FANTASY:  Twisted and misshapen from a traumatic breech birth, Cindra is obviously different from her beautiful family.  Horrified by her newborn daughter, Cindra’s mother casts her aside and banishes her to the nursery.  Nicknamed Cinder-Ugly, and taunted mercilessly by her sisters, Cindra is neglected socially and emotionally.  When Cindra can no longer be confined to the nursery, she is sent to the kitchen where she finds her place among the servants.  Engaged and home from his studies abroad, her brother Robin is appalled at the family’s treatment of Cindra and takes her with him to his new home where Cindra finds love and belonging. Seeking Robin’s advice, Prince Rupert is a frequent visitor to the house and soon finds respite from his royal duties sitting in Cindra’s garden. When the death of the king and rumors of impending war disrupts the peaceful bubble of the garden, Cindra must choose her fate.

Based on the tale of Cinderella, “Cinder-Ugly” is a masterful spin on an old tale. Laura Strickland takes us beyond the fairytale and the ballroom and gives the reader a story full of pain and heartbreak, wonderfully balanced with hope and love.  Readers looking for a fairytale romance will find that in spades but will also be surprised by the depth of emotion that comes out as the plot twists and turns from the joyful to the truly horrific. Familiar elements are presented in new ways that turn the classic fairytale upside down and brings a wonderful new life and fresh perspective to a classic.  Readers will most definitely want to add “Cinder Ugly” to their list! 

Elissa Blabac