Heartbooks #1: Wishes by Brittany Eden

“This was definitely one of the most unique takes on Cinderella I’ve ever read and for that, it stands out.”

Review by Renae Powers

On the eve of the Coronation, aspiring newspaper columnist Penelope Beaumont is assigned the story of a lifetime-revealing the Crown Prince isn’t the rightful heir to Loirehall’s throne.

Desperate to leave her dysfunctional step-family, and tempted by the chance to fulfill her deepest wish and claim her late father’s former column in The Loirehall Times, Penelope accepts the job.

But a fateful encounter with Crown Prince Nicholas Garcon brings their shared history into question, and together, they uncover darker secrets about the Royal Family and the Yorkson Tragedy-the event that claimed the lives of both of their parents.

Will the connection between Nicholas and Penelope be strong enough to overcome the story between them, or will lies and rumors upend the long-awaited Coronation Ball and change the future of the Royal Family forever?

I received this book from the author/publisher for free. All comments and opinions are entirely my own and this review is voluntary.

This was definitely one of the most unique takes on Cinderella I’ve ever read and for that, it stands out. Because the main character is a newspaper reporter, the story is told in a way that feels similar to a news report. Each segment starts by stating the date/time and a brief description of where we are in the story. The characters were cute, Penelope was loveable, and the “fairy godmother” character was cool. I loved that one of the “ugly stepsister” type characters is actually a protagonist who loves and fends for Pen!

“‘Are you ever afraid of how your story will unfold?’ I ask. Melody tuts, ever the wise soul. ‘Are you afraid a flower won’t be beautiful? Do the petals disappoint? Even a rose in the briar, all afraid, isn’t a thorn. It’s still a rose, and it’s beautiful.'”

That being said, it was honestly hard for me to enjoy this story. One of the most notable parts of this book is the style of writing- it’s very poetic and drowning in prose. While there are several readers who I am sure are drawn to this, I am one who finds semantics (the meanings of words) to be really important. In this book, it felt like the meanings of words and phrases were often sacrificed for the sake of sounding pretty. I really hate saying this, but it seemed like the author was more concerned with writing words that sounded lovely strung together, rather than writing words that told a story. 

“Secrets grow in shadows. There are so many. Be a star, shine a light in the world.”

As a result, I found it difficult to sift through all the overly-lyrical prose to find the story underneath. Even the dialogue between characters did not always make sense. Sometimes other characters would address what was written as Penelope’s inner monologue, as if her thoughts were actually being spoken aloud. Other times, characters would just start randomly crying, and it felt like there was not enough explanation for why their tears were warranted. They would be in the midst of a normal conversation, then out of nowhere start crying, as though something profound had just happened. But the words spoken didn’t match the emotions being displayed. I found this really frustrating as a reader.

“‘Tea means you’re sitting down. It means you talk. And people who sit down make the world a better place than those who don’t, because they listen.'”

And finally, the timeline of the story was unnecessarily convoluted. While the headings told me the date/time, what they didn’t tell me was that we skipped over scenes to get there. The characters would start talking about things that I didn’t know about. It would soon become clear that something had happened between the last chapter and this one, and right as I started trying to figure out what I missed, I was whisked away to another scene that may be next in the chronological sequence or might be a glimpse into the past. It was constantly disorienting. I understand that we were trying to uncover a mystery and the author didn’t want to lay it all out at once. But the execution behind the “confuse the audience and keep up the suspense” idea did not work well in this case.

As a story, Wishes is a poetic and one-of-a-kind retelling of the classic fairytale, Cinderella, and I genuinely wish I could tell you I loved it. But as a piece of writing, the proverbial shoe just didn’t quite fit for me. 3 stars for creativity and uniqueness. 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Content Ratings:

Action & Gore:

Rating: 1 out of 10.
1. Little to no action. 

Romance & Spice:

Rating: 0 out of 10.
0. None.

Cursing & Vulgarity:

Rating: 0 out of 10.
0. None.

Other Trigger Warnings:


Our Reviews of Other Books by this author:


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