Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wickedly Charming by Kristine Grayson

Plot: Mellie has been fighting what seems to be a loosing battle now for centuries. The image that was given to her because of her step-daughter Snow White.
Charming has grown older and just wants a normal life with his two daughters after his divorce from Cinderella.
Mellie and Charming bump into each other at a book fair in L.A. and decide they need to work together to change both their images.  Soon the two are writing a novel together based on Mellie's side of the Snow White story. Before long, the cozy world they have created for themselves is threatened by members of the Fairy Tale Kingdoms. Does Prince Charming still have what it takes to be a hero to his favourite Evil Step-Mother or will reality crash their dreams?

Rarely do I find a novel that I think is just so unique that I wonder why I didn't think of it myself.   This is that book.

This is a book about books.  It's seen through the eyes of a book lover and a first time writer (the character not the author) which gives it a sweetness you almost never see.  From the moment the two leads meet in an awkward hallway to the scene where they are in coffee shop battling side by side, you know their chemistry works on many levels.

We meet Mellie, in the middle of a protest for her group PETA - People for the Ethical Treatment of Archetypes- a woman who  has been given a bad rap in her home world and is just trying to help those who are part of the Fairy Tale worlds.  She is all business, and other then having a very long life span, no longer has any magic.
Already twice widowed, she's not looking for love or marriage or any of the trapping that come along with it.  The only problem is, so far no one is taking her seriously as she tries to explain that the books are lies and step-mothers are not evil.

Charming, who is now calling himself Dave, does not see himself as the hero his stories paint him to be. He views himself as a divorced dad of two, who just wants to run a book store. Which is why he does not understand Mellie's protest or current desire to ban a large chunk of books.  He manages to convince Mellie that her best way of getting people to listen is to use the media/medium to her advantage by writing a book on the very topic.

Both characters are given very human desires, insecurities, talents and issues that help to bind them to the real world, while still holding them in a fairy tale setting.
I loved the idea that both were attracted to the other for centuries (having meet years before at events) but are both too shy to react on it at first. Each having that give and take of feeling like they are the only one wanting the relationship adds major weight to their pairing.  I loved how the author examined their personal insecurities while pointing out that they were not teenagers, but that love/lust at any age can cause misunderstandings.

This does more then just deliver a great budding romance, it puts some much needed value on not just step-moms, but older women. It also firmly establishes that women's fiction  isn't just for women. One of the sub-plots is that Charming, is an advocate for the genre. The character of his oldest daughter also reinforces this idea later on when she makes a comment about how that's her dad's job, to stand up for damsels in distress.

With the hundreds of fairy tales out there, the choice of using Snow White and Cinderella as the backgrounds, was the author's ace.  I giggled out loud at the idea of Cinderella (Ella in the book) being a gold digger of sorts. As well as the idea that Snow White was not as pure as she's been white washed to be (pardon the pun) 
The author manages to bring you along two very different paths that somehow merger perfectly into one very emotional and believable plot. (Snow White's husband being a creepy Necrophiliac really makes you rethink that fairy tale's ending) 

I'm told this is the first book in a Trilogy and I can only say, more more more!

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