Being a teenager during World War II is tough. Finding out you’re the next keeper of the real Cinderella’s dresses 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 dresses, 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.
What I liked: Cinderella is one of my favorite fairy tales. It's hard to find a version that I won't enjoy. I loved the modern, real-life setting of this story. I have to admit, one of my favorite pieces of the book was the window decorating. As I was reading, I was picturing how majestic those huge store-front windows must have looked to Kate. Along with the story of finding and protecting Cinderella's dress, I got completely caught up in those windows!
I also enjoyed the different relationships that were shown in this book. The relationships Kate had with her family and friends were all so different and they all felt important. As far as characters go, I really enjoyed Johnny. There was a lot of depth to him that I initially wasn't expecting.
What left me wanting more: Honestly, I really enjoyed this book. I wish that the beginning of the story moved a little bit faster and we got to the "good stuff" earlier.
Final verdict: Fans of WWII fiction and fairy tale retellings will enjoy Cinderella's Dress.
What worked: This is a delightful tale that introduces us to Kate who longs to decorate department store windows to the horror of her mother. She wants Kate to be a model. This is right at the tail end of the second war where rations included no pantyhose and other essentials. Then one day an elderly couple come to their home from Poland with a trunk and rumors of a magical dress. This is where the story comes alive. Kate is curious about what is in that trunk and when her aunt hints that she is in fact the 'keeper' of that Cinderella's dress? Kate wants to know more. Add the descendants of the wicked stepsisters who are up to no good and want the dresses(yes, there are more than one!) for themselves and will do anything to get them. Plus, there has to be a cute boy in the mix and this story doesn't disappoint there!
I love the action, suspense, and the bubbling romance within the pages of this very engaging story! Kate's decisions aren't always the best and the consequences she and her family face are at times more than she thinks she can handle. The war backdrop add to the intrigue of who might have been behind the attempts at stealing the dress plus the mystery behind her father's disappearance. **There's a hint of the Monument Men here--men that went during the war to protect historical art treasures that the Nazis and others pilfered.
I also loved the relationship between Kate and her BFF Josie. She's funny and also very loyal even though she'd do just about anything to be the model that Kate turns down. Now that's a true friend! Johnny is the guy who at first comes off as a jerk but opens up to Kate.
The early 40s are shown in vivid and realistic details down to the dances to even the hang out places.
A fun, twist on the classic Cinderella tale that is sure to appeal to fans of lighter fantasies. Be prepared to be swept away!