I am reviewing this novel as a part of the Cinderella Week. Today is the last day.
Princess of Glass follows Princess of the Midnight Ball, a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Poppy, one of the middle princesses of Westfalin, is the protagonist in this twist on Cinderella, although of course, as a princess, she is not Cinderella herself. I will offer a warning, if magic bothers you, stay away from this trilogy. All the books deal with dark enchantments more in the style of the original fairytales. Despite the darker themes, the tone and style of these novels are light and fun, and the Princess of Glass tells a unique version of the Cinderella story.
Princess Poppy, while on a simultaneously diplomatic and family visit in another country, discovers her cousin’s bratty maid, Ellen, once the noble Lady Eleanora, is enchanted. Ellen, selfishly bent on her own schemes, refuses aid until her enchantment begins harming herself. Even after asking for help, she still clings to the wish to marry Poppy’s Prince Christian, despite the faithfulness of her own true love, Roger.
Several aspects of the plot mirror the Cinderella story exactly while others give a distorted reflection. Poppy and her cousin Marianne can be seen as two nice stepsisters while Ellen-Ella-Eleanora is an ungrateful, rude, selfish Cinderella. Ella has a relationship with a prince, Prince Christian. But that relationship is the result of enchantment, and Christian’s true love is Poppy while Eleanora’s is Roger. The story includes a fairy godmother and magic, but both are cruel. The glass slippers, part of the enchantment, are torturous and turn Ella’s feet into glass themselves.
The mirror similarities include Ellen-Ella-Eleanora’s transformation from servant back to a fine lady again. She meets her future love, a childhood friend named Roger, from whom she has been separated during her poverty, and who is a wealthy man. After finding, or rather being found by him, she causes another separation by opportunistically chasing Prince Christian. True love triumphs after Christian claims Poppy, and Eleanora then turns to the long-suffering Roger. The iconic glass slipper moment occurs when Poppy is playing Lady Ella in an attempt to stop the enchantment, and Prince Christian finds her shoe.
Although much of the story seems dark, the light writing style, fast-paced plot, and fun characters cause the story to flow pleasantly. There is light in the story itself too. Poppy always does what is right in the face of Ella’s unpleasantness because she sees something sinister is occurring. And of course, everything turns out happily in the end.