web site hit counter The Charmed Wife - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Charmed Wife

Availability: Ready to download

A sophisticated literary fairy tale for the twenty-first century, in which Cinderella, thirteen years after her marriage, is on the brink of leaving her supposedly perfect life behind. Cinderella married the man of her dreams--the perfect ending she deserved after diligently following all the fairy-tale rules. Yet now, two children and thirteen and a half years later, thing A sophisticated literary fairy tale for the twenty-first century, in which Cinderella, thirteen years after her marriage, is on the brink of leaving her supposedly perfect life behind. Cinderella married the man of her dreams--the perfect ending she deserved after diligently following all the fairy-tale rules. Yet now, two children and thirteen and a half years later, things have gone badly wrong and her life is far from perfect. One night, fed up, she sneaks out of the palace to get help from the Witch who, for a price, offers love potions to disgruntled housewives. But as the old hag flings the last ingredients into the cauldron, Cinderella doesn't ask for a love spell to win back her Prince Charming. Instead, she wants him dead. Endlessly surprising, wildly inventive, and decidedly modern, The Charmed Wife weaves together time and place, fantasy and reality, to conjure a world unlike any other. Nothing in it is quite what it seems, and the twists and turns of its magical, dark, swiftly shifting paths take us deep into the heart of what makes us unique, of romance and marriage, and of the very nature of storytelling.


Compare

A sophisticated literary fairy tale for the twenty-first century, in which Cinderella, thirteen years after her marriage, is on the brink of leaving her supposedly perfect life behind. Cinderella married the man of her dreams--the perfect ending she deserved after diligently following all the fairy-tale rules. Yet now, two children and thirteen and a half years later, thing A sophisticated literary fairy tale for the twenty-first century, in which Cinderella, thirteen years after her marriage, is on the brink of leaving her supposedly perfect life behind. Cinderella married the man of her dreams--the perfect ending she deserved after diligently following all the fairy-tale rules. Yet now, two children and thirteen and a half years later, things have gone badly wrong and her life is far from perfect. One night, fed up, she sneaks out of the palace to get help from the Witch who, for a price, offers love potions to disgruntled housewives. But as the old hag flings the last ingredients into the cauldron, Cinderella doesn't ask for a love spell to win back her Prince Charming. Instead, she wants him dead. Endlessly surprising, wildly inventive, and decidedly modern, The Charmed Wife weaves together time and place, fantasy and reality, to conjure a world unlike any other. Nothing in it is quite what it seems, and the twists and turns of its magical, dark, swiftly shifting paths take us deep into the heart of what makes us unique, of romance and marriage, and of the very nature of storytelling.

30 review for The Charmed Wife

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ceecee

    This is the fairytale of Cinderella but not as you know it, she’s been married to Prince Roland for thirteen and a half years and happily ever after?? Maybe, maybe not. This is a clever story as subversive as any of the original fairytales but Disney sanitised fluff (not that I don’t enjoy that!) this most certainly is not. It’s extremely well written, the style and descriptions are lively, colourful and engaging. It’s funny in places with plenty of modern day references that really stand out. T This is the fairytale of Cinderella but not as you know it, she’s been married to Prince Roland for thirteen and a half years and happily ever after?? Maybe, maybe not. This is a clever story as subversive as any of the original fairytales but Disney sanitised fluff (not that I don’t enjoy that!) this most certainly is not. It’s extremely well written, the style and descriptions are lively, colourful and engaging. It’s funny in places with plenty of modern day references that really stand out. There are fun elements like the stories of Brie and Nibbles, Cinderella’s mice and their descendants and I especially like Queen Gertrude the leader of the Valkyrie mice! There’s talking, rushing teapots with an endless supply of tea, there’s a fairy godmother and magic mirrors. However, there’s a very dark side too. The prince is ... well, not very princely in his behaviour, in fact he’s a cad and a bounder! There’s lie built upon lie in an empty cardboard life and sex, drugs and rock n’roll. Ok, I lied about the rock n’roll. There’s dark magic aplenty, right paths, wrong paths, reality versus fantasy, enchantment, curses and wicked deviousness. What, you expected a happy ending? As it reaches its conclusion that’s where the story reveals its particular, twisty cleverness as the truth of two worlds colliding reveals itself to one and all and the ‘princess’ makes some realisations and sees things how they really are. Overall, an enjoyable and different read which transports you to some magic in a land not too far away and allows you to shut of the reality of right now for a few entertaining hours. Great fun with a good message too! Recommended. With thanks to NetGalley and Hodder and Stoughton for the arc for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Olga

    THE SHORT OF IT: This book is not actually a genre fantasy novel. AND THE LONG: The Charmed Wife is my fourth novel, and I took some risks with it - it is a subversive mix of fantasy and reality that falls between genres and breaks many narrative rules. When I wrote it, I thought of it as an exploration of contemporary women's issues - romantic expectations, marriage, motherhood, identity, work, age - as viewed through the lens of fairy-tale metaphors, of the stories we tell ourselves and our chi THE SHORT OF IT: This book is not actually a genre fantasy novel. AND THE LONG: The Charmed Wife is my fourth novel, and I took some risks with it - it is a subversive mix of fantasy and reality that falls between genres and breaks many narrative rules. When I wrote it, I thought of it as an exploration of contemporary women's issues - romantic expectations, marriage, motherhood, identity, work, age - as viewed through the lens of fairy-tale metaphors, of the stories we tell ourselves and our children. And I saw the unfolding of the narrative, in many ways, as a journey from a two-dimensional world into a three-dimensional one. I am saying this to warn my would-be readers, then: this book is not for everyone. If you like your stories fully grounded in reality, the adventures of Brie and Nibbles, my talking mice, may not be quite to your taste. On the other hand, if you are used to straightforward fantasy and like all your female protagonists feisty, all your plots linear, and all your i's dotted, reading this might prove altogether disorienting. If you are familiar with my earlier work, you will already know that I write what is termed "literary" fiction (though I do have some issues with the straitjacket nature of this term). This novel, then, is not truly fantasy, nor a formulaic fairy-tale retelling. In fact, it is not a retelling so much as it is an examination (and an upending) of storytelling clichés and conventions - and it is as far from Disney pastel-colored yarns and happy endings as it is possible to get. Expect singing teapots and bumbling magicians, yes; but expect also therapists, lawyers, and custody battles. Expect many different fairy tales intertwined and twisted amidst the play of time and space; expect dreamy landscapes where nothing is certain, where nothing is as it seems. Expect some darkness, some sadness, and many hard truths, and questions that might linger in your mind at the end of the story. Expect experimentation with language and style, too, the tone shifting from the childlike singsong of familiar storytelling to bitter modern vernacular. In other words: if you do pick it up, approach with an open mind and expect the unexpected. Because, most likely, this book is not what you think. I did have tremendous fun writing it, and I will be thrilled if you give it a try. And I thank all my readers over the years.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    This book is not what you think it is. To tell you more would give away its surprises. Careful readers will wonder at what’s coming when they get to certain aspects. I’d love to say what these are, but the sense of uncertainty I felt while reading is key to what I liked so much. I found it enthralling, especially in how the story is moved forward. Some of the themes are similar to those in the author’s Forty Rooms, though they’re treated differently. The themes are dark, but there’s also lots o This book is not what you think it is. To tell you more would give away its surprises. Careful readers will wonder at what’s coming when they get to certain aspects. I’d love to say what these are, but the sense of uncertainty I felt while reading is key to what I liked so much. I found it enthralling, especially in how the story is moved forward. Some of the themes are similar to those in the author’s Forty Rooms, though they’re treated differently. The themes are dark, but there’s also lots of humor, including humor that will turn dark at its next mention. I’m drawn to fairytale retellings but, more often than not, I’m disappointed by them. I need a good reason for them to exist. Here multiple fairytales (and nursey rhymes like the “old woman who lived in a shoe”) and their elements are put to excellent use. I was excited when I came upon this book’s version of my favorite fairytale growing up, ‘The Twelve Dancing Princesses.’ It’s not as well known as others, but I’ve long felt it’s ripe for (re)interpretation. I didn’t read fairytales as a child for the so-called happy endings (many of them didn’t have that anyway), but for the outlandish stories that came before the ending. I wasn’t an adventurous child; it was always about what was in my mind. And this is a perfect (adult) rendition of that kind of mentally adventurous journey.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kristi

    This is one of the oddest yet most compelling books I’ve read this year. The Charmed Wife is a Cinderella retelling but it’s no HEA, instead, it reads like Cinderella is tripping balls down Alice’s rabbit hole. Thirteen and a half years go by for Cinderella after she’s married Prince Charming, thirteen and a half long years of some seriously messed up shit. She’s at a crossroads between a moral choice that will change her life when the story begins. It’s through past events and reflection that C This is one of the oddest yet most compelling books I’ve read this year. The Charmed Wife is a Cinderella retelling but it’s no HEA, instead, it reads like Cinderella is tripping balls down Alice’s rabbit hole. Thirteen and a half years go by for Cinderella after she’s married Prince Charming, thirteen and a half long years of some seriously messed up shit. She’s at a crossroads between a moral choice that will change her life when the story begins. It’s through past events and reflection that Cinderella delivers some insight on just what went wrong and why it took her so long to notice that her HEA wasn’t so happy. I grappled at first seeing Cinderella as a middle-age version, waking up one day to find that she’s been miserable and that her fairytale ending actually ended shortly after the wedding. The reality of what came after; children being raised by a nanny goat, an inattentive negligent husband, and the inevitable aging lead to a less than desired life and a sense of emptiness. The naïve girl remained and she became a naïve woman until her eyes were opened to some of the harsher facts of life. Painful surely but leading to her actual growth as a woman. The author challenges some of the well-known secondary roles in a fascinating way; the ugly step-sisters, the fairy Godmother and of course, Prince Charming himself aren’t exactly who we’ve been led to believe they are. Grushin challenges every ideal in the fairytale floofiness we’re spoon fed as children. She explores the unrealistic side of relationships that are literally built on nothing but instant attraction. The author points this out beautifully when Cinderella looks back on just why she’s so unhappy. A pretty face, a glass shoe that fits and a few dances does not make for a solid relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good fairytale as much as the next person but as I get older, I’m enjoying the tales where the princess saves herself much more. The Charmed Wife challenges a lot of widely held ideals about romantic notions and HEA in classic fairytales that are outdated and need some refreshing. I think this is a book for our times and Ms. Grushin delivers a beautifully subversive writing that challenges the old using a clever and witty narrative.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Paul Fulcher

    Love makes everyone blind, as simpering court storytellers are forever fond of intoning, quite as if blindness were a happy circumstance in which we all long to share. Storytellers are dangerous fools, and my eyes are wide open now. Olga Grushin’s debut novel Dream Life of Sukhanov was a delightful surprise and one of my favourite books of 2006, and her next novel in 2010, the wonderful The Concert Ticket (also set in the Soviet Union) was an excellent follow-up. I see I have rated both books 4* Love makes everyone blind, as simpering court storytellers are forever fond of intoning, quite as if blindness were a happy circumstance in which we all long to share. Storytellers are dangerous fools, and my eyes are wide open now. Olga Grushin’s debut novel Dream Life of Sukhanov was a delightful surprise and one of my favourite books of 2006, and her next novel in 2010, the wonderful The Concert Ticket (also set in the Soviet Union) was an excellent follow-up. I see I have rated both books 4* but that was pre Goodreads and when I typically gave 1-2 books a year 5*; both would likely now be 5 stars on my Goodreads scale. Forty Rooms, focused on the life of a Russian émigré, wasn’t quite so successful for me, flawed but still intoxicating and a good 4 star read. But it contained an intriguing link to this, her latest novel to be published in 2021, with early chapters that beautifully captured the wonder of childhood when everything in the world seems mysterious, and the boundary between reality and imagination is blurred. He belonged to my Russian childhood. The otherworldly real of fairy tales, secrets and revelations that - even at my eighteen years of age - was so quickly receding into the distance of both time and space that I could already see myself believing someday that half of it had been real, or perhaps all of it had been real. Strikingly Forty Room’s narrator’s dialogues with seemingly imaginary characters, and her visions of what might have been / might yet be, continued throughout her life. What after all is the difference between a memory and a fantasy? Are not both a succession of imprecisely rendered images further obscured by imprecisely chosen words and animated only by the wistful effort of one's imagination. The Charmed Wife takes us away from a Russian-based setting and firmly into the world of fairy tales. It is a sequel of sorts to the story of Cinderella, following in the footsteps of many authors, including (as Grushin acknowledges) “A. S. Byatt, Italo Calvino, Angela Carter (The Bloody Chamber is a masterpiece), Robert Coover, Neil Gaiman, George MacDonald, Cristina Bacchilega, Ruth Bottigheimer, Maria Tatar, Marina Warner, and Jack Zipes.” We live by rules in our land, and the rules are exacting and many. Trials and wishes come in threes, glossy fruit should be avoided, frogs must never be kissed unless you are ready for a commitment, and princesses, at least the war‑bling kind, should be ever so mindful of their mood swings—it is sunny when we are cheerful, dreary when we are sad, and stormy when we are driven to consult heinous hags in furtive matters of maleficent magic. Married for 13 and a half years, the novel opens with our heroine, now Queen of the kingdom, snipping off a lock of her husband’s hair then meeting with said heinous hag, a witch who needs this to cast a spell cursing Prince NolongersoCharming. The Fairy Godmother tries to intervene and the discussion between Queen, witch and Godmother gives us both much of the back history of the troubled aftermath of the fairytale wedding and also the tangled (yes there is a nod to Rapunzel and indeed many other fairy tales) history of all three. There is also a side-story of the mice (and ex-horses), or rather of many generations of said mice, told by an omnipotent narrator, once to which Cinderella (actually, we find, called Jane) is rather oblivious: She naturally attributed much more significance to her own life than to the lives of simple mice, and would have been genuinely astonished had anyone told her that her one-note, romance-obsessed, cliché-ridden story might not be immensely more important or endlessly more fascinating than the multigenerational, multidimensional, magical, militant, philosophical, and culturally diverse saga of the dynasty of Nibbles and Brie. Around two-thirds of the way through the novel the setting shifts from the world of fairy tales to that of modern-day New York, giving an alternative, more real-world, take on the troubled marriage although even there our heroine (who has her account evolves becomes increasingly less heroic), views her life, rather like in Forty Rooms, through the prism of fairy tales, and is also uncertain what is a real memory and what a story: Perhaps all these other truths I now remember are only stories I once told myself to keep sane, to mask the crude ugliness of things ending, to transform the chaos of pain into some semblance of order, of higher sense. And maybe that is what all fairy tales are, at their heart: generations of unhappy women through‑ out history who lost their mothers to disease, fathers to violence, daughters to labor, sons to hunger, who were beaten, abandoned, exploited, orphaned, collectively trying to dream themselves into a life that made sense, spinning tales of man‑eating ogres, crystal shoes, poisonous apples, and true love—thinly veiled metaphors of everything gone wrong and everything hoped for on lonely winter nights. Overall, the novel is an impressive achievement in many respects, and fun to read, although didn’t entirely cohere for me. At times the fairy tale part (with people literally living in shoes and gingerbread houses) seemed to make this more of an older children’s story akin to the Disney Twisted Tale series (but then the spikier messages about relationships and age inappropriate material aren't suitable), the mice story didn’t seem to add much (other than enabling the author/narrator to make the point in the quote above) and the shift from fairy-tale to New York (why does that make me think of Kirsty McColl?!) wasn’t entirely successful given Jane didn’t really shift her mental world. I look forward to Grushin’s further novels, but compared to her earlier work, this was a relative disappointment for me. 3 stars. Thanks to the publisher via Netgalley for the ARC.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    I am not the right audience for this book. The long interludes about the talking mice Brie and Nibbles were unbearable, and the parts about the naive and whiny Cinderella were only slightly better. I was hoping for a sharp, clever story about what “happily ever after” really means, but this book is more of a jumbled mess about a woman who insists on being the victim in her own story and who has read too many fairy tales. In case you care about such things, characters are shamed for their weight, I am not the right audience for this book. The long interludes about the talking mice Brie and Nibbles were unbearable, and the parts about the naive and whiny Cinderella were only slightly better. I was hoping for a sharp, clever story about what “happily ever after” really means, but this book is more of a jumbled mess about a woman who insists on being the victim in her own story and who has read too many fairy tales. In case you care about such things, characters are shamed for their weight, age and appearance generally. 2.5 stars I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Berit☀️✨

    What happens after the happily ever after? This is the story of Cinderella after she finds out that prince charming is basically a complete fraud. A cad in prince’s clothing. The story picks up 13 years after Cinderella and Prince charming say I do. Cinderella is now the mother of two and rarely sees her prince. this leads Cinderella to seek the help of an evil witch and sends this fairytale spiraling. A dark and modern twist with a splash of humor. OK there was a lot I liked about this book, b What happens after the happily ever after? This is the story of Cinderella after she finds out that prince charming is basically a complete fraud. A cad in prince’s clothing. The story picks up 13 years after Cinderella and Prince charming say I do. Cinderella is now the mother of two and rarely sees her prince. this leads Cinderella to seek the help of an evil witch and sends this fairytale spiraling. A dark and modern twist with a splash of humor. OK there was a lot I liked about this book, but I have to say it did not hold my attention very well. Now I am going to take complete ownership of that because I was wanting a fun humorous take on Cinderella after the happily ever after. this book was much more cerebral with a lot of social commentary especially on gender norms. I loved how the stepsisters, the godmother, the evil witch, and the mice were portrayed in this book. These characters were portrayed so differently it was a great inventive Twist on the original fairytale. And this probably leads to the biggest problem I had with this story, it just wasn’t an actual retailing. I don’t even think that’s what the author was intending, and that’s totally fine it just didn’t work for me personally. there were just so many little subtle nuances throughout the story that didn’t enhance the reading experience for me, they just left me confused. I think this was a well written well executed story it just was not the story for me. *** Big thank you to G. P. Putnam for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    The fairy tale Cinderella—as envisioned by Walt Disney—has shaped the dreams of millions of young girls, who dream they will one day, they, too, will find their Prince Charming and live happily ever after. But wait! What if Prince Charming turned out to be not quite so…charming? What if Cinderella got “woke” years later to find that she had traded in her own dreams to live a sterile life with an unhappy man who ignored and at times despised her? In other words – what if Cinderella became trapped The fairy tale Cinderella—as envisioned by Walt Disney—has shaped the dreams of millions of young girls, who dream they will one day, they, too, will find their Prince Charming and live happily ever after. But wait! What if Prince Charming turned out to be not quite so…charming? What if Cinderella got “woke” years later to find that she had traded in her own dreams to live a sterile life with an unhappy man who ignored and at times despised her? In other words – what if Cinderella became trapped in her own fairy tale? And what if, above all else, she wanted her prince dead? This audaciously imaginative, wildly creative and lyrically written new novel by Olga Grushin is a true marvel. It’s populated with all the archetypes and legends of fairy tales—the witches, the fairy godmother, the dancing mice (who have delightful back stories of their own), the stepsisters (who turn out to be nowhere as bad as Cinderella imagined.) Hints of other fairy tales abound—Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel & Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood—and are woven seamlessly into the narrative. In a fairy tale world, Ms. Grushin suggests, things are run by their own logic. Young maidens are always beautiful and fair and princes and kings are always valent or sometimes, blood-thirsty. Witches weave spells and stepsisters are evil. And woe to the fairy tale character who tries to break out of this preordained life. But, the author suggests, if fairy tales constrict—and they do—doesn’t a princess feel more clearheaded, awake and present when she embraces her messy real-life possibilities—filled with hope and promise and unpredictability? Don’t true-life "fairy tales" occur when we break free from the battling the tedium of stale fairy-tale coupledom? And aren't there bound to be greater rewards awaiting the generations of unhappy women who collectively try to dream themselves into a life that transforms the chaos of pain into some kind of order—while giving up something important in the process? Cinderella, then, becomes every woman who gives away her freedom and her fire—her untold stories and her future selves—in exchange for a “handsome prince” and a big house to call home. Without ever stretching herself beyond her one-dimensional role, no wonder her prince begins to feel stifled too. We, the readers, never do know Cinderella’s real name until she goes through her own Hero’s Journey and emerges with realizations of who she really is and what she really wants. Her rewards: her name, which lifts her out of the stereotype and introduces her as a flesh-and-blood woman. I am thrilled to be an early reader, and thank Catapult and NetGalley for an ARE in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    switterbug (Betsey)

    A certain mood flares or the moon beams, and I’m keen for an adult fairy tale--in this case, a fractured fairy tale (remember those?). I slipped gently into Grushin’s twisted, clever, and lyrical morality tale--a supple and exuberant allegory of women, their choices, and their consequences. What happens in a fairy tale that ends with, “And they lived happily ever after?” That’s more of a prognostication than a destiny. In THE CHARMED WIFE, a princess is not living happily ever after, and against A certain mood flares or the moon beams, and I’m keen for an adult fairy tale--in this case, a fractured fairy tale (remember those?). I slipped gently into Grushin’s twisted, clever, and lyrical morality tale--a supple and exuberant allegory of women, their choices, and their consequences. What happens in a fairy tale that ends with, “And they lived happily ever after?” That’s more of a prognostication than a destiny. In THE CHARMED WIFE, a princess is not living happily ever after, and against all odds, she aims to undo her fate. Grushin’s depth and facility with language eclipses the clichés that lesser writers would fall into with this genre. Instead of just one plot line here, there are several subplots, with familiar tropes inverted, offering a surreal and sometimes disturbing portrait of a royal life. Jane, after 13 years of marriage and two children with her “Prince Charming,” (Roland), is fed up. As much as she loves her children, she detests Roland’s philandering ways and condescending, cruel treatment toward her. She seeks out a witch and asks for release, in the most un-fairy-tale-like way. Enter the fairy godmother, also. In fact, it isn’t just Cinderella here, but references and events of Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Jack and the Beanstalk, and so many other fairy tales that we grew up with, that make cameo and poignant appearances. As Jane begins her journey, the reader is taken back and forth through the years of their marriage. The reader has to keep up, and concentrate--unlike the usual fairytales that you can read and recite in your sleep. Grushin’s prose is as silken as a princess’ dress, so I slid with alacrity down the slippery slope of fairy tale corrections. Corrections, that is, of the falsity of “happy ever after,” which the author redresses with biting wit and wisdom. At times, the passages are linguistically surreal, metaphorical, and poetical, in ways that evoke an almost physical display of thoughts. This is a princess who is initially thoughtless, covetous, naïve, and indolent. Her journey carries her deep in the weeds of her interior self, a place she had denied and declined to reside until the palace felt more like a prison and her riches like privation. Jane eventually confronts a different kind of magic and reality. “Magic hung thick on the air, almost visible, like a sheen of green moonlight that made everything slightly distorted, shimmering and shifting—and she sensed this magic to be completely unlike any she had known before. For the ordinary brand of godmother magic was thinly spread, civilized as a powdered wig, harmless as a drop of liqueur after a four-course meal, whimsical as glass footwear, and entirely pedestrian in its dabbling, domestic purposes of comfort and matrimony. This magic felt uncanny—denser, older, much more hidden, and much less certain; though whether it was light or dark, she could not tell.” Dip your toe into the fanciful fable, the awesome allegory, and the willowy prose of Olga Grushin. From Cinderella to Little Red Riding Hood, and multitudes between, the author includes the idea of many fairy tales into one morality tale, and she does it with her fertile mind and her magic whimsy. At the end, the “happily ever after” motto has pivoted to an enlightened outcome. Thank you to Putnam and NetGalley for my advanced copy.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sofia

    'And perhaps the stories I hear are not precisely the stories they tell......" What a beautiful thrashing Grushin gives the Cinderella story. Kudos. What happens after the 'happily ever after' something happens for sure unless we want to become bored and find mischief elsewhere. Grushin bases this story on Cinderella's fairytale but then makes it a point to visit as many European fairytales as possible and paints them with her revisionist take. Considering that a lot of these tales push forward th 'And perhaps the stories I hear are not precisely the stories they tell......" What a beautiful thrashing Grushin gives the Cinderella story. Kudos. What happens after the 'happily ever after' something happens for sure unless we want to become bored and find mischief elsewhere. Grushin bases this story on Cinderella's fairytale but then makes it a point to visit as many European fairytales as possible and paints them with her revisionist take. Considering that a lot of these tales push forward the idea that we poor females need rescuing and then once we are saved by the heroic deeds of the manly man (sometimes all it takes is a kiss) then we live happily ever after. Well ha bloody ha to that and a great big yes to a different take. So Grushin's revision is super as she examines this in depth and we have an examination of 'love' and the 'happily ever after' and what such 'dreams', 'goals' mean. How they take away our agency to carve a way forward based on us and who we are and what we really want. Instead they sell the idea of what they think is happy and if we follow that then we are followers rather than leaders of our destinies. I know which road I prefer rather than the straight jacket fairytales and gender specific roles put us in. And when I say 'us' here, it means both women and men because being a waiting heroine or a manly man is a straight jacket for both. An ARC gently given by author/publisher via Netgalley.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Vonda

    I was excited for the opportunity of reading this book as I love the retelling of fairy tales. This was a tragedy. It was a difficult read, it retold supposedly the tale of Cinderella. It wasn't though. It is 13 years into the marriage of Cinder and the Prince. This was just another wife trying to escape a cruel, cheating husband.. No fairy tale, no magic...just bad writing. I was excited for the opportunity of reading this book as I love the retelling of fairy tales. This was a tragedy. It was a difficult read, it retold supposedly the tale of Cinderella. It wasn't though. It is 13 years into the marriage of Cinder and the Prince. This was just another wife trying to escape a cruel, cheating husband.. No fairy tale, no magic...just bad writing.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    The Charmed wife by Olga Grushin is adult retelling of the time after Cinderella got her man the prince and lived happily after. After 13 and a half years of marriage to the Prince and two children later Cinderella is had enough of the marriage. The Prince and herself live separate lives and live-in different side of the castle. He never sees his children and they do not talk to each other. She wants more to her life. She wants the prince dead but when she meets a witch but, thing don’t always g The Charmed wife by Olga Grushin is adult retelling of the time after Cinderella got her man the prince and lived happily after. After 13 and a half years of marriage to the Prince and two children later Cinderella is had enough of the marriage. The Prince and herself live separate lives and live-in different side of the castle. He never sees his children and they do not talk to each other. She wants more to her life. She wants the prince dead but when she meets a witch but, thing don’t always go to plan. The story starts the same fairy-tale style, with snippets of other tales thrown in. It is beautifully written book but then for the second half of the story it gets too modern with talk of divorce and custody which I wasn’t expecting at all. I also found this book hard to get into. It wasn’t the magical tale that we all know and love and this is definitely NOT for children. Three stars from me.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    I have always believed the ‘traditional’ fairy-tales and stories that were spoon-fed from a very young age (to myself and older generations) were ultimately damaging for girls. To grow up expecting to be saved, or looked after, is dangerous. Even if you know it’s ‘only’ a story, you are still subtly conditioned to feel less important, which, if not rooted out before adulthood, can change how you approach relationships – if a relationship doesn’t start out on an equal footing, it is usually doome I have always believed the ‘traditional’ fairy-tales and stories that were spoon-fed from a very young age (to myself and older generations) were ultimately damaging for girls. To grow up expecting to be saved, or looked after, is dangerous. Even if you know it’s ‘only’ a story, you are still subtly conditioned to feel less important, which, if not rooted out before adulthood, can change how you approach relationships – if a relationship doesn’t start out on an equal footing, it is usually doomed. This novel illustrates beautifully how toxic this fairy-tale crap can be when it manifests in real life. Thankfully, these days, those types of role models are slowly being squeezed out of the picture. The premise is that we are reunited with ‘Cindarella’ after she has been married to Prince Charming for 13 (unhappy) years. The writing is wonderful as always with Olga Grushin; she is one of my fave modern writers. It’s not a cosy read – I found the magical aspect quite dark and slightly menacing throughout, although not overtly – but it was addictive! As you progress through the novel, you start to see the story gradually taking shape - fantasy blending with reality (this blend emphasises the sense of disorientation and unease). It was fascinating to see a modern take on the behaviour of these fairy-tale characters; there is not only Cinderella here, but snippets of many others – all shown from an alternative angle. Baba Yaga makes an interesting appearance too. So, beware of falling into the trap of the fairy-tale expectation - don’t put ridiculous pressure on yourself to achieve ‘happily ever after’ at the expense of wasting your life. Beautifully written, thought-provoking and original. Very much a book for our times - recommended! I got this on Netgalley, thank you.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maira Bakenova

    What happens after a happy ending? Cinderella’s married life in the palace seems like an endless loop of idle eating and dancing, her husband's never present or invariably distant, her children her only joy she may soon lose. The tone of the book is an odd, in all the positive ways, combination of fairy tale and a realistic narrative voice of an unhappily married woman, fuelled by her misery and the newfound decisiveness to end it. It is both sad and refreshing to witness the well-known version of What happens after a happy ending? Cinderella’s married life in the palace seems like an endless loop of idle eating and dancing, her husband's never present or invariably distant, her children her only joy she may soon lose. The tone of the book is an odd, in all the positive ways, combination of fairy tale and a realistic narrative voice of an unhappily married woman, fuelled by her misery and the newfound decisiveness to end it. It is both sad and refreshing to witness the well-known version of Cinderella reimagined as a miserable woman in her mid-thirties, struggling to make sense of her bleak happily ever after. I applaud the author’s vision and her take on other familiar characters. No one, not the Prince, not the evil stepsisters, not even the Fairy Godmother are what we’re used to. The occasional cuttings to Cinderella’s mice’s personal lives feel like fun interludes but somewhat unnecessary, nonetheless, overall, the structure of the novel is skilfully accomplished. We begin with a brief overview of the story we already know and then dive right into The Charmed Wife’s narrative, with appropriately timed and placed flashbacks, each told in a fairy tale manner and welcoming some more unexpected yet familiar faces. My personal favourite is the Witch, who, as many others, is not at all what you would expect. Sometimes, it is hard to tell what is real or not, just as Cinderella struggles to tell reality from her fantasy. Here our world and fairy tale are transposed on one another to show that magic cannot solve everything, true love is not the same as lust or infatuation, and making excuses for others is a futile endeavour that nourishes hate, and “hate traps you as much as love does.” The novel touches on the subject (which has been bothering me for quite some time) of the Prince having the whole kingdom trying on the glass slipper until finding the girl it would fit, essentially, any girl with the appropriate shoe size. “Would he have even known the difference?” Cinderella ponders. At some point, she begins to acknowledge the power of choice and what true love really feels like, which is far from feeling like “some misplaced piece of luggage” that needed retrieving with a glass slipper acting as a luggage tag. The novel challenges the outdated conviction that goes in line with the “middle-aged certainties” of Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, that marrying rich is every woman’s ultimate goal. Of course, true love does exist. But it is not shallow, it is not just about the looks, interminable gifts, and possessions, but something much deeper that would never take away your dignity. There are many “beautiful beginnings”, but not all make for a beautiful ending. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine meets Once Upon a Time with a darker twist, the novel is tragic, funny, and refreshingly unexpected. You will not be disappointed.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elke

    Wow... I did not like this book at all. Not even a little. It's supposed to be a Cinderella retelling but it ended up being a weird mix of fairytale storytelling combined with modern day stuff. It confused me most of the time and the way things were being described was way too over the top for my liking. Not to mention the dull, one dimensional characters. Nope. Wow... I did not like this book at all. Not even a little. It's supposed to be a Cinderella retelling but it ended up being a weird mix of fairytale storytelling combined with modern day stuff. It confused me most of the time and the way things were being described was way too over the top for my liking. Not to mention the dull, one dimensional characters. Nope.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina

    All I want is to be free - free of him, free of my past, free of my story. Free of myself, the way I was when I was with him. This book slid off in a completely different direction to what I was expecting, and I loved it anyway (maybe even more?). I went in thinking it would be a subversive fairytale retelling - I got that and a lot more.There are so many layers to this book. Stories within stories within stories. The central character is 'Cinderella', but we also have minor threads that her o All I want is to be free - free of him, free of my past, free of my story. Free of myself, the way I was when I was with him. This book slid off in a completely different direction to what I was expecting, and I loved it anyway (maybe even more?). I went in thinking it would be a subversive fairytale retelling - I got that and a lot more.There are so many layers to this book. Stories within stories within stories. The central character is 'Cinderella', but we also have minor threads that her own storyline grazes, crosses or tangles up with in this great big tapestry of the Fairytale World. Bluebeard and Sleeping Beauty are just two that come to mind. There are so many overlapping stories that it's almost dizzying - which perfectly matches the strange, dream-like state of wandering into a forest and bumping into folktale after folktale making up this fairytale web. Merida ('Brave') following the will o'the wisp into the forest The transition from the fairytale universe to modern day New York City was utterly seamless and downright sneaky! I'm still in shock at how it was done and so impressed. Especially when an important fact comes up near the end, relating to Cinderella's childhood.I absolutely loved how self-aware and subversive this was, especially when you look back at bits of Cinderella's fairytale life from the lens of her present-day hindsight in NYC. Cinderella is a very unreliable narrator so PREPARE TO BE CONFUSED - Confused gif (Jin from BTS) - YET ALSO MARVEL at how Grushin's almost indecently long sentences (like seriously, a LOT of commas) evoke precisely the sense of confusion, tension and simmering discomfort and anxiety felt by Cinderella herself. A woman overwhelmed by the reality of her unhappy marriage and a music box of a world. Ballerina in a music box, twirling, twirling, twirling... This is more of a character-driven book with a lot of flashbacks and introspection. Speaking of flashbacks, I think at least half of the exposition is actually in the way of Cinderella recalling her past leading up to the knife's edge moment where she deliberates killing Prince Roland (her husband). Character-wise, I liked that no one felt 2D good or evil - everyone was nuanced, including the far-from-innocent Cinderella and the husband she's demonised in her head. The plot was certainly still interesting - especially when reading the side-fairytales - but if we're talking plot, it's the parallel story of Cinderella's mice that really shines. It was highly entertaining and surprisingly diverse (sapphic mice of the world, unite!), as well as being a clever way of adding extra depth and context to the world-building. It was especially effective when we started slipping into the modern world/era. That night, when I go to bed, I dream of being a witch. I dream of being a sleeping beauty. I dream of being a gingerbread house. I dream of being a prince. I dream of being a falling star, a rushing wind, a rustling forest. All in all, a surprising and thought-provoking (and somewhat mind-bending) read that I'd recommend for fans of fairytales and folklore! A word of caution to younger readers though, as it does occasionally get somewhat graphic in relation to sex and violence. Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the eARC for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Laura (Bookie_mama_bear)

    Book 1 of 2021 - The Charmed Wife by Olga Grushin, out 21 Jan 2021, it’s not to be missed. Especially if you love a fairytale retelling! 13 and a half years after their happily ever after Cinderella is looking to a witch for help, her marriage isn’t all that happy after all, but instead of a love potion she’s looking to have Prince Roland killed. This is not what I expected it to be but it was so much more! This is a fairytale for grown ups, make no mistake. There’s a million other fairytales spok Book 1 of 2021 - The Charmed Wife by Olga Grushin, out 21 Jan 2021, it’s not to be missed. Especially if you love a fairytale retelling! 13 and a half years after their happily ever after Cinderella is looking to a witch for help, her marriage isn’t all that happy after all, but instead of a love potion she’s looking to have Prince Roland killed. This is not what I expected it to be but it was so much more! This is a fairytale for grown ups, make no mistake. There’s a million other fairytales spoken of or hinted to but never fully elaborated on. It’s clever, incredibly clever. I can’t tell you about the story without some serious spoilers but here’s the things to watch out for: Psychological drama, gaslighting, addiction, substance abuse, mild smut, magic, mice, mental health & family. What a thought provoking, well written and absorbing read. The best way I can describe it? Think Cinderella meets the movie Inception - no I’m not thinking of another movie, seriously Cinderella meets Inception.....it’s just too good!!!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Davida Chazan

    4.5/5 stars (updated)! I know I almost never read fantasy books, but something about this one being a story about what happens after the fairy tale of Cinderella ends drew me in. I liked it a whole lot more than I thought I would, to be honest. Here's my review https://tcl-bookreviews.com/2021/01/2... 4.5/5 stars (updated)! I know I almost never read fantasy books, but something about this one being a story about what happens after the fairy tale of Cinderella ends drew me in. I liked it a whole lot more than I thought I would, to be honest. Here's my review https://tcl-bookreviews.com/2021/01/2...

  19. 5 out of 5

    RK Downs

    This is a wonderful, unexpected, kaleidoscope of a book. Olga Grushin’s delicious prose once again makes me want to underline one sentence after another, except that I would end up underlining more than half of the book. The metaphors are so rich and varied, the descriptions astonishingly original and sensory-laden. The story is a re-telling and continuation of the Cinderella story, but it goes much farther than that, wandering through the world and worlds this fairy tale lives in. It is very tw This is a wonderful, unexpected, kaleidoscope of a book. Olga Grushin’s delicious prose once again makes me want to underline one sentence after another, except that I would end up underlining more than half of the book. The metaphors are so rich and varied, the descriptions astonishingly original and sensory-laden. The story is a re-telling and continuation of the Cinderella story, but it goes much farther than that, wandering through the world and worlds this fairy tale lives in. It is very twisty as it unrolls before you and the deft plotting combined with the extraordinarily colorful narrative allows you live inside of it. It is hard to put down and impossible to describe more specifically without giving away this book’s secrets and revelations, and that would be so wrong. You need to experience the unfolding of this story yourself. One thing I really love about this book is how much thinking and wondering it inspires.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    Keep an open mind when reading this book. It’s captivating, imaginative and extremely strange in a magical way! Most of us grew up reading fairytales with beautiful princesses, handsome princes, ugly ogres and witches, potions, and happily-ever-afters. Throw all this out the window and enter a world where Prince Charming is unfaithful, Cinderella restless, godmothers and witches are not what they seem. And those mice sure have a story of their own! This book is not for everyone but if you read i Keep an open mind when reading this book. It’s captivating, imaginative and extremely strange in a magical way! Most of us grew up reading fairytales with beautiful princesses, handsome princes, ugly ogres and witches, potions, and happily-ever-afters. Throw all this out the window and enter a world where Prince Charming is unfaithful, Cinderella restless, godmothers and witches are not what they seem. And those mice sure have a story of their own! This book is not for everyone but if you read it I guarantee that you will question all the fairy tales and their happy ideal endings that you read as a child! It’s an unique story with a couple of dark surprises!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Skylar

    Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review Upon first seeing the synopsis for this book, I was super intrigued. I'm a big fan of a fairytale retelling, and had never read a Cinderella one before. Then I see that it's an adult, dark retelling following Cinderella as she decides she wants to kill her husband, and I was IN. I love dark storylines, and this sounded so promising. I feel so let down after reading it. The writing is something th Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review Upon first seeing the synopsis for this book, I was super intrigued. I'm a big fan of a fairytale retelling, and had never read a Cinderella one before. Then I see that it's an adult, dark retelling following Cinderella as she decides she wants to kill her husband, and I was IN. I love dark storylines, and this sounded so promising. I feel so let down after reading it. The writing is something that I really did not enjoy, and it was very all-over-the-place, disjointed, and waffled on a lot. After reading the end and encountering the twist (I guess??? It was hinted at and was fairly obvious) I can understand what the author was trying to do with this style of writing, in terms of an unreliable narrator etc. But I just don't think it was done well. It was incredibly confusing to read, and the constant shifts in first-person to third-person perspective I found jarring. The storytelling itself was kind of boring, because it was basically "this happened, this happened then this happened" and there wasn't really any dialogue or anything, and it was boring to get through for the most part. As I said, it all felt a bit disjointed throughout, and I think a big part of this is down to the constant tangents and random mini plots that had no significance at all and I found myself skimming through. For example, there's a whole mouse subplot that is brought up a lot in Part 1, and while I found it cute and quirky at first, it quickly developed into pages of random plot that I'm still confused as to why it was included. The actual Cinderella storyline was again what drew me into this book, and I was disappointed in the route it took. The story essentially boils down to the age-old "woman scorned by her adulterous husband" tale, and her descent into prescription drug use and mental instability felt like such an outdated trope that I just do not like one bit. The characters in the story were all so flat and one-dimensional, in particular her husband. And again, I get it, I get what it was trying to do because of the narration POV and not seeing all sides of the story etc etc, but having the antagonist be "oh he cheats all the time and he's BAD" is again outdated and I didn't have a good time. I really don't like leaving bad reviews, but the synopsis of this book had my hopes so high, and I am just kind of disappointed. I think I'm just not the audience for this book, and was misled by its description.

  22. 5 out of 5

    A

    I received an ARC from NetGalley for an honest review. After over thirteen years of a mostly unhappy marriage, a woman seeks to murder her husband in this shrewd Me-Too era abstraction of the traditional Cinderella fairy tale. Readers who appreciate domestic realism with fantastical elements, a flawed female lead, and compelling introspective and confessional prose should give this book a look. Fans of The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter looking for an intricate and experimental tale in which the I received an ARC from NetGalley for an honest review. After over thirteen years of a mostly unhappy marriage, a woman seeks to murder her husband in this shrewd Me-Too era abstraction of the traditional Cinderella fairy tale. Readers who appreciate domestic realism with fantastical elements, a flawed female lead, and compelling introspective and confessional prose should give this book a look. Fans of The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter looking for an intricate and experimental tale in which the ordinary and the strange intersect, this book is for you. The Charmed Wife begins with a disillusioned and disquieted princess, who is a nearly middle-aged mother of two trapped in a foundationless and irrevocable broken fairy tale marriage. Olga Grushin introduces us to her version of Cinderella when she is confident her only path to serenity, possibly even joy, is the death of the man she understands to be cruel, weak, and emotionally unavailable. Then, by challenging normalized patriarchal fairy tale values, Grushin transforms a familiar callow stock character, the perfect princess delineated by her insipid simplicity, into a sympathetic protagonist with real feelings and relatable problems like postpartum depression and opioid addiction. Cinderella’s reckless and rash journey from trope to unconventional heroine is original, unexpected, and surprising. While The Charmed Wife is often somber, it does contain some optimism later in the story when Cinderella is more forward-thinking during emotionally distressing events. If you liked either Beyond The Woods: Fairy Tales Retold edited by Paula Guran or Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado, then you might enjoy The Charmed Wife.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sara Zaninelli

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. “Storytellers are dangerous fools, and my eyes are wide open now.” • Thank you to Hodderscape for the proof copy! I was not expecting this book to be so heartbreaking and I am not able to express how much I loved it without spoilers. This story starts as a dark retelling of Cinderella, a love story that has gone VERY bad. Cinderella is not happy, her prince is no the shining one she has met at the ball so many years before.. he has become an unfaithful husband who doesn’t care about her and their c “Storytellers are dangerous fools, and my eyes are wide open now.” • Thank you to Hodderscape for the proof copy! I was not expecting this book to be so heartbreaking and I am not able to express how much I loved it without spoilers. This story starts as a dark retelling of Cinderella, a love story that has gone VERY bad. Cinderella is not happy, her prince is no the shining one she has met at the ball so many years before.. he has become an unfaithful husband who doesn’t care about her and their children anymore. So she simply decides she wants to kill him and be rid with him forever. Of course things don’t go as planned first because she is a good person, second because she doesn’t want to disappoint her children that still love him. But the truth behind all this is that Cinderella is simply a mother of our days that has fallen into that big black hole that is depression. She and her husband have married for interests, there has never been love and she has been too naive to realize that. So she has decided to put her head under the sand and not to see the realty, to take refuge in a well known fable that made her feel like a princess who has been given a miracle that didn’t turn out as good as it seemed at the beginning. This is the story of a mother that needs to learn how to live with her own forces, without relaying on a man just because it’s easier, she deserves more in life and she needs to realize that. This is an incredible to way to reimagine Cinderella’s story, one that makes it feel more actual and that makes clear it still has something to tell, something to teach. Sometimes fables are meant to make us dream, sometimes they want to teach us that we are stronger than we think and that if we want something we must fight for it, not waiting for a fairy godmother to change the reality. The atmosphere is very magical and there are even genius moments like the parallel story of the mice that have helped our princess to become a queen.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Katie_la_geek

    *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review* It is very rare that a book leaves me feeling so unsure. The Charmed Wife is definitely different but I am not sure if it is a feminist masterpiece or a quirky hot mess. Maybe as the days pass my mind will lean firmly one way or another or maybe it will find a place somewhere in the middle for now though I am quite uncertain. 13 years after Cinderella married Prince Charming things are not all she hoped they would be. Her husba *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review* It is very rare that a book leaves me feeling so unsure. The Charmed Wife is definitely different but I am not sure if it is a feminist masterpiece or a quirky hot mess. Maybe as the days pass my mind will lean firmly one way or another or maybe it will find a place somewhere in the middle for now though I am quite uncertain. 13 years after Cinderella married Prince Charming things are not all she hoped they would be. Her husband is not the dashing man she married and her life is less than desirable. What follows is a charming tale of a woman finding herself. The Charmed Wife looks at relationships and the history of women through a magical eye. I have read a lot of novels about being a woman but nothing quite like this. The book is stocked full of metaphors that are sometimes bold and sometimes hidden. It challenges the idea of 'a fairy-tale romance' in a witty and clever way. Yet, sometimes I wonder if it goes a little too far. What is happening is not always clear and certain parts (the parts about the mice for example) are charming but don't really add much. It lost me in a couple of sections and I even contemplated not finishing the book before it thankfully managed to grab me again. I cannot imagine that everyone is going to love this book but I would recommend it to all readers. If you are looking for something fresh and different this could very well be the book for you.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hayley

    Thank you to Kate Keehan at Hodder Books for sending me a proof of 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗺𝗲𝗱 𝗪𝗶𝗳𝗲 by Olga Grushin. - 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐚 𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐚 𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝 ... 𝐈𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐮𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐛𝐮𝐫𝐧𝐬 𝐛𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐢𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐞𝐲𝐞𝐬, 𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐭 𝐧𝐨𝐭 - 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐮𝐧 𝐢𝐬 𝐠𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐜𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐞𝐲𝐞𝐬, 𝐝𝐞𝐟𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐝, 𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐤𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐭𝐞. - The Charmed Wife is a retelling of the fairytale Cinderella, but with a twist. It isn't simply a different story with the same characters, but is Thank you to Kate Keehan at Hodder Books for sending me a proof of 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗺𝗲𝗱 𝗪𝗶𝗳𝗲 by Olga Grushin. - 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐚 𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐚 𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝 ... 𝐈𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐮𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐛𝐮𝐫𝐧𝐬 𝐛𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐢𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐞𝐲𝐞𝐬, 𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐭 𝐧𝐨𝐭 - 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐮𝐧 𝐢𝐬 𝐠𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐜𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐞𝐲𝐞𝐬, 𝐝𝐞𝐟𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐝, 𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐤𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐭𝐞. - The Charmed Wife is a retelling of the fairytale Cinderella, but with a twist. It isn't simply a different story with the same characters, but is an enchanting literary tapestry of fairytale, folklore, fantasy, reality, and magical realism. - 𝐀𝐭 𝐦𝐢𝐝𝐧𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐬𝐬𝐫𝐨𝐚𝐝𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐤𝐢𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐠𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝐩𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐭 𝐢𝐭: 𝐚 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐟𝐥𝐮𝐱, 𝐚𝐧 𝐢𝐧-𝐛𝐞𝐭𝐰𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐧 𝐢𝐧-𝐛𝐞𝐭𝐰𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐫. - There is so much symbolism and history woven through this book, which may be missed by readers who don't have previous knowledge of fairytale, folklore and myth. Even small details within the plot, like the Queen of Swords tarot card given by the gypsy great-grandmother, add to the setting and demeanor of our main character in her quest to understand herself better. - 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐝 𝐯𝐚𝐩𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐛𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐚𝐧 𝐨𝐩𝐞𝐧 𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐨𝐰, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐬𝐰𝐢𝐫𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐛𝐮𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐬𝐡𝐞 𝐠𝐥𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐬, 𝐛𝐥𝐮𝐞 𝐝𝐫𝐚𝐠𝐨𝐧𝐬, 𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐤 𝐟𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐬, 𝐲𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰 𝐜𝐨𝐜𝐤𝐫𝐨𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐣𝐚𝐰𝐬 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐨𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐲 𝐠𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐬, 𝐚 𝐧𝐞𝐛𝐮𝐥𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐩𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐬𝐦𝐚𝐠𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐚 𝐨𝐟 𝐠𝐫𝐨𝐭𝐞𝐬𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐬, 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐯𝐢𝐥𝐞, 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐟𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐝𝐚𝐫𝐤, 𝐝𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞. - The tale itself was whimsical, vivid and incredibly immersive. With a blend of fantasy and reality, characters are not who they seem, conventions are challenged, and the truth of 'the happily ever after myth' is put under the spotlight. - 𝐒𝐡𝐞 𝐢𝐧𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐚 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐮𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐬𝐡𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰𝐧 ... 𝐚𝐧 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐛𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐜𝐢𝐭𝐲 - 𝐚 𝐜𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐬𝐨 𝐢𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐛𝐲 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞 "𝐆𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠" 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐠𝐢𝐧𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐟 𝐚𝐧 𝐞𝐱𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐝𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 ... 𝐒𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐢𝐝 𝐟𝐚𝐢𝐫𝐲𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐫𝐮𝐥𝐞𝐬 𝐝𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐦𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞, 𝐬𝐨 𝐬𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐚𝐝𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐡 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐟𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐲 𝐟𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐮𝐧𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞, 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐞𝐱𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐞 𝐦𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐜 - 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐜 𝐨𝐟 𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐢𝐜𝐞. - I especially liked the personal journey that Cinderella/Jane goes on throughout the novel. At times it felt a little like a fever dream, and the story touched on some dark elements of fantasy and reality that contributed to the narration from our main character. To begin with she plays the role of victim, as someone to whom bad things have just happened, but as time goes on she recognises the truth, and the part she has played in her unhappy life with Prince Roland. She wakes up to reality, and with the help of her family and a good therapist, starts to turn her life around. After all, our perspective of our own lives comes from the tales and stories that we tell ourselves. - 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐬𝐚𝐲, 𝐝𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐧𝐨𝐭, 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐢𝐯𝐨𝐫𝐜𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲, 𝐬𝐨 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐬 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐬 𝐈 𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐫𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐈 𝐨𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐭𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝐦𝐲𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟 𝐭𝐨 𝐤𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐬𝐚𝐧𝐞. - I've seen some other reviews recently that stated this book was not what they expected from the blurb/premise. I can understand this viewpoint in the sense that it is an unconventional fairy-tale retelling, but I enjoyed it immensely. - 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤 𝐨𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐬𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟-𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐡, 𝐬𝐨 𝐥𝐞𝐭'𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐜𝐮𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐂𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐚 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐱. - I would recommend The Charmed Wife to readers who have a specific interest in fairytales, folklore, myth, feminism and literary fiction.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    What happens next for Cinderella? Grushin’s fourth novel unpicks a classic fairy tale narrative, starting 13.5 years into a marriage when, far from being starry-eyed with love for Prince Roland, the narrator hates her philandering husband and wants him dead. As she retells the Cinderella story to her children one bedtime, it only underscores how awry her own romance has gone: “my once-happy ending has proved to be only another beginning, a prelude to a tale dimmer, grittier, far more ambiguous, What happens next for Cinderella? Grushin’s fourth novel unpicks a classic fairy tale narrative, starting 13.5 years into a marriage when, far from being starry-eyed with love for Prince Roland, the narrator hates her philandering husband and wants him dead. As she retells the Cinderella story to her children one bedtime, it only underscores how awry her own romance has gone: “my once-happy ending has proved to be only another beginning, a prelude to a tale dimmer, grittier, far more ambiguous, and far less suitable for children”. She gathers Roland’s hair and nails and goes to a witch for a spell, but her fairy godmother shows up to interfere. The two embark on a good cop/bad cop act as the princess runs backward through her memories: one defending Roland and the other convinced he’s a scoundrel. Part One toggles back and forth between flashbacks (in the third person and past tense) and the present-day struggle for the narrator’s soul. She comes to acknowledge her own ignorance and bad behaviour. “All I want is to be free—free of him, free of my past, free of my story. Free of myself, the way I was when I was with him.” In Part Two, as the princess tries out different methods of escape, Grushin coyly inserts allusions to other legends and nursery rhymes: a stepsister lives with her many children in a house shaped like a shoe; the witch tells a variation on the Bluebeard story; the fairy godmother lives in a Hansel and Gretel-like candy cottage; the narrator becomes a maid for 12 slovenly sisters; and so on. The plot feels fairly aimless in this second half, and the mixture of real-world and fantasy elements is peculiar. I much preferred Grushin’s previous book, Forty Rooms (and Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, one of her chief inspirations). However, her two novels share a concern with how women’s ambitions can take a backseat to their roles, and both weave folktales and dreams into a picture of everyday life. But my favourite part of The Charmed Wife was the subplot: interludes about Brie and Nibbles, the princess’s pet mice; their lives being so much shorter, they run through many generations of a dramatic saga while the narrator (whose name we do finally learn, just a few pages from the end) is stuck in place. Originally published on my blog, Bookish Beck.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine

    No date, no rating - DNF @ p72/25% This was not for me. While I like the concept for it, I'm not enjoying the writing style. The lack of linearity/chronology throws me off and confuses me every time, as does the constant change between using 'I' and 'she' for our main character. I had absolutely no interest in the bracketed and italicised story of the mice, which was jarring and pulled me out of the story whenever it popped up. Thank you to Olga Grushin, Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for provi No date, no rating - DNF @ p72/25% This was not for me. While I like the concept for it, I'm not enjoying the writing style. The lack of linearity/chronology throws me off and confuses me every time, as does the constant change between using 'I' and 'she' for our main character. I had absolutely no interest in the bracketed and italicised story of the mice, which was jarring and pulled me out of the story whenever it popped up. Thank you to Olga Grushin, Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with an e-copy in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Susan Tunis

    This take of Cinderella is funny, feisty, fierce, and feminist. What fun! Set aside your expectations, because this is not the fairy tale you know. It's what happens after the happily ever after, when it turns out that the prince is no prince, and the princess is damaged and fragile. As clever as the princess's story is, I also found myself fascinated by the miniature dramas of her pet mice. Late in the book, I learned this was very much the plan, as the subplot was pronounced, the "multi-generat This take of Cinderella is funny, feisty, fierce, and feminist. What fun! Set aside your expectations, because this is not the fairy tale you know. It's what happens after the happily ever after, when it turns out that the prince is no prince, and the princess is damaged and fragile. As clever as the princess's story is, I also found myself fascinated by the miniature dramas of her pet mice. Late in the book, I learned this was very much the plan, as the subplot was pronounced, the "multi-generational, multi-dimensional, magical, militant, philosophical, and culturally diverse saga of the dynasty of Nibbles and Brie." It was too delicious not to quote! I've read a lot of realistic books with hints of the fantastic, but this is one of the rare times when I've read a fantasy with hints of the realistic. Turning convention on its head is what this book does well. Very enjoyable!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bookworm Blogger

    I would first like to thank Hodder & Stoughton for sending me an ARC of this fantastic book. We all know the stories and some of us have based our life on living that ‘happily ever after’. Granted were not all princesses but we all hope to find that one person we can sail off into the sunset with and who loves us unconditionally, but have you ever wondered what happens to the princess after? Well sit back and let Olga Grushin take you on a dark and twisted tale of her own. I definitely did not exp I would first like to thank Hodder & Stoughton for sending me an ARC of this fantastic book. We all know the stories and some of us have based our life on living that ‘happily ever after’. Granted were not all princesses but we all hope to find that one person we can sail off into the sunset with and who loves us unconditionally, but have you ever wondered what happens to the princess after? Well sit back and let Olga Grushin take you on a dark and twisted tale of her own. I definitely did not expect the story to plan out how it did even after reading the synopsis. Obviously I knew it wouldn’t be all fairies and unicorns, the sunshine happiness we’ve come to receive from fairy tales but Grushin delivers a story that is unusual, strange and unlike any retelling I’ve ever read. This is Grimm’s turned up 1000 notches! I enjoyed the beginning when Cinderella was surrounded by the witch and her Fairy God Mother, explaining her life and what events had taken place since she said I do. I felt that both magical beings played the devil and the angel, advising and trying to convince Cinderella what she should do for the best. In particular I thought the witches part in the story was fascinating, I loved the different ways she appeared and her back story was compelling. What I found clever and a great addition were the links to the other fairy tales. None of the characters were what they seemed, villains were portrayed in better lights and heroes clearly had their dark side. It made me realise there’s a little darkness inside everyone, even a princess. I will admit that I got a little lost when the modern world started to emerge. I felt like Cinderella trying to work my way through the fog so it brought the pace of the book down a little. Luckily all was explained when the two worlds clashed together. This left me questioning what was reality and what was fantasy, which I would like to think was Grushin’s entire plan? It was a very cunning way to round it all off. This was a great retelling and I would love to see more from Grushin, hopefully she will explore some of the other stories she gave a nod to in this. After all happily ever after isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning….

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kayleigh

    This is a fairytale retelling quite unlike any I’ve ever read. There’s always been a part of me that wondered what happened after the ‘happily ever after’ but equally a part of that carries the long time romance of everything remaining happy and perfect. Olga Grushin challenges everything we’ve ever read regarding fairytales with this book. After thirteen and a half years of marriage, Cinderella is looking to end her marriage ... with the death of her husband. What follows is a story of an unhappy This is a fairytale retelling quite unlike any I’ve ever read. There’s always been a part of me that wondered what happened after the ‘happily ever after’ but equally a part of that carries the long time romance of everything remaining happy and perfect. Olga Grushin challenges everything we’ve ever read regarding fairytales with this book. After thirteen and a half years of marriage, Cinderella is looking to end her marriage ... with the death of her husband. What follows is a story of an unhappy wife, a husband who isn’t what he seemed and a crossover of a fairytale and modern world. I was completely hooked with this story and although so parts were confusing and some a little unnecessary (mouse interludes, I’m looking at you) it was thoroughly gripping and completely unique. I must emphasise that this is not a book to read to your children, it’s very much an adult retelling! Well, there’s some adult content at least. Thank you so much Hodderscape for the gifted proof copy. Pros: + unique + gripping + familiar fairytale characters, though very different from what we know Cons: - slightly confusing at times - unnecessary added scenes (mice, but some people might like those)

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.