Date of publication: May 20th, 2021
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: HighTower Fairytales
Wishes by Starlight: A Tale of Cinderella—Book 14 (expected publication date: June 17th, 2021)
Purchase Links: Amazon
Format Read: Unedited ARC
Got Book From: Publisher
Trigger Warning: Child Abuse, Bullying
I, Elya Pavlovna, am a horribly wicked and unfortunate girl.
After her governess is fired for teaching her to read, Elya writes in a secret journal to continue her lessons on her own. Though, as an unwanted scullery maid, she doubts she will ever have much to say.
But when a charming stranger answers her private messages, Elya’s world turns upside down. He calls her sweet. He calls her strong. He challenges her to come to a palace celebration and leave her abusive past behind.
Each small push reveals more risks and hidden heartache. Will the magic of their words be enough to rewrite their story together, or will it all fade away at midnight?
If you like inspirational heroines, unique love stories, and untrustworthy fae, this romantic fantasy is for you! One-click now to start the magic, romance, and heart-wrenching emotional journey!
Letters by Cinderlight is a twist on the Cinderella story based in Slavic mythology and full of magical fairies with stories of their own.
The story I have to tell is a sad one, but it is also a mystery.Letters by Cinderlight: A Tale of Cinderella by Jacque Stevens
I am not one to like fairy tale retellings, and I do not go out of my way to read books that do so. I find that most retellings are boring. So, when I read the blurb for Letters by Cinderlight, I almost decided not to review it. But there was something about the blurb that caught my interest. I am glad I chose to review Letters by Cinderlight. It is one of the more imaginative fairytale retellings that I have read.
I usually don’t do this, but I want to give a heads up on possible triggers. Child abuse is the big one here. Elya is abused in every way except sexually. While most of the abuse scenes are not graphic, the scene where Elya is deliberately burnt in the face by her stepmother is. It was a scene where not only could I feel Elya’s pain, but I could hear her screams and smell the flesh burning. It did trigger me, but I could get through my trigger and continue reading the book.
The other trigger in the book is bullying. Elya is bullied horribly by her stepsisters. There is name-calling, a song that they would sing to her, and they did everything and anything to get her in trouble. They weren’t as graphic as the child abuse scenes, but they could still trigger someone.
Letters by Cinderlight did take a couple of chapters for the storyline to get going. But once it did, it moved fast. There was minimal lag (mainly after Lady Mother burnt Elya’s dress and before Grandmother Lada appeared), but it didn’t take away from the storyline.
I liked that the author incorporated Slavic mythology into the book. There was talk of rusalkas (one talked to Elya at various points in the book) and domovoy. Lada, who is spoken of at the beginning of the book and shows up towards the end, is the Slavic goddess of Spring. It made the book so much more interesting to read.
I loved Charming!! He was unwavering in his support for Elya (even when she was rude to him), and he tried so hard to bolster her self-esteem up. He made Elya rethink why she was being treated the way she was. He even changed the invites so scullery maids would be invited to the ball. I didn’t see him falling in love with Elya until after telling him about what her stepmother did. His response was telling, as was his letter at the end of the book.
Letters by Cinderlight is a very clean book. There is kissing, but I expected it between Charming and Elya.
The end of Letters by Cinderlight drove me nuts. I understood why Elya did what she did. She was scared. She had zero self-esteem and truly believed that Charming couldn’t love someone like her. It was one of the saddest scenes that I have read. That isn’t what drove me nuts. What drove me nuts is that the book ended on a flipping cliffhanger. I HATE cliffhangers!!!
Letters by Cinderlight was an interesting retelling of Cinderella. It was engaging and fast-moving. This is a book that I would read again.
I would recommend Letters by Cinderlight for anyone over the age of 16. This is a clean book with only two kissing scenes towards the end of the book. But there are disturbing scenes of child abuse, with two graphic scenes involving Elya, her Lady Mother, and a candle. There are also scenes of bullying.