"Etienne de Brabant is brokenhearted. His wife has died in
childbirth, leaving him alone with an infant daughter he cannot bear to
name. But before he abandons her for king and court, he brings a second
child to be raised alongside her, a boy whose identity he does not
The girl, La Cendrillon, and the boy, Raoul, pass
sixteen years in the servants' care until one day a very fine lady
arrives with her two daughters. The lady has married La Cendrillon's
father, and her arrival changes their lives.
When an invitation
to a great ball reaches the family, La Cendrillon's new stepmother will
make a decision with far-reaching effects. Her choice will lead La
Cendrillon and Raoul toward their destiny -- a choice that will
challenge their understanding of family, test their loyalty and courage,
and, ultimately, teach them who they are."
Before Midnight (from the Once Upon a Time is Timeless series) was a delightful retelling of Cinderella. It changed several things about the story, including who the antagonist was (a bit), and added some really fun political intrigue.
It did not, however, remove all the love at first sight. There were six couples in the story, and four of them fell in love at first sight. The other two were arranged marriages and the parties hated each other. That was a bit annoying.
But, all in all, I enjoyed it. I give it four out of five stars.
Fair warning, I'll be reading a lot of retold fairytales over the next few weeks. I have a bookshelf full of books I bought at our library book sale that I haven't read yet, and several of them are in the Once Upon a Time is Timeless retold fairytales series. The shelf technically belongs to my sister, and she's informed me that she's going to start evicting books one by one, and the only way I'll be able to save them is to read them. The next one she's chosen is a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, in which Jack's sister has to save him. Should be fun.