Happily by Chauncey Rogers
If the shoe fits, wear it.
If it doesn’t, make it.
Laure is a teenage street urchin just trying to get away. Where the rest of the world sees an enchanting love story, Laure sees royal incompetence and an opportunity to exploit it. She'll have wealth and a way out of a life she detests, if she can only manage to hoodwink the royal family and survive to tell the tale.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from The Author and Amazon Digital Services LLC in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I am a sucker for a good retelling.
I have delved into one after the other, even though after a while a lot of them are predictable, and some of them are really awful. I am so happy to report that Happily is neither totally cliche nor frustrating. Guys, I loved this one.
Laure is a delightful heroine with snark that’ll make you smile, a flair for the dramatic, and a whole lot of guts. She fancies herself a loner, but she’s got a big heart. She’s not the type of girl to waste time ogling a pretty face. She’s interested and clever enough to know a bit of the political situation in her country and to know she doesn’t like the political leaders and wants things to change. Not that she’s going to change things, mind you, but a small optimistic voice in the back of her head says that her kingdom could be better.
All these things are wonderful about Laure. And Rogers embraces her feisty personality. She’s like George R. R. Martin’s Arya stuck in a Cinderella story. She’s resourceful and fierce and drives the storytelling, even in its less pleasant moments.
In as far as storytelling goes, Rogers has chosen a tale that’s been told before, about a million times. And yet, he finds a way to tell it differently. Instead of following Cinderella or the prince, we follow outside players. We follow the glass slipper and the mystery that surrounds it. The story will make you chuckle and you won’t miss drab old Cinderella or her fairy godmother for a moment. There’s love, but not the kind you want to roll your eyes at, and there are new friends to meet and adventures to be had in these pages. In fact, it almost feels like Laure’s adventures are just beginning….
This book was a delight and I don’t hesitate to recommend it in the company of other fabulous middle grade retellings like Ella Enchanted. The book is being marketed for YA readers, but I think the audience from ages 8-15 will enjoy it best. The quick-paced storytelling and hijinks will lure in younger readers. That said, as an adult, I found it delightful.
If you’re hungry for a Cinderella retelling and like clever heroines who defy the odds, get thyself to a copy of Happily.
Happily Goes to the Gallery
I definitely want to revisit this one sometime when I have a chance to read it a little more casually, to pick up the jokes or pieces I missed. I really, genuinely enjoyed the characters and I’d like to visit them again. I am actually considering passing this on to my friend’s daughter, who may enjoy the retelling aspect of the tale… but selfishly I want to revisit it again first…. 🙂
5/25/18 Update: This one is being donated now. 🙁 I know I said I would keep it, but revisiting the idea of rereading it… it’s definitely a rereadable book, but realistically I don’t think it’s one I’ll reread soon. If I get a hankering for it, I’ll support this indie author and buy another copy. In the meanwhile, I’m donating it to my local library where hopefully other will read it and fall in love with the story.