Click here to read reviewer Luan Gaines' take on Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story, or here to read Michael Leonard's review.
To the outside observer, Lil is simply a lonely old woman living alone in the bustling city of New York. She spends her days working in a bookstore, and at night she goes home to her small apartment. However, under the surface, Lil is much more than she appears to be. Yes, she is tired and alone. But she has been alive much longer than anyone realizes. You see, Lil was once a fairy, one of those mythical creatures that few people believe actually existed. In fact, she was the fairy godmother to Cinderella herself, though the modern world had the story completely wrong.
Lil was cast out of the fairy world, made human for a horrible and unforgiveable act she committed. Day after day, she watches herself grow older, wishing and hoping that her fairy brethren will come back for her and welcome her back into her former life. In the process, Lil meets Veronica, a beautiful and vivacious girl who brings life into Lilís cold world. Lil believes that she must make up for her mistake in order to return to her life as a fairy, and thinks she can do that through Veronica. After all, the fairy world is where she belongs - or is it?
Godmother is a fascinating read that makes the reader question what is real in a world where nothing is as it seems. Lil is the most unreliable of narrators; her memories donít seem to coincide with what is going on around her. Everything about her seems slightly off. There is obviously something not right with her, but it isnít clear what that might be. At the beginning, the reader assumes that it is because she comes from the world of fairies. But as the novel progresses, that assumption can be questioned.
Godmother incorporates the real-life Cottingley fairy hoax within its pages. A series of five pictures of fairies were taken by two young girls in 1917 and 1920 who claimed to have interacted with these creatures. Many, including the famous Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, believed that the pictures were genuine. Though it has since been dismissed as a hoax, the girls continued to claim that one of the pictures was real even after admitting they staged the rest. Lil sees these pictures and believes that her fairy brethren were trying to send her a message through them.
At its core, Godmother is either a fairy tale with a dark twist or a strongly psychological novel. Itís also quite possible that it is both. A great novel that will stick with the reader for a long time and leave them thinking, this would make a great book club read because there is so much to discuss within its pages. Godmother is highly recommended, even if you are not a regular reader of fantasy novels, a gripping read that you wonít be able to put down.