by Shonna Slayton
Release Date: 10/06/15
The war may be over, but Kate Allen’s life is still in upheaval. Not only has she discovered that Cinderella was real, but now she's been made Keeper of the Wardrobe, her sole responsibility to protect Cinderella’s magical dresses from the greed of the evil stepsisters’ modern descendants.
But Cinderella’s dresses are just the beginning. It turns out that the priceless glass slippers might actually exist, too, and they could hold the power to reunite lost loved ones like her father—missing in action since World War II ended. As Kate and her boyfriend, Johnny, embark on an adventure from New York to Italy and Poland in search of the mysterious slippers, they will be tested in ways they never imagined.
Because when you harness Cinderella's magic, danger and evil are sure to follow...
The First Book in The Series: Cinderella's Dress
The History Behind the Story of Cinderella’s Shoes
Cinderella’s Shoes is set during the summer of 1947, and takes place mostly in Europe.
Have you ever thought about what life was like in Europe after World War II?
Well, immediately after the war ended in 1945, life was about the same as it was during the war. Roads and railroads were still bombed out. Bridges were still out of commission.
Food was still rationed. And the black market was still the place to get the products you really wanted.
People were angry. Some wanted revenge. And who exactly was in charge of keeping the peace?
This is the background my European characters are coming out of when my American characters arrive on the scene.
In my research I read about many of the atrocities committed during the war, and those that were allowed to happen immediately afterward to “help” people deal with their emotions and settle back into regular, non-wartime life.
(For example, Google: WWII head shaving.)
Various countries handled this change in power differently, and this transitional time led to the rise of communism in Poland, the heart of my Cinderella stories.
But Cinderella’s Shoes is mostly a fairy-tale story, so I don’t go into gruesome details, just hint at events that might have occurred in my character’s lives. However, I couldn’t avoid the setting, nor could I forget what I had learned.
Neither could my characters.
For many young girls, there is no better dress than the one that graces the pages of the fairy tale Cinderella. In their wistful imaginations, they close their eyes and transport themselves to The Ball in their magical new gown sewn with magic, searching for Prince Charming. But the story doesn’t end there. We all know that at the stroke of Midnight, Cinderella must dash away as to not reveal her true identity. But in her wake, she leaves behind one token that proves her existence. The magnificent glass slipper. These shoes have spurred many a dream and an abundance of shoe addictions. These are the shoes to rule them all. But what if these shoes were real? Would they hold the same magical powers as predicted in the story told for generations and generations hence? Or, would they be even more powerful than we could have ever imagined. This is what Shonna Slayton explores in the sequel to her first book, Cinderella’s Dress.
Shonna Slayton has landed upon a very interesting angle in which to work the fairytale retelling craze by not simply remaking the Disney version of Cinderella. Instead, she has taken a story that we all know, and made it the derivative of her own original plot. While the story rotates around the crux that is Cinderella’s story, she creates her own plane of reality, which is set in the era of the 1940’s. Slayton picks up where she left off in Cinderella’s Dress by immediately addressing the absence of the shoes. So if you haven’t read the first book, TURN BACK NOW or you may encounter some spoilers. However I will do my best to conceal any major plot points.
I appreciate where Slayton has taken each of her characters. Now that the war has ended, her characters are now left to live in the post-war world, which leaves them all changed in their own way. War touches everyone, and Slayton does a great job of showing that, even in the most subtle of ways. Each character has evolved and has begun to grow into themselves. Each character is well rounded and has their individual arch which is something that not many authors achieve. Her follow through in this development is very well done and not hard to miss.
In the first book, I felt that there may have been an imbalance when it came to the plot about just Kate’s day to day life as opposed to her life in reference to being a Keeper of the Wardrobe. There was a lot of backstory that I felt could have been left behind, and not enough about the dress. In fact, there would be several chapters with no mention whatsoever about the dresses. However I wanted to keep going and see how things changed in the second book. I believe that Slayton has found a better balance between the plot about Kate, and the plot about Kate and the story of Cinderella. It is a difficult task to manage two seemingly similar plot lines throughout the same story, and I believe that Slayton has gotten better at this with the practice of writing this series. I do still wish that there was more in reference to the legend of Cinderella, but perhaps that is not the goal of the book. In any case, I enjoyed the plot for what it is, and will not try to wish it into being something else.
I appreciate the attention to detail that Slayton has placed on the accuracy in this work. Her nuances are spot on, all the way down to the slang the teenagers used in that time. I love this time period, and its existence in this book was the second reason I was so drawn to this book, the first being that it was about the wardrobe of Cinderella. For this, I very much enjoyed being ushered into that time in a realistic way. It was refreshing to take a break from 2015 and relax in the times of the 1940’s, even though that time period was nothing but chaotic. The fact that I was able to so vividly picture the reality Slayton has created within the confines of the 1940s is only further proof that her development of the story in this regard is sound.
I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars I was so very excited to read this book and its predecessor, but it some ways was left wanting. When the title is Cinderella’s Shoes, you expect the majority of the book to be dedicated to that purpose. What I encountered was closer to half. So in this regard I was slightly disappointed. However, the rest of the book and its charms were quite refreshing and a pleasant read. It was delightful to read a story that took me back to a rich time period and engrossed me as soon as I arrived. For this, the book is outstanding. Should the intertwining of the stories been more seamless and balanced, the work would be perfect.
SHONNA SLAYTON is the author of the YA novels Cinderella's Dress, (Summer 2014) and Cinderella's Shoes (Fall 2015) published by Entangled Teen. She finds inspiration in reading vintage diaries written by teens, who despite using different slang, sound a lot like teenagers today. When not writing, Shonna enjoys amaretto lattes and spending time with her husband and children in Arizona.