Do you like fairy tales? Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story is a fascinating read by Carolyn Turgeon. The main character is Lil, a fairy godmother who was cast out from her kingdom and forced to live as a human because she fell in love with the Prince.
The author weaves a mesmerizing tale of overwhelming desire, heartbreaking loss and the search for redemption. Her storytelling evokes images of those long-ago days where, at least on the surface, right and wrong seemed so obvious. It was place where princes were good and a time where choices were clear. While this is what makes the protagonist’s decision is so blindingly wrong, it is also what makes us empathize with Lil.
Presently, Lil works in a very dusty old bookstore in Manhattan; Lil is a little dusty herself, having been living her human existence close to 300 years. She misses her fairy world, her sister and friends with a deep and painful sadness. She knows she does not belong to the human world, but failing as Cinderella’s fairy godmother leaves her banished, old and alone. The only vestige of her previous life are her glorious white wings that she must keep hidden.
She is employed by George, the handsome son of a wealthy New York family. George spends his days buying collections of old books and nursing his wounds from a recent divorce. Lil longs to help him find someone so he can love and be happy again. After meeting Veronica, a beauty with wounds of her own, Lil realizes that in order to get back to the world she loves, she needs to be the fairy godmother that brings George and Veronica together.
Lil begins to see that by aiding the couple, she will be redeemed and returned to her fairy self, sister and kingdom. She becomes aware of the presence of fairies all around her in a series of signs that give her hope and strength, for she believes “What occurs in the world of faerie will become manifest in the world of men.”
Though there is a twist that makes you re-think all that you’ve read before, the book is well-written and one I am glad I read. Is Lil who she thinks she is? Or is her mind masking the reality of what happened to save her from even more pain and sadness? Who is Lil, really? I am now more interested in reading the author’s next book Mermaid to see if it will follow a similar trajectory. Now if only they would stop putting those annoying book club questions at the end. They make me feel like I have to read Silas Marner next.
3 of 5 Stars
Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Turgeon
Published 2009 by Three Rivers Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York