which it does not pretend not to be, it is a Fairy Tale and openly so. The plot contrivances are weak, the relative locations/durations of time are fuzzy (how exactly does one travel causally to Tunisia from GermanyFranceish on a whim in Regency England?), characters’ occupations are Regency RomCom (hunky archaeologist and sexy sinewy property manager), and the entire storyline takes place in a single castle over the course of a week(?). This is the trope Enemies At First Sight To More writ large.
Do I love this book/will I re-read it? Unlikely! But! Did I hate it? Not in the slightest. Strong emotions aside, I actually really enjoyed this chemise ripper. Kate and Gabriel remained firmly on this side of realistic witty repartee, which can come off as stilted or anachronistic very quickly. She wasn’t magically brilliant (no governess or formal education, how could she be) but realistically self assured, and her non-fairy godmother was just the right touch of whimsy to pull her up. Enjoyable read and a good way to end a holiday reading sprint 😀