Ever After by Wendy Loggia
What the Back of the Book Has to Say:
By the time Danielle is eight years old, her mother and father have died and she has been left in the care of her new stepmother, the Baroness Rodmilla of Ghent. Twelve years later, the baroness and her two daughters have made Danielle their servant, giving her the nickname Cindersoot and order her everyday to chop firewood, tend the grounds and clean the manor house.
When Prince Henry of France begins a search for a wife, the baroness intends to make sure her beautiful daughter Marguerite becomes his bride. But when Danielle and the prince meet by chance one day, sparks fly. The baroness will do everything within her power to keep her servant from becoming the Queen of France.
Based on the classic story of Cinderella by Charles Penault, Ever After is a historical romance that is certain to charm and delight modern readers.
Why I Picked It Up:
I honestly don't know.
What I Think:
Now, I can't say that I normally read novelizations of movies. It's a very strange genre of book. It's not quite a book because it is very obviously drawing upon another source and usually, if you're reading it in the first place, it's because you saw the movie. While some might see this as a drawback, I do have to say that there is one nice thing about them, one advantage that they have by simply being what they are.
The novelization can draw upon a reader's prior knowledge of the plot and leave a lot of obvious information by the wayside to dig deeper. The reader knows who the characters are and why they're doing what they're doing; what they maybe don't know is what's driving a character, what their inner dialogue is during key points of the plot. This is a chance to make the movie more into a fleshed out story instead of a screenplay.
Ever After did not do any of this.
The movie Ever After, if you aren't aware, is a historical romance retelling of the Cinderella story. The heroine is a plucky girl named Danielle (played by Drew Barrymore) who is an orphan living with her stepmother and two stepsisters who treat her like a servant. Despite all this, however, she tries to live happily, making friends with the servants, going into town, and eventually accidently meeting the prince and pretending to be a gentlewoman so she can continue hanging out with him. Leonardo Da Vinci is even a side character in all this tomfoolery and I could honestly not tell you why.
The novel was a basic retelling of the story with lines lifted directly from the movie. After checking the Amazon reviews (always a hilarious thing to do with bad books), I found that, apparently, a lot of lines had been changed but to some sort of oddly worse interpretation. I didn't think that was possible.
The author is a romance novelist for teens and it shows. Now, to be fair, I know I'm not really the target audience of this book but give a girl a break: even at thirteen, I think I would know drivel when I read it. The whole point of the movie is that it's a more modernist perspective on Cinderella, where Danielle is a stronger character and a personality to play off of the prince, rather than just wait for him to show up with a shoe. This is all thrown by the wayside in the novel, where Danielle is entranced by his dreamy looks, even if she does discuss a little bit of politics and Thomas More with him.
The story is virtually identical in the movie (as, I suppose, it should be) so if you liked the movie, then you will probably not mind this book. It's a quick read; I think I read it in a day, on the train to work and then home again. If you're looking for something to take up an afternoon, then this could easily be it.
To be honest, I'm a little disappointed in myself. I loved this movie the first time I saw it when I was eleven. I watched it again at nineteen and realized that it was kind of crap. For some reason, however, I saw it at the library and thought "Oh, this could be good." I don't like the movie. Why did I pick it up?