My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this twisted re-telling of "Cinderella" mixed with a new take on the land of Fairy Godmothers (and Godfathers). Right off the bat I enjoyed the sexual tension between Tiernan and Reina. I always love a good story that starts out with one party being infatuated with the other, and the second party either being oblivious, or very aware of the fact, but not willing to engage. In Tiernan and Reina's case it was the latter. Reina disapproves of the fact that Tiernan was granted a wish by an inept Fairy Godmother that allowed him to become the one and only Fair Godfather. She is determined to have him removed from duty and sent far away from her. However, Tiernan has other plans. He was besotted by Reina the very first time he laid eyes on her.
"Her face was every secret desire he'd ever had come alive, every wish he never made for fear of being prideful."
Things get a little tricky though whenever the Elf King hatches a plan to have Tiernan's Fairy Godfather status revoked (which would result in him being returned to his mortal state and his imminent death due to a horrible wound he had sustained moments before wishing to be a Fairy Godfather). He accuses Tiernan of not producing any HEA's (Happily Ever Afters), and that he is a failure as a Fairy Godfather. The truth is that Tiernan isn't a failure, but thinks that it is more important for the people he helps to fall in love and not miss out on being content for the rest of their lives, rather than risk it all for a fantastical HEA ending. Plus, the Elf King is really only upset that Tiernan has turned down the advances of the Elf King's daughter, so wants him banished. The Fairy Godmother council determines that Tiernan will have one last chance to secure a HEA, and appoints Fairy Godmother Reina to assist him and make sure that the Elf King does not attempt to sabotage Tiernan's HEA. They are sent to help a young maiden named Cinderella find true love with a Prince. Now this is where the story got really good for me. Cinderella and the Prince are already in love - but the Prince has been incognito for years, posing as a messenger in his kingdom so that he can really get to know the common people. Cinderella is in love with him as a messenger, and has no idea that he is the Prince. However, their relationship has never proceeded past innocent flirting because Cinderella has been lied to by her stepsisters and stepmother about the ways of love between a man and a woman. She is scared to engage with men, because she is convinced that they will hurt her and it will be her fault. She is petrified of the sexual interaction between a man and a woman. Tiernan and Reina hatch a plan to help Cinderella overcome this fear and be more accepting of her sensual side so that she will feel comfortable excepting the advances of the Prince once he reveals who he is at the ball that is being hosted in honor of his "return." This master plan involves Tiernan and Reina putting on a show that they guarantee Cinderella will witness. This unconventional "education" of Cinderella is a success, and very, very, hot! Plus, it presents the perfect opportunity for Tiernan and Reina to relieve the sexual tension between the two of them that has been building for 30 years.
In the end (well we all know how this story ends), Cinderella gets her HEA, and Tiernan is allowed to remain a Fairy Godfather. But the events that transpired between him and Reina while on their assignment leave them both changed. He has tore down the walls around Reina's heart that she put up after her former fiancé broke her heart, and she has realized that she loves him, and that he has always loved her.
"I wanted you forever. I wanted your heart as well as your body."
After returning to Fairy land, the threat from the Elf King has been eliminated and Tiernan is welcomed back as a Fairy Godfather with open arms. However, he and Reina now have their very own HEA to go after and ask for a re-assignment. Danielle Monsch wraps it all up very nicely with a bow, revealing one last twist that I saw coming, but was glad that it happened because it completed the story perfectly.
My only complaint about this novella was that it was too short! I wanted more of these characters - more suspense and build-up - more of everything! It was very well written (like everything of Danielle Monsch's), and I was enjoying the story so much I didn't want it to end. I am glad, however, that I picked this up because I enjoyed it immensely. It is a very fun and engaging read that can (and should be) enjoyed in one sitting.
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