A very dark and steamy take on the Cinderella story!
You discover right away that this retelling of the Cinderella story was going to be much darker than the original. Not that the original wasn’t a bit dark in its own way. I mean we do know that the evil stepmother most likely killed the King, whether it be by poisoning him or inducing a heart attack in some other way. Also she basically stole Cinderella’s inheritance, used her for slave labor and verbally abused her if nothing else.
However, this story begins even darker for Ella, who lost her mother at a young age and moves from France to England with her father when her marries her stepmother. Narcissa is a beautiful woman who has two daughters, Lavinia and Magnolia and all three of them seem to hate Ella no matter what she does to try to get them to like her.
One day when they are out shopping, her father promises her they can take the train home because she has always wanted to ride the train. Narcissa and the girls complain that it is too dirty and they should take the car. But her father promised Ella. When they get down to the station two men with knives rob them and while her father protects Ella, he is stabbed and killed. Narcissa and her daughters blame Ella and make her pay for it from that day forward.
Ella’s one reprieve from the horrible home life is the animal rescue farm where she volunteers her time whenever she can. However, it is in danger of shutting down due to lack of funds. Ella keeps writing to the prince to see if he will support the charity but fears he is not getting her letters so she wants to attend the masquerade ball he is holding. Her wealthy friend Charlotte can’t attend so is giving Ella her ticket.
Ella ends up capturing the attention of a broody Norwegian prince who is next in line to the throne. His name is Thorsen (a.k.a. Thor) and he is known for being hated and a jerk. Ella feels that he tricked her at the ball and when he shows up at the animal rescue farm she doesn’t quite know what to think. But before she knows it, he has drugged her and kidnapped her to Norway.
From then on this is quite a fantastic hate to love story. Both of these characters are damaged in their own way, but while Thor is afraid to feel anything because of being burned too many times, Ella is the kind of caring person that he needs. But will he push her too far?
I really liked their dynamic and their backgrounds and the romance was hot. There were some BDSM elements and Dominant/submissive power exchange scenes as well as talk about childhood abuse, so if you have issues with any of that you may not want to read this book. But I really enjoyed this retelling of Cinderella. I liked this broody and dark prince. He had lost all hope of ever really being loved and was at a very low point in his life.
The original tale of Cinderella never really went into much about the prince. Other than the fact that he wanted to choose his own bride. In this one we get to see the prince as a real guy, flaws and all. Tall, Dark, Handsome, Broody, Jerk, Dominant, Possessive, Sexy, Kidnapper, and King. And did I forget well endowed?