Of Cinder and Madness (Once Upon a Darkened Night #1)


FAIRYTALE:  Lady Angelique’s world is one of fear — of her stepdaughter, Eleanor. Ever since she was a young child, Eleanor has displayed strange behavior. After the death of her father, however, the strange behavior turned dangerous, and Angelique locked her away in a tower.  She longs to help Eleanor become a normal girl, but fear for her life and that of her daughters keeps her from truly helping. With an important Royal Ball upcoming, and Eleanor's condition steadily worsening, Lady Angelique must make some life-changing decisions. Can she ever truly help her stepdaughter, or will Eleanor become so evil that no one will be able to save her — not even the ones who love her the most?

Switching between the past and the present, “Of Cinder and Madness” gives readers a retelling of the classic story of Cinderella from the “wicked’ stepmother’s perspective. Telling a side of the story not told before, readers are given a peek into a magical, deadly, and exciting world. At times however, the story is slow, due to Lady Angelique’s inaction. The story often stutters, and sometimes stops completely. To a reader, the retelling of a story can sometimes feel a bit mundane if not done correctly. With that, the ending of the book is quite unexpected, and adds some exciting action to the previously slow spots. Overall, lovers of fairy tales will not be disappointed with the interesting, almost teasing way author Nicole Zoltack unlocks each character's past, and the depth she accords them. 

Hannah Hurdle