The Cinderella Act
by Jennifer Lewis
(Harl. Desire #2170, $4.99, PG) ISBN 978-037-73183-1
*
Like other Jennifer Lewis stories, this one is a fairy tale that is often implausible. Starting a new series, The Cinderella Act introduces us to one third of the Drummond family a family that came from Scotland and has been cursed for hundreds of years. Katherine, the matriarch, is determined to find a piece of a Scotland cup that is part of an old family story. Three brothers each took a piece of the cup and went their separate ways in America - ever since the family has been unlucky in their love lives. It is said that only putting the three halves together will break the curse.

Katherine's son Sinclair is the focus of this story. His lady in waiting is the housekeeper in their Long Island summer home. Annie Sullivan is from a middle class Connecticut family and her history has been one of relative dissatisfaction. She is the one of her sisters who has not really achieved anything. While loving, her family just has never understood her. Her goal is to work in this house, save money for her own home and maybe open a little shop. She has been the servant in the background for six years.

Suddenly Sinclair decides that she can help find this piece of cup by searching the attic. When he shows her around and they discover some old dresses, he convinces her to try one on...lust leads to lovemaking. But then Sinclair acts as if nothing happened. Meanwhile, Annie is now not just attracted but smitten. Sinclair, having had two failed marriages is gun-shy. The two must find their way to true love with the help of Katherine and a family friend who happens to come to stay for a while to help search for the enchanted cup.

Annie has strong emotions but has been content to be a doormat for years. This is set in the current age and the whole premise seems unrealistic...after all, a young servant who lives in? I know I don't hang out in the jet set but this seemed a bit implausible.

Sinclair is not a hero one sees as a romantic figure. Here is what we know - he has two failed marriages with women who only wanted his money, so he either can't think with his brain or he is a really poor judge of character. Then he seduces Annie and promptly tells her to forget it and acts like it never happened and then he leaves. When he returns he treats her like a shadow, until one night when she wears one of those dresses and then he is filled with undying passion and love. And that isn't all of his treatment of her. Sorry, he is not the guy I want to root for.

Jennifer Lewis has managed to write a fairy tale that feels closer to a horror story in terms of emotional commitment and love. I would pass this one by.

--Shirley Lyons


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