I received this book for free for a Blog Tour in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Desperately Ever After by Laura Kenyon
Also by this author: Damsels in Distress
Series: Desperately Ever After #1
Also in this series: Damsels in Distress
Published by Self-Published on 30th January 2014
Genres: Chicklit, Fantasy, Fiction, General, Humour, Love & Romance, Romance
Source: for a Blog Tour
One part Sex and the City. Two parts Desperate Housewives.
Three parts Brothers Grimm.
Imagine what might happen if our most beloved fairy tale princesses were the best of friends and had the dreams, dilemmas, and libidos of the modern woman. How would their stories unfold after the wedding bells stopped ringing?
Set in a fictional realm based on New York City, DESPERATELY EVER AFTER sprinkles women’s fiction with elements of fantasy, and encourages readers to rethink everything they know about happy endings.
Years after turning her husband from beast back to man and becoming his queen, Belle finds out she’s finally going to have a child. But before she can announce the wondrous news, she catches him cheating and watches her “happily ever after” go up in flames.
Turning to her friends for the strength to land with grace, she realizes she’s not the only one at a crossroads:
- Cinderella, a mother of four drowning in royal duties, is facing her 30th birthday and questioning everything she’s done (or hasn’t) with her life.
- Rapunzel, a sex-crazed socialite and one-woman powerhouse, is on a self-destructive quest to make up for 20 years locked away in a tower.
- Penelopea, an outsider with a mother-in-law from hell, is harboring a secret that could ruin everything at any moment.
One part Sex and the City, two parts Desperate Housewives, and three parts Brothers Grimm, DESPERATELY EVER AFTER picks up where the original tales left off—and reimagines them a la Gregory Maguire’s Wicked.
With the wit of authors like Jennifer Weiner and the vision of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, the women of DESPERATELY EVER AFTER rescue each other from life’s trials with laughter, wine, and a scandalous new take on happily ever after.
Thank you to Shaz at Fiction Addiction Book Tours for letting me take part in this tour. As soon as I read the synopsis I knew I was going to LOVE this book. I am so glad it didn’t disappoint.
I’m sure you all know each and everyone of these princess’ stories but Laura buts an exciting twist on their happily ever after, which I loved.When the fairy tales ended we were all left to believe that each princess went off with their respective prince and the rest of their lives where bliss. Laura picks up her stories when they are all grown up. I liked that they were all dealing with everyday problems. Problem’s that you, me or our friend’s might face. It makes this story so easy to relate to.
Since I was a little girl I’ve always wanted to be Belle, so to see her life ripped apart upset me a little. I hated the way she had become this meek little woman who couldn’t stand up for herself.
Cindy’s having a mid-life crisis and thinks that she hasn’t achieved anything. She is only looking at the things she hasn’t achieved as opposed to the things she has.
Rapunzel is a feisty independent woman who deep down just wants to be loved. I enjoyed seeing Rapunzel’s and Belle’s friendship grow, they make quite the team.
Penny made me laugh, I really liked her character and hope to see more of her in future books.
It would have been nice to have had more scenes with Snow White and Dawn but maybe this wasn’t the right time for there story.
This book is extremely funny. I was literally laughing out loud in some places.
The one thing I took away from this book is that what you think will be your happily ever after can change. While it may not be the ending you expect or hoped for but that doesn’t mean it won’t be happy.
I am extremely glad there will be a sequel and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. I would love a book focusing on each of the princess.
The sequel, Damsels in Distress, is due out in August. It will continue Belle’s story, give Sleeping Beauty her time in the spotlight, and reveal a little more about Snow.
While the book is touring, the Kindle price has been reduced for both Amazon US and UK.
“Kenyon’s colorful imagery and often quick, lighthearted style makes it easy to keep flipping pages.”
~ The New Canaan Advertiser
“Laura Kenyon’s Desperately Ever After is part Disney princess, part Sex in the City, and part TMZ Celebrity Gossip Site … and it’s fabulous!” ~ Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie, blogger at Keep Calm and Write On
“…this book is hilarious, sweet, and ingenious.” ~ Whitney Reece, blogger at WordsWisdomWhitney
Cinderella sucked in and squirmed through the crystal tunnel, grasping for the surface as if her life depended on it. Lacking the breath to form actual words, she forced a silent pep talk. Just a few more inches. The triumph will be worth the pain. Come on, Cindy. Burrow.
She pressed on, praying her head would burst from the darkness before her heart pinched out her throat. Don’t breathe in. Air is the enemy here. Her mind ran wild with visions of front page jabs, of her husband’s once-adoring face bowed in disgust, of all her admirers and endorsements turning away for somebody younger … tighter … less mentally cluttered.
If she couldn’t fit into the ball gown that ten years ago elevated her from cinders to chiffon, she needed no further proof that her fairy tale was coming to an end. She’d probably turn into a sitcom travesty. “Fallen Royals: Where Are They Now?”
Suck it in, Cindy. Just a few more—
The snap shot through her bones. She gasped. Her chest sprung out like a slashed canister of crescent rolls. The roar was unmistakable. But rather than whip up and lament the fact that her iconic ball gown had just torn open, Cinderella froze for so long and in such an awkward position that Time itself must have admired her steadfast denial. Alas, the inlaid clock on her mantel clicked forward.
“Crackling snapdragons!” she shrieked, releasing her contorted spine and twirling around to make sure she was alone. Cursing didn’t befit a queen—even one with four kids and an eponymous social metaphor based on her life.
Just when she thought the coast was clear, a tap sounded on the door, followed by the voice of her youngest attendant.
“Is everything all right in there, miss?” Delia’s words sailed clearly though the doors separating the royal apartments from the rest of the castle.
She sighed. Perhaps life in a castle was luxurious in other kingdoms, but Carpale was the star of Marestam in every way—its central location, its bustling streets, its financial prowess, its grand train station, and its iconic castle (which was supposed to prove Parliament and local monarchies could cohabit as well as coexist). Life here was crowded and far too exposed. She couldn’t even sneeze without someone showing up with a cart full of tissues.
“Can I get you something?” Delia repeated from the hall.
Cindy stifled a laugh and glared at the gilded doors. Could she request her pre-motherhood waistline back? Or the last ten years of her life? “I’m fine,” she said, taking a calming breath. “But would you mind getting some of that special tea Rapunzel sent over?”
“The metabolism tea? Of course,” Delia sang. “It’ll go great with some of those chocolate biscuits and—”
“Don’t you dare!” The words splattered over her lips like Rapunzel’s third martini on a Wednesday. She shuddered. “Sorry—I mean—just the tea, please.”
If Delia acknowledged the apology, Cindy didn’t hear it as she freed herself from five layers of chiffon, extricated her heel from the underlying web of tulle, and dove into a far more reasonable ensemble: a velour tracksuit with “Royalty” (a gift from her eldest daughter, Sophie, who had a matching set) spelled out in gemstones. Dropping into her favourite armchair with the grace of an out-of-practice acrobat, she sighed and gazed into the plaster sky overhead. She really needed to get a grip.
For as long as she could remember, Cindy had faced obstacles with the perfect combination of strength and grace. From losing both her parents by age twelve to becoming her stepmother’s maid, she neither caved in nor lashed out during tough times. Even back then, she didn’t see the point in throwing unsightly hissy fits or steamrolling over innocent bystanders simply because her life wasn’t going well. It seemed far more effective to conceal all but a pinhole of resentment, complete her assigned tasks with the expected degree of care, and escape to her crawlspace at the end of the day to quietly plot her escape. Cindy believed it was this attitude (much more defining, she hoped, than her marriage alone) that prompted the Marestam Mirror to name her Woman of the Year five times in the last decade.
Lately, however—ever since “The Big Three-O” had wriggled within striking range—her good nature had fallen a bit askew. It started when she noticed that the upper left crease of her smile stopped flattening when she let her lips fall back down. Her first wrinkle. Then, when Sophie was fiddling with her hair one afternoon, she plucked out a “white wire” that was somehow entwined with the rest of her golden strands. When Cindy relayed these mortifying events to her husband, Aaron simply laughed, kissed her forehead, and said he knew a great colorist on State Street.
Thus began a month of anti-wrinkle treatments, crash diets, every exercise class known to man, and a dangerous, slightly masochistic journey through the memory trunk she kept in the back of her closet. In it, she found old love notes from Aaron; four baby blankets; a letter of Regal condolence honoring her mother (penned long before she became the author’s daughter-in-law); her father’s passport (last stamped on Cindy’s twelfth birthday, a week before he died); and a list of things she’d vowed to do before thirty, scrawled on the back of her stepmother’s list of “Chores and Punishments.”
Of all these bittersweet artifacts, it was the last piece that brought her to tears. This wasn’t because she’d come to terms with her mother’s death, or because she no longer missed hearing about her father’s overseas adventures. Nor was it because she still felt the stings of her stepmother’s curling iron. Rather, she fixated on the list because she knew how its teenage author would have considered her future self. Queen Cinderella, she would have thought, was not only a few breaths away from a casket, but also a complete and total bore.
Item One: Travel A LOT. Visit every realm in the world.
This had been her dream before she crashed Aaron’s marital ball (purely to spite her stepfamily) and fell idiotically in love with Carpale’s heir apparent. Aaron understood, bless his heart, and tried to ease the loss with two open tickets on a year-long honeymoon … but little Sophie slammed a wrench into that idea pretty fast. Instead of seeing the world, they’d skulked home when she was in the throes of first trimester nausea, and were quickly ushered onto her in-laws’ thrones. Since then, “the world” had come to mean a cluster of five crowded islands surrounded by ocean and bursting with monotony.
Item Two: Do something dangerous, daring, and scarier than sleeping in a cave full of bats.
Cindy had to chuckle over the youthful turn of phrase, then frown over its content. Walking into that ball wearing Ruby’s magical costume had been pretty intimidating. But scarier than a cave of bats? Not really. Then there was her shoeless sprint home after the spell wore off. Racing through the streets of downtown Carpale with bare feet was definitely painful … and sort of dangerous. But swarms of young women did it every weekend when the clubs let out. Her younger self had definitely envisioned something more monumental. Like skydiving, perhaps. Or spelunking.
Item Three: Create a breathtaking masterpiece.
Ahh. Her art phase. This obsession began when her father gave her an art book procured during his travels. For months, she fell asleep matching the masterpieces in each realm with the stamps in his passport. Soon, her bedroom was wallpapered three-layers deep with construction paper collages, paint-by-numbers, and drawings of every kind. Her shelves overflowed with chunks of clay that bore no resemblance to anything of this world. It
was her first gallery and, as it turned out, her only. When her dad died, Cindy’s elder stepsister commandeered the room as her personal walk-in closet and used the artwork as a pedicure mat.
The list went on, but the song remained the same. Cindy didn’t know what bothered her more—the things on the list that she hadn’t done, or the things that were missing. Fall in love. Get married. Have babies too fast and far too often. Become the figurehead of all figureheads in a realm with a political identity crisis. She was blessed in ways so profound she couldn’t even have imagined them as a child. So why did this unfulfilled batch of adolescent daydreams make her feel so hollow?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: