Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Turgeon is not your typical happily ever after fairy tale. This is not Cinderella's story. This is a dark retelling with themes of aging and redemption from past mistakes.
Lil is a lonely old woman struggling to make ends meet. She works for George, a divorced man, who owns a bookstore in Manhattan. Lil's only pleasure is reading the rare books she sells. Her nights are spent alone in her apartment. But Lil has a secret. Bound beneath her clothes are beautiful white feathery wings, all that's left of her previous life. Once she was a fairy, and not just any old fairy, but the very one responsible for dressing Cinderella and getting her to the ball for the fated meeting with Prince Charming. But Lil took one look at the Prince and fell in love. She took Cinderella's place and went to the ball in her human guise. It was an unforgivable sin in her world. Fairies were not meant to feel the emotions of humans. For her mistake, she was banished to live among the humans, never to see her magical world or her fairy sisters again. One day a woman comes into the shop, a hairdresser who loves old things and falls for the wrong men. Lil connects with Victoria and when her boss needs a date for a charity ball she believes this is a chance to make things right. If she can bring George and Victoria together she can redeem herself and she'll be allowed to return to the fairy realm.
This engaging and highly original story switches between present day New York and Lil's former life as a fairy. Although the pace is sometimes slow, it's beautifully written and the descriptions of the city will make you feel like you're there. Lil is a complex character and the first person narrative allows readers to get into her head and experience her psychological state, which is often sad and depressing. There are twists and turns and a surprising ending that is open to interpretation. If you are looking for a sweet romantic tale, this is not it. This is a bittersweet tale with a haunting and thought provoking ending.
Publisher: Three Rivers Press; 1 edition (March 3, 2009)
Paperback: 288 Pages