Never has a title of a book made me sing one verse over and over (and over) again. Seriously, I have been wandering around the house humming “So this is love” so much my husband probably thinks I have got myself a new fella!
‘So This is Love’ is the latest in the Disney Twisted Tale series and has been eagerly awaited by yours truly. The latest novel, by Elizabeth Lim (who also wrote the Mulan inspired tale ‘Reflection’) explores what would happen to the classic Cinderella tale if Cinders did not try on the glass slipper for the Grand Duke and scamper off towards her happily ever after. How would Cinderella fare if a dramatic stand off resulted in the remaining slipper shattering into a million pieces?
However, it is not, as you may suspect, Lady Tremaine who smashes the second glass slipper but Cinders herself. Lim’s Cinderella has her head firmly on her shoulders and is all too aware what the power of possessing this shoe may mean to herself, the Prince and the kingdom if it fell into the greedy hands of her relatives. Thus, in an act of bravery, she destroys her ticket to a happily ever after and faces the wrath of her stepmother in the process.
This is the first point in the twisted tale where we see a completely different Cinderella than we have ever seen before. After a dramatic turn of events Cinderella leaves her family home for good and finds herself at risk of a life living on the streets. However, Elizabeth Lim has not abandoned all aspects of a fairy tale: a chance encounter and a new friend present Cinders with the opportunity to find work within the palace where she once danced the night away.
In my opinion, the traditional Cinderella would go running straight to the Prince, explain her story, rely on her beautiful face and live happily ever after. Thankfully for the realists amongst us, our twisted tale Cinderella agonises over the possibility that the Prince is more in love with the idea of the “runaway princess”: she decides that their relationship would never work and that she should focus on her career and creating an independent life for herself.
This was such a refreshing character trait: I loved the fact that, although Elizabeth Lim did not change the time period of the novel, she modernised the main character into a young woman who does not need rescuing. Quite the opposite, as Cinderella soon finds herself witnessing corruption within the palace: can this Disney Princess become a hero and save the kingdom?
Lim’s Cinderella is truly a modern role model: she is resilient, sometimes stubborn but altogether kind and most importantly, she faces her fears despite overwhelming periods of anxiety in some of the most emotive and beautifully written pieces I have read in a long time.
In an Instagram post to Elizabeth Lim (@elimpix) I told her that this Cinderella is the version I would prefer my boys to chase after. However, on reflection that isn’t true. This Cinderella doesn’t deserve to be chased and hunted down in order to fit into a pretty shoe. This Cinderella is a partner in every aspect: working for the good of the kingdom and a ruler in her own right. This is the Cinderella I would want my boys to be worthy of.
I am a mum of two young boys, stuck in the house with my family 24/7 (#blessed #covid19) and still working a 40-hour week…and I finished this in 2 days! Yep, it is that good!