First up is NAUGHTY CINDERELLA. Cinderella works as a prostitute to bring money into her family so her stepsisters and her stepmother can live the life they feel they deserve. When the prince comes to the town square to announce a ball, they laugh when Cinderella says she wants to attend. Though she found a beautiful gown, they destroy it and go to the ball without her. She sits in a tub knowing her life will end. Her fairy godmother appears and gives Cinderella all she needs to go to the ball including crystal slippers with the admonition to return home by midnight. Will she? Will she amaze the prince? Will he marry her?
I enjoyed this tale. It follows a lot of the CINDERELLA fairy tale with a few differences. Her stepsisters may be beautiful on the outside, but they are ugly on the inside. She is the most beautiful woman at the ball and the prince knows it. As he says, “it’s in the eyes.” When midnight comes Cinderella runs out. She manages to make it home but just barely. I liked the differences. I liked how the prince could identify her. I also liked the secret he shared on their wedding night. I hope nothing but good comes to them.
Next is RIDING RED HOOD. Red is running through the woods trying to outrun cannibals. Suddenly the cannibals are attacked and killed by a beast-like creature. The next morning Red is in her own bed. But how did she get there? She has no memory when her fiancée asks her as the Chief Protector. He sends her to his detectives for questioning. They question her story. She gets angry especially when she learns attacks had been happening for some time. Her fiancée and his men set out to find and kill the beast. Red decides to find him first. Who will find the creature? What is the creature? Why is Red so interested in him?
I liked this story. It’s a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood but a lot more grown up and without the woodsman to kill the big bad wolf. I liked Red and Kull, the creature. There was more passion between them then between Red and her fiancée. He was a jerk! I was not crazy about the ending, but I liked it rather than how it could have ended with Red and her fiancée. An interesting story.
Last is BEAUTH AND THE BEAST WITH TWO BACKS. Belle’s father goes off with his mistress to the Beast’s castle. There he picks a black rose for his mistress. The Beast catches him and in exchange, Belle’s father offers her up. Belle comes and stays while her father and his mistress leave along with their retinue. Belle tries to keep her distance from the Beast but gradually spends more time with him and develops a friendship with him. Her father sends word that he wants to see her before he dies. Will the Beast let her leave? If he does, will she come back? If she comes back, what will she find?
I enjoyed this story. It follows THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST more than the other stories followed their fairy tales. I liked Belle and Beast. They had to learn to trust each other. I liked the trust Beast placed in Belle. Belle learned a lot from Beast. She finally learned not to not accept bad behavior and to stand up for herself. It is an interesting end. Not one I was expecting. I wonder what does happen when the tale is finished.