Friday, May 10, 2013

Cinderella - An Art Deco Love Story by Lynn and David Roberts (Pavilion Children's Books)

Lynn and David Roberts' genius reworkings of classic fairy tales enter the roaring twenties with this utterly fantastic take on Cinderella.

Even if you're so familiar with the tale that you think you can't possibly bear to see another version of it, take a deep breath and dive in because here the re-treatment works wonders, and breathes fresh life into the story.

Cinderella (or Helga as she's known at the start of the book) lives with her father, and has a fairly carefree existence. That is until the short-sighted scatterbrained buffoon disappears for a couple of weeks on a business trip, and comes back with a new wife and two new stepsisters for Helga in tow.

Before long, mother and daughters are ruling the roost and poor Helga is promptly evicted from her beautiful room, has her lovely clothes stolen by the sisters, and is forced to live a life of servitude below stairs as Cinderella (so called because her bed is next to the kitchen stove, and every morning she wakes up covered in cinders).

When the King announces a grand ball will be held to find a bride for his son the Prince, Cinderella and her sisters are all a-flutter, until the wicked stepmother puts a plan in place to ensure Cinders is left at home, while her two girls are paraded in front of the Prince himself.

Luckily, as we all know, Cinderella has a Fairy Godmother who bestows a beautiful (and slightly racy) backless gown on our heroine, and produces an amazing car for her to travel to the ball in.

I'm sure you'll probably know the ins and outs of what happens next. Suffice to say that Lynn Roberts' retelling is fun, and David Roberts' fashion industry background and eye for well-researched detail (LOVED the Tamara Lempicka tribute) are what make this book an utter joy.

We've yet to experience Lynn and David's version of Rapunzel but if it's anywhere near as good as this (and the previously reviewed Little Red), we'll be grabbing it as soon as we can.

Charlotte's best bit: Cinderella's amazing car - with its white-mice tyres.

Daddy's favourite bit: As a bit of an art-deco fanboy there are so many nods to the period's furniture, fashion and even crockery in this book. A feast for the eyes and certainly one of the best retellings of Cinderella we've read.

1 comment:

John Paul Catton said...

What an excellent idea! I'll be tracking this down.