Author: Hope Tarr
Series: Book #1 in the Suddenly Cinderella series
Release Date: 15 October 2012
Number of pages: 162 pages
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Indulgence line)
Source: eARC received from the publisher through NetGalley
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's website, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Read an excerpt
Grade: 5 stars
Top 2012 Read
Goodreads appetizer: Manhattan magazine editor Macie Graham always gets her story—and she’ll do anything to uncover the dirt on famous radio personality Ross Mannon. After he smears her article on his show, nearly costing Macie her job, she devises a plan to masquerade as a modern-day Cinderella and get her revenge on the infuriating Texan.All Ross wants is a woman with old-fashioned values to be his housekeeper and role model for his troubled teenage daughter. When the perfect woman shows up, Ross is relieved—until he finds himself drawn to his gorgeous, red-stiletto-wearing new employee. “Martha Jane” is opinionated and sexy, and Ross is intrigued…and more than a little turned on.Macie thought Operation Cinderella was foolproof, but Ross, with his rugged good looks and southern charm, proves to be as perfect behind-the-scenes as he does in public. But when she finally uncovers a secret that could destroy Ross's reputation, she faces losing her job or losing the fairy-tale ending she didn't even know she wanted.
My Thoughts: Though I very much enjoy Entangled Publishing's releases, it has been some time since I devoured and loved one of their titles as much as I did with Operation Cinderella by Hope Tarr.
I'm partial to anything that is even loosely connected to Cinderella, but that also means that my expectations are high: I want the Cinderella retelling to enchant me as much as the original classic fairy tale did when I was 4. And well, I'm happy to say that Operation Cinderella was wonderful! The story sucked me in, I was living and breathing with the characters for those 160 or so pages and I was enjoying it so much I wouldn't have minded if the story went on a bit longer. ;-)
The way the story started (the newsroom atmosphere, the dare, the undercover assignment, etc.) reminded me of the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, but things soon took a different turn and Operation Cinderella is very much its own story.
The hero, Ross Mannon besides being described as a very handsome "Robert Redford of the Right" ,will make your heart melt: he is a single dad trying to connect with his 15-year-old teenager daughter and make sure she is safe, healthy and happy. It's for this reason that he wants to employ a housekeeper/role model, preferably someone younger but wholesome to whom his daughter could talk to and open up. He was wonderful: he had integrity, a warm-heart and irresistible charisma.
Macie, is an interesting character: on the surface she is a rebellious partying young woman, from her gothic looks and her belly button ring to her ever-changing hair colour, however once she gets to know Ross and see how his beliefs and morals ground him and that it's truly his conviction and he lives his life according to them not just preaches them, she finds peace with herself and it becomes clear her flashy and vibrant previous public persona was just a costume she donned.
But besides that, both main characters packed more substance and depth: Ross didn't come off as a preachy goody-two-shoes, oh no, he was mature, responsible and movingly affectionate towards his daughter (and Macie). And Macie was an amazing woman too: though she was cynical (you'll learn the reason for her disillusion in the story), she was brave, strong, independent and resourceful.
I loved to see all the small references to the classic fairy tale(s) entwined with a lot of humour peppered in the story:
Stepping out into the neon-lit hallway, she pulled the office door closed behind her. Fairy tales were for kids. Exposing a fake prince for his true frog self—real grownup life didn’t pack more magical mojo than that.
He wasn’t just looking for a child care provider or a housekeeper or a cook, but some magical meshing of all three and more. What—no, make that who—he needed was a modern day fairy godmother, a woman not only young enough but also cool enough to connect with a jaded fifteen-year-old who’d spent most of her formative years in Manhattan. If she came with a magic wand, so much the better.
ps. and the way the glass slippers were incorporated into the story was terrific as well! :-D
Verdict: I LOVED Operation Cinderella! Both the characters, from the hero and heroine to the supporting cast (Ross' daughter, Macie's gay friends aka the fairy godfathers) as well as the story were wonderful. The romance played beautifully into the bigger picture and I enjoyed that Operation Cinderella was so much more than a "simple love story". I really got attached to the characters and was interested to see what would happen to them. Now that I've discovered Hope Tarr I won't let her and her books out of my sight! ;-) And I am SO happy that Operation Cinderella is the 1st book in the Suddenly Cinderella series, featuring at least 4 stories, yay, I can't wait!! :-D
Operation Cinderella was wonderfully heart-warming and romantic, so it deserves those 5 shiny stars I'm gladly giving to it!
Cover: 8/10 - she looks like she's wearing a bit too much make up...
Review originally posted at Book Lovers Inc.