You may have heard the fairy tale of Cinderella but have you heard of Cinder-Ugly? Today, we get the real story and hear from Cindra herself. It’s my pleasure to introduce Cindra from Cinder-Ugly. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name’s Cindra, but my sisters call me Cinder-Ugly. I know I’ve always been hideous—I was born that way. My older brother, Robin, is very handsome, and my two older sisters are so lovely that Mother is proud of them. She tells everyone she has only three children. The world has forgotten I exist.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I’m happy when I read my books. There’s such beauty between the pages, and for me, beauty is in short supply. As a child, I wasn’t allowed pretty dresses and only wore practical brown ones that wouldn’t show the dirt, while my sisters wore ruffles and lace in the most gorgeous colors. I would be happy if I could capture some beauty for my own.
What is your greatest fear?
That I will displease my mother, make her angry and cause her to hate me even more than she already does. Mother is one of the loveliest women in our kingdom. But when she becomes angry with me, she no longer appears so beautiful
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I was born deformed, with one shoulder misshapen, and one side of my face different from the other. Both my sisters have beautiful, golden hair but mine is mousy and brown. My hands are too big and my head is too long in the back. Out of all these flaws, how can I possibly choose only one?
Which living person do you most despise?
If I were honest, I should have to say myself.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
The only men I know are those between the pages of the books I’ve read. Oh, and the Prince of our kingdom, Prince Rupert. I met him once, when Father let me act as a servant during a grand reception at our house. I made a terrible mistake and dropped the tray of tarts all over Prince Rupert’s feet, but he was so very kind about it. The next day, he even sent me a small posy of flowers. I admit the quality I value most in a man is kindness.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
When first you asked me this I thought, well of course, I would want to change my appearance. I would wish to look like my sisters, which would please my mother so very much. But it occurs to me, I’d be better off wishing for courage, so I might hold my head high despite my appearance.
Where would you most like to live?
If I could, I would live in the midst of a garden, where the colors and scents of the flowers and herbs would surround me all the time. I enjoy working in the warm soil, coaxing the tender plants to take root and thrive. Plants don’t judge us, do they? And they shed their beauty for everyone.
What is your most treasured possession?
The posy of flowers Prince Rupert sent me, after the reception where we first met. That had something fragrant tucked into its heart—thyme, I think. I dried the little bouquet most carefully and tucked it into my favorite book. I will keep it forever.
What is your greatest regret?
I regret that I wasn’t born beautiful, so Mother would love me. Who could love a child called Cinder-Ugly?
Thank you, Cindra, for taking time to clear the air. I think you’re beautiful. Readers, want to hear more? Pick up your copy today for only 99 cents!
Author: Laura Strickland
Genre: Fantasy/Fairy Tale
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
From the moment Cindra is born, misshapen and ill-formed in face and body, her beautiful mother hides her away, allowing the world to see only her other three perfect children. Cindra, raised by an aged nurse and assigned humble duties in the kitchen, receives little affection and plenty of abuse from both her mother and sisters. Starved for beauty, she longs most of all for love.
Prince Rupert, newly returned from an education outside the kingdom and forced to take over duties as king, sees the beauty of Cindra’s spirit. In her sister-in-law’s garden, he courts her with rare flowers and nearly makes her forget her mother’s hate. But when war tears them apart, will Cindra have the courage to stand on her own? And when faced with the challenge of leading Rupert’s subjects through a siege, will the strength of her compassion be enough to sustain a kingdom?
I dropped the tray. It fell hard with a clatter that echoed through the room. The remaining tarts—still a generous load—flew everywhere spewing their jam fillings as they went—on the carpet, on my shoes, on the Queen’s skirt and all over the Prince’s sapphire blue legs.
Everything froze. The music paused, everyone stopped talking. Someone laughed in horror and said, “Oh, my God!”
Mother’s face seized in a rictus; she leered at me. For an instant I could see nothing else. Not my father, not Bethessa who, I’m pretty sure, had laughed, not even the mess that surrounded me like the fallout from an explosion.
Just her anger. Her horror. Her disgust.
Then the moment’s paralysis broke. Mother reached out quick as a wasp and slapped me. The blow took me on the cheek and its force turned my head. Instant tears flooded my eyes.
“Stupid girl!” She drew back her hand to strike again. Two things happened before she could: Father cried, “Erikka—it was my fault!” And the Prince stepped between me and my mother, and seized her wrist.
“Please, Madame, do not. It was but an accident.”
No rebuke colored his tone. He sounded exceedingly polite. But I knew my mother took it as a rebuke and a public one. Her face stained with ugly red and she transferred her glare from me to the Prince.
Even at that moment, that terrible, terrible moment I knew she would never forgive me for this.
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Audio coming very soon!
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Cinder-Ugly-Laura-Strickland-ebook/dp/B07DR7NJC2
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Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cinder-ugly-laura-strickland/1128872584?ean=2940162102601
Multi award-winning author Laura Strickland delights in time traveling to the past and searching out settings for her books, be they Historical Romance, Steampunk or something in between. Born and raised in Western New York, she’s pursued lifelong interests in lore, legend, magic and music, all reflected in her writing. Although she enjoys travel, she’s usually happiest at home not far from Lake Ontario, with her husband. Author of numerous Historical and Contemporary Romances, she is the creator of the Buffalo Steampunk Adventure series set in her native city.
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Author Website: www.laurastricklandbooks.com
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Author Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/760146.Laura_Strickland
Laura Strickland Author @LauraSt05038951