Cinderella and the Ghost
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A DANGEROUS ATTRACTION
When her demanding stepmother died, Ella Benoit knew just how far their fortunes had fallen, unlike her spoiled stepsisters. So she never expected the bequest from her late father. A chateau in France and the freedom to live her own life, all at once!
The chateau has seen better days, but Ella knows she can put the ruined house to rights. The life-size portrait of its first owner, Jean-Daniel Girard, seems to watch her work with approval, even pleasure. With bright blue eyes, strong features, and an athlete’s body, the viscount is a tempting sight even now, more than three hundred years after his tragic death. But the more she looks at the portrait, the more convinced Ella is that she’s met Jean-Daniel before. In another life, perhaps—or maybe, as the form who haunts the halls at night, invading Ella’s dreams…
Exactly what I was hoping for when I chose this title,
Exactly what I was hoping for when I chose this title, Marina Myles hit nearly every button in this faerie-tale inspired mash up of fantasy / historical and contemporary romance. With Ella, the long abused stepdaughter and caretaker of her dying stepmother, her apologetic entry into the story was reminiscent of every downtrodden and abused character out there. With her stepmother’s death, and Ella’s sudden freedom, she can breathe and finally start to think about her own life.
Family friend Mimi and her husband tried to run interference between Ella and her stepfamily, but with the freeing of Ella from all ties, Mimi steps in and arranges for her to travel to France and take up the new task of renovating the chateau left by her father. The decrepit and ramshackle chateau is in need of major renovations and is thought to house a ghost.
Jean Daniel Girard was the eldest of twins born to the estate, and is expected to serve in the court and take a wife to continue the line. Unfortunately he was found dead the night of the ball, and the estate fell into ruin. One of the remnants of his life left behind was a newly finished portrait that is hanging in the ballroom. Ella believes the portrait is watching her, and she is finding a connection to the man in the frame.
Slowly but surely the worlds collide, and Ella and Jean Daniel develop a connection, and only Ella can release him from his ghostly existence. But time is running out, and the anniversary of his death will end opportunities for yet another year.
Myles cleverly wound in magical talismans, glass slippers made for Ella by her father, and a clever plotting twist that tied in the original Cinderella story that we all know. Present characters are reinvented in the past scenes that fit both their attitudes and behaviors with flair, and were instantly recognizable. Both past and present were nicely mixed and blended, and felt real and possible, as fantastic as the premise is. With a lovely ending to wrap up the story, this was a fun, quick reading and enjoyable story.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.