Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 10/14/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance
A Pennymaker Tale
Housekeeper Mark Sintorella (Sinders) works diligently at a resort hotel while designing clothes anonymously, hoping to get into fashion school. Then his carefully planned life is upended with the arrival of Ashton Armitage, son of the fifth richest man in America—and the most beautiful guy Mark has ever seen. Ash must find a wife or he’ll lose his grandfather’s inheritance, and he settles on Bitsy Fanderel. But secretly Ash is gay, and the guy who cleans the fireplaces sets his heart ablaze.
Further stirring the pot is the little elf of a man, Carstairs Pennymaker, who has Mark wearing his own designs and masquerading as a girl to impress the fashion investors in the hotel. When the clock strikes twelve, two beautiful princesses line up for the wedding—but one isn’t a woman. Will the slipper fit? Only Mr. Pennymaker knows for sure.
First Edition published by Amber Quill Press, LLC, 2012.
Sinders and Ash is a modern remake of Cinderella with the dashing prince falling in love with a poor member of the hotel housekeeping staff. This reminded me of that JLo movie Maid in Manhattan than it did the traditional Cinderella story because there were many liberties taken with the Cinderella plot line. And I liked that. I liked that the author took the time to make her version unique instead of following along the tried and true plot lines.
This story was very low angst yet had enough meat in it to be interesting. I loved the way this was more about character and being true to yourself rather than focusing solely on the intricacies that come with being and trying to become part of the upper class. Bitsy and Ronnie were great supporting characters that helped to take away from the traditional Cinderella fell and focus the reader on the characterization.
I loved the bits of drag that were in the story and I loved the way the drag started out as a deception but never really was. From the get go Pennymaker really only superficially tried to hide Mark’s true gender, but when it came time to be honest, the truth came easily and readily and no one blinked an eye.
The thing about this story that confused me though was the romance. It was very rush and felt a bit underdeveloped. Now, if I were going to compare apples to apples, I would say that all fairy tales lack that real emotional development that is needed to fully understand the love between main characters. Most fairy tales have that bit of the over the top and unexplained, but in this case, it felt a bit too over the top and unexplained. It was very rushed overall and I personally felt this entire story needed to be a bit longer and bit more fleshed out.
I also felt that this story was set apart from time and space. Everything happened within the confines of the hotel and in this special little hotel world. So when the author would mention contemporary ideas and bit of politics, it came across as a slap in the face and pulled me out of the reality of the story into the reality of today. It didn’t work well for me.
Ok, so there were a few things that didn’t work for me in this story. But I still enjoyed my time reading about Sinders and Ash. Their love story left me happy and feeling sappy inside. I loved the way the truth came out and was accepted readily and easily. I loved that the author didn’t do the obvious and arrange a marriage of convenience with two couples hiding in plain sight. I liked the fairy godmother and the overall whimsical quality of the story. I would read this one again when in the mood for a lighthearted romp.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
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