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3.5 stars for Always, Ivette: A Cinderella Fairy Tale Retelling #fantasyromance #fairytale #ku

Title: Always, Ivette: A Cinderella Fairy Tale Retelling (Letters to Love Book 3)

Author: Sydney Winward

Genre: Fantasy Romance, Fairy Tale Retelling

Book Blurb:

Even villains can have a change of heart.

Barnaby Mavis has made many mistakes in his life and has been trying his hardest to atone for them. On his way to fix one of his mistakes, he gets thrown from his horse and tumbles off a cliff, the fall stealing his memories and placing him at death's door.

Ivette Danvers’ life changed the moment a man fell from the cliffside on her property. After nursing him back to health, she was shocked to find he remembered nothing of his past life. Not his name nor his home or family.

Could their blossoming feelings be true, even when he doesn’t remember his past identity?

But as Ivette’s past sneaks up on her, she realizes this stranger is the only one who can help her. But when he disappears, telling her not to come looking for him, she fears she will lose everything and everyone she holds dear. If she doesn’t find him, her entire future will crumble. Including her heart.

My Review:

I've read other stories from Ms. Winward and thoroughly enjoyed them, and was looking forward to reading this one. It's a loose retelling of the fairytale 'Cinderella,' although without the evil stepmother or stepsisters. Miss Ivette Danvers finds herself in charge of her four younger sisters when her father takes off with the loan money, leaving them struggling to get through each day. Ivette does the best she can, but repayment of the loans is coming due, and soon they'll be evicted from their small farm. I liked Ivette's conviction to take care of their little family, but she can only do so much, and she tries hard not to let despair overwhelm her. It's a lot of responsibility on her young shoulders, but her sweet and generous spirit endears her to everyone she knows.

Lord Barnaby Mavis is on a quest to find the Danvers' farm. It isn't clear if he's the villain, going to collect the money owed on the loan or forgive it. When he's caught in a ferocious storm and thrown from his horse, he crashes through a fence and down a cliff, coming to rest in the field of the Danvers' farm. I wished the author had explained a bit more of Barnaby's mission through his internal dialogue before his fall and subsequent amnesia. It would have given me a different perspective of his character. The author does a great job of describing the effects of panic attacks that made Barnaby more relatable.

I also would have liked a bit more world-building in the story because while it was clear Barnaby was from another kingdom, it was never explained where Ivette and her family lived. Also, there was one subplot of the story that made no sense to me, that of Barnaby's friend stealing sheep from the Danvers' farm. What did that have to do with the story? It only added more despair for Ivette to lose any of her wool-producing sheep.

Once Ms. Winward returned to the basics of the fairytale plot of 'Cinderella,' I really loved the part that Barnaby's mother played in the story organizing the ball for all the fair maidens, both noble and commoner. Once again, Ivette shows her indomitable spirit, trying to make her dreams come true with the man she loves. The only real obstacle she faces is figuring out exactly where to look for Barnaby, but it seems Barnaby's mother had a way to resolve that issue as well.

The story is a quick read (less than 200 pages), although, with a bit more expansion of the story, I think it could have been a much more enjoyable read. I enjoy Ms. Winwood's writing style and look forward to reading more of her books.

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Buy it Now:

Free to read on Kindle Unlimited!

Author Biography:

Sydney Winward is a fantasy and paranormal romance author who dabbles in the occasional historical fiction. She loves building complex worlds filled with magic, strong characters, and emotional stories that can make you laugh and cry.

Sydney is the author of The Bloodborn Series, and when she’s not writing, she’s reading, thinking about stories, or going on adventures with her children. She lives in Utah with her husband, two amazing kids, and one stubborn fish.

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Reviewed by: Debra


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