Valentine Week: Fairytale Fantasy #6

Cinderella Retelling number 3

If you missed the introduction to this year’s Fairytale Fantasy series of posts, find it HERE.

Laura Wood’s A Single Thread of Moonlight

Find the book on Wood’s web site (and check out all the other goodies there).

Laura Wood’s Cinderella-themed YA novel (Scholastic, 2021) is a lovely read, my favorite of the Cinderella re-tellings I’ve discussed in this Valentine Week blog series. Marketing copy claims this is a book for “the Bridgerton generation” and “perfect for Jane Austen fans,” all implying this novel is Regency romance set in the early 19th century. It’s not–it is set in the England of 1899, just at the end of the Victorian era. But it IS romance, not fantasy. There’s no magic in it at all. The Cinderella theme, though, is not simply tacked on but interwoven into the plot–a mystery plot!–and very skillfully, too.

The book’s epigraph is from The Count of Monte Cristo, and Wood’s novel is indeed a tale of revenge and a disguised, wronged main character. Her love interest has an equally intriguing sub-plot involving the same rich stew, and the intersection of these two characters and their schemes to right terrible wrongs is very satisfying.

The main character, Iris, is spunky and sparkling, the love interest Nick is sardonic and aloof but a swoony guy underneath the rough exterior–catnip for many a reader of historical romance. Even better, the two of them partner up to solve an intriguing mystery involving an imposing, opulent old Downton-Abbey-esque manor house. The novel exhibits its YA creds by having Iris tell the whole thing in the first person.

I suppose a lot of the plot elements are improbable, but I didn’t care. I can’t speak for most readers, but I was swept away and willingly suspended my disbelief. The premise is this: Iris, an heiress, is mistreated by an evil step-mother after her father’s suspicious death. Fearing she’ll be next, Iris flees to London and hides out there, pretending to be a seamstress as she makes use of the needlework skills imparted by her mother. She’s her own fairy godmother, sewing her own ball gown for the big scene where she attracts the attention of an actual prince.

Here’s just one example of how much fun this book is to read:

Iris, on the topic of her disguise and her ruse to regain her inheritance and solve the mystery:

You see, people always assume that I’m the pretty little piece of embroidery.
But I’m not.
I am the needle.

–from chapter one

What fun! Historical romance, cozy mystery, old house setting–this book has everything (except fantasy, so some readers of this blog may not want to go there). I really enjoyed this novel.

NEXT (and last) UP: Valentine Week Fairytale Fantasy recap

One thought on “Valentine Week: Fairytale Fantasy #6

  1. Pingback: Valentine Week: Fairytale Fantasy #5 – Fantastes

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