book review: godmother by carolyn turgeon

Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story dances between two times: long ago, when the fairy godmother was charged with getting Cinderella to the ball, and modern day. Our modern day heroine is Lil, short for Lillian, who is a fairy in the body of an old woman, albeit one with giant, white, feathery wings she must conceal from humans. She works in a rare booked store in Manhattan.

Lil is a sad but lovable narrator. I found myself enjoying the modern scenes set in Manhattan much more than the slowly evolving story of Cinderella. Each chapter begins with the long ago tale, but it became increasingly clear to me the outcome of Cinderella and the ball (it's not the fairy tale we grew up hearing) far earlier in the book than it's actually revealed. These breaks into the past disrupted the flow of the story. Still, Lil is a delight.

I confess I don't read many books dealing with fairies, so I can't speak to the originality of the banished fairy. Before this book, I wasn't familiar with visual depictions of fairies or the plethora of fairy lore.

Overall, I enjoyed the book enough to read it in two days, but I didn't love it. I fully admit I am not a fan of fairy tales, and I imagine this predilection colors my view of this book. I do want to read Carolyn Turgeon's other novel, Rain Village, about a Midwestern girl who becomes a trapeze artist.

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)


  1. I'd just heard of this book, and had high hopes for it. I'll still keep an eye out for it and hope I'm more inclined towards fairies than you are.


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