As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

June 1, 2015

CINDERELLA'S DRESS by Shonna Slayton, 2014

Being a teen-ager during World War II is tough. Finding out you're the next keeper of the real Cinderella's dress is even tougher. Kate simply wants to create window displays at the department store where she's working, trying to help out with the war effort. But when long-lost relatives from Poland arrive with a steamer trunk they claim holds the Cinderella's dress, life gets complicated. Now, with a father missing in action, her new sweetheart shipped off to boot camp, and her great aunt losing her wits, Kate has to unravel the mystery before it's too late. After all, the descendants of the wicked stepsisters will stop at nothing to get what they think they deserve. (Goodreads)

Reviewed by Julie, Children's lit enthusiast and pop culture geek

Shonna Slayton has created a fun, escapist novel where many of my loves--historical fiction, fairy tales, and coming-of-age stories--intersect.  CINDERELLA'S DRESS revolves around Kate, a seventeen-year-old who uncovers magical family secrets.  Set during World War II, CINDERELLA'S DRESS has the hallmarks of a good historical fiction novel--with just a touch of magic.

Slayton creates new mythology that will fascinate any Cinderella fan.  According to her long-lost Polish relatives, Kate is a direct descendent of the real Cinderella.  As a "keeper of the dress," Kate must keep Cinderella's gown, locked in a trunk for safekeeping, out of harm's way.  Kate soon learns that the descendents of Cinderella's stepsisters are nearby--and they want to get their hands on the dress and the magic it contains.

The magic surrounding Cinderella's dress is intriguing, but I would have been happy enough reading about Kate herself, a teenager in the 1940s.  World War II is one of my favorite time periods in US history to read about, and Kate's perspective of life from the home front is educational and charming.  With her father, brother, and love interest all away at war, the weight of the war bears down hard on Kate.  She channels a lot of her energy into working at a department store, where she hopes to create window displays, silvers of brightness during dark times.  I particularly enjoyed these parts, which revealed some insight into the beautiful fashions of the time.

The only thing I didn't like about CINDERELLA'S DRESS: the ending arrived too quickly and conveniently, leaving some loose threads.  After I finished, I researched Shonna Slayton and her upcoming projects, and I learned that a sequel--CINDERELLA'S SHOES--will be published in the fall of 2015.  Already excited to continue Kate's story, I've added CINDERELLA'S SHOES to my never-ending "To Be Read" list.

Market: YA fiction
Violence:  None
Language:  None
Sensuality:  Mild romance between sweethearts!
Adult Themes: War and its effects, family ancestry

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