I was supposed to post this book recommendation a couple of weeks ago but hadn’t been able to until now. Enjoy!
I wasn’t sure what to think when I picked up Shantelle Hannu’s debut novella A Dream Not Imagined. I’d had some interaction with Shantelle online, and she’d even agreed to be a part of my blog tour for Dare when neither of us had read each other’s books at that point.
I shouldn’t have worried. I blew through the book in a matter of hours. 🙂
A MAID, a PRINCE, and a DUKE. A STEPMOTHER, a GARDENER, and a secret…
Ellie Abbington, a beautiful yet unassuming young woman, quietly longs for her life to change. Too privileged to associate with the servants—too underprivileged to associate with her own family; she dreams a dream of a prince and a happily ever after.
But it could be that her own stepsisters, conniving Dezmarie and easily-influenced Adelaide, are dreaming the same dream…of the same prince.
In the end, are dreams even all they’re made out to be? Especially with deep and long-hidden secrets about to be unearthed?
I’ve read a number of Cinderella adaptions so it’s rare for me to run across one that actually surprises me. This one did. At the start, Ellie seems like your normal Cinderella, complete with nasty stepmother and stepsisters. There’s the glimpses of the prince, the upcoming ball, the servitude, and then…
Then things get interesting. Cinderella arrives at the ball in a different manner than you’d expect. The ball doesn’t exactly go as expected either. I gasped out loud in one part, the twist leaving me floored because I thought I’d known exactly where this novella was going.
Turns out I was wrong. That’s the beauty of this novella. It draws you in with the seemingly normal Cinderella tale, then turns it on its head.
Once the main twists were completed, I did guess the twist at the end, and how the book would be resolved. But that was okay. The second major twist isn’t so much a twist but a secret that the reader and author share with giggles and whispers while waiting for the reveal at the end. It’s the kind of twist that leaves the reader gratified that they’d figured it out.
I also really loved the take on the evil stepmother. She’s still evil. Still a baddie. Yet, she does have a reason for it (not a reason most sane people would actually implement). She isn’t just mindlessly torturing Cinderella for no apparent reason. She has a purpose to Cinderella’s servitude.
Overall, it’s a sweet Cinderella story about waiting for God’s timing in your life.