— BLURB —
Every royal has their dirty little secret. His was… me.
It should have been simple.
Go to the ball, meet the prince, and secure his patronage for my favorite charity.
But beneath the mask, the brooding beast of a man was not at all who I expected.
He was dark and intense and eerily quiet.
When I left, I could still feel the ghost of his touch branded into my skin.
He haunted my dreams, but I never expected to see him again.
Then he came for me.
And he took me.
And I learned that his darkness was a void I never could have conceived.
He’s the crown prince of Norway.
And, now, I’m his captive.
— MY REVIEW —
I’m always up for a good fairy tale retelling (the darker the better) and this one did not disappoint! I love that Zavarelli used the Cinderella fairy tale to start her story off but you’ll come to find fairly early on that it turns into a completely new story on it’s own.
I was getting a mixture of Ever After and Cinderella (live action), and Cenerentola (Italian version of Cinderella) vibes in this one, which I was loving BTW.
⚠ But before I go any further, I can’t stress enough that this is a full-blown adult adaptation of Cinderella. Definitely not for any reader under 18+ years of age. There’s some serious subjects matters included in the plot that may trigger some readers — violence, physical and sexual abuse, suicide and drugs. This book also contains minor BDSM.
I tend to steer clear of books that contain any sort of BDSM (just not my type of reads) but if you’re familiar with Zavarelli then you know she already has a couple of books with very minor amounts of it. So, in my case I already had a sense of what to expect when scenarios started going towards that direction. Zavarelli’s is minimal, it doesn’t cross the line to the heavy, bold, detailed BDSM like some other books.
So, if you’re a similar reader to me in regards to this type of content, then I’d like to assure you it doesn’t take anything away from the characters or the storyline. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s minor and it’s only one element of the story, not the centre of it 🙂
Now–regarding the storyline.. I thought it flowed really well. Zavarelli did a fantastic job of setting the scene and atmosphere of the book. I was already on the edge of my seat from the second Ella and Thorsen first set eyes on each other due to the fact the she’s already given us a good idea of what the leads’ personalities and attitudes are like from the start.
“There was something different about her, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. She smelled like sunshine and wildflowers. Freedom.”
“When I looked into her eyes, I found myself getting lost there.”
There’s a case of mistaken identity and a smidge of hate to love romance in this one (which I always thought was one of the more juicier romance tropes) 😉 Cinderella is my favourite fairy tale ever since I was little. Now as an adult, fairy tales are still something I love to read (and watch), only difference is that the grittier versions are now my preference. This one ticked a lot of the boxes!
Ella and Thorsen are opposites who find common ground the further their relationship develops. Thorsen was already intrigued by her and despite his rude first impression towards Ella, she can’t deny her attraction to him either.
Stealing Cinderella is definitely one unique story. You still get the evil stepmother and sisters (oh boy, do you ever), the Prince (although you’ll never confuse this one with the Disney version), and that big, momentous ball scene! 👠
But don’t get too comfortable because once midnight hits, this Cinderella takes on an unexpected turn you won’t see coming at all. There’s secrecy, betrayal, a lot of shocking moments and all-around heartbreak. I couldn’t stop the tears with this one. But then again should I even be surprised by that outcome when it comes to Zavarelli’s books? Uhhhhh no.
You’ll see some new secondary characters in this one that I think was a refreshing addition, taking this fairy tale to another level. The Prince here is not your typical charming royalty. You may even hate the jerk before you love him. He’s broken, and it shows! This rendition equally tells of the Prince’s story as much as Cinderella (or in this case, Ella’s) — with alternating POVs.
If I had to make a critique, I would’ve liked more details for certain things mentioned or discussed in the book. It didn’t delve deep enough, so any attempt at connecting with those scenes lacked a little for my liking. But overall, still a well-thoughtout story.
As warned at the beginning, this book delves into certain sensitive subjects that may trigger some readers. As the characters stories start unraveling bit by bit, you start to piece together their secrets.. not going to lie–it’s a difficult pill to swallow. But once you wrap you head around it, you cannot not know what happens next. It’s haunting, disturbing… and yes, sickening but it makes this story so much more than a simple fairy tale romance. The characters are well-developed, showing you how they’ve come to be the way they are now in this present time.
There’s a nice balance of light and dark within the storyline, which in my opinion is what makes Stealing Cinderella heart-breaking. There’s so much viciousness in it that when you get a little bit of goodness come through in some parts, you can’t help but release a breath you didn’t even realize you were holding onto.
“… You have to promise me that you’ll keep fighting. Even on your darkest days. Promise me…”
Putting the romance aside, this book also focuses a lot on family, the different dynamics, and the effects of how you treat others. The secondary characters really do play a big role in both Ella and Thorsen’s lives. You’ll see they hold a lot of power and influence. It shows how much a good support system can help one overcome a lot of hard and difficulties times.
Despite the darkness, Stealing Cinderella is also full of love, hope and healing.
And finally– set in modern day Europe, the backdrop will have you in wanderlust! 😍 I completely recommend this read! If enjoy dark romance, this is for you. If you enjoy fairy tale retellings, this is for you. It’s a standalone and includes a HEA!
Thank you to A. Zavarelli, Candi Kane PR and Enticing Journey Book Promotions for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! ❤
Hope you guys are all well. Happy reading! Catch you in my next one! Xo