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Desperately Ever After: Book One: Desperately Ever After Series Paperback – February 1, 2014
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My absolute all-time favorite fairytale is Beauty and the Beast (the absolute zenith of love conquering all). In Desperately Ever After, Belle and her Beast (Donner) take front stage, when Belle learns that the animal in her prince has not been tamed. Rapunzel, Cinderella, Dawn, Snow White, and Penelopea rally round their friend, sheltering her from the paparazzi while she sorts her life out.
In the telling of Belle's crisis we learn that our beloved heroines are more than perfectly primped characters. Rapunzel has a vicious streak in her. Established as the socialite to watch, she unleashes her anger, from being locked in a tower, mercilessly. Cinderella's life with Aaron (Prince Charming) runs smoothly thanks to her over-achieving tendency. Dawn is just clueless, but that's to be expected given she's slept the last three hundred years away. Penny, notarized by the Princess and the Pea tale, has an overbearing mother who she is planning a royal gala for. Then there is Snow White, who we think is okay, until we get to the very end (and that's what serials are for)!
I have to admit to being quite disappointed in Donner, aka The Beast. I suppose it's every girls fantasy to have her love be so powerful that it can transform even the scariest of beings. But then I guess that is where fiction and fact take a fork in the road.
An enjoyable read. Think fairytale on steroids; colorful, over-the-top moments, that take us just beyond the reach of believability, but leave us quite happy that we let ourselves be catapulted from reality.
It’s been years since The Beast has changed back into a man and Belle discovers she is finally with child—just about the same time she also discerns her husband, now king, has been having an affair. As she hopes to find some consolation from her friends, she learns that they too are not as “happily ever after” as one would imagine.
Cinderella is overwhelmed with motherhood, royal expectations and teetering on a crisis as her 30th birthday approaches. “Cinderella’s love story had fizzled down to goodbye kisses and goodnight pecks. They’d gone from idealistic lovebirds to frazzled figureheads forced to compartmentalize their lives just to make it through the days – the last 3,3000 of which all blended into one.” And though she knows she has been blessed far beyond her childhood dreams, she feels empty.
Penelopea, famous for feeling the pea under twenty mattresses, has a mother-in-law from hell and is hiding a secret that smells of disaster should it ever get out. “She couldn’t fathom things like “political correctness’ or self-censorship” or ‘sensible style’ when there were so many options in Marestam.” But that is what Rapunzel likes most about her.
Then there’s Rapunzel who is making up for the two decades locked away in the tower—letting her sexual appetite and wild escapades lead her down dangerous paths. When Belle shows up on Rapunzel’s doorstep in the middle of the night, her friend takes her in and gathers their friends for support. “The terrace fell silent as all eyes settled on Rapunzel. Ordinarily, she would have started with something snarky – a joke to break the tension or a dig at the institution of marriage. But then she looked around the table at three of her closest friends and saw more than just pity for Belle. She saw fear.” Because if it could happen to Belle, why not to any one of them?
"Desperately Ever After" is a clever, thoughtful and even raucous I never saw coming! Kenyon cleverly portrays our childhood princesses in an all-too modern setting and scenarios -- and draws you into to their lives and loves. A must read if you want to know what really happens, after the happily ever after. 4 sparkling stars for this satisfying, fresh take on the classics.
Overall the series is well done. It's cute and funny. The first book was my favorite as it was the funniest and lightest read.