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Book review: 'Fairy Godmothers, Inc.' shows Cinderella from the viewpoint of a quirky fairy godmother

By Stephanie Abney

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, April 20 2013 3:00 p.m. MDT

"FAIRY GODMOTHERS, INC." by Jenniffer Wardell, Jolly Fish Press, $27.99, 350 pages (f)

In her debut novel, "Fariy Godmothers, Inc.," Jenniffer Wardell introduces us to an endearing fairy godmother.

Kate is a young, charming and marches to the beat of her own drum and is employed by Fairy Godmothers, Inc., which trains fairy godmothers to help princesses find a prince and their own happily-ever-after through a variety of levels of wish fulfillment packages that generally include a dress, ball, a prince and that ofttimes pesky missing slipper.

Kate likes to do things her own way, despite a harsh and demanding supervisor. The results are both funny and sweet.

Kate's latest assignment is to help a young lady named Cinderella, but goes by Rellie, get her happily-ever-after with the crown prince of Somewhere, Rupert Devlin Golden Montclaire Charming. But Rupert, who has been a rake of sorts, has decided to rethink and redefine his life, which makes things tricky for Kate.

Early on, things get interesting when Kate literally runs into Rupert's younger and a more responsible brother Jon and they make an instant connection. It’s easy for Jon to see she is a fairy godmother because of her wings, but Kate is unaware that Jon is a prince. Besides, she’s in the business of creating happily-ever-afters for others, not herself.

And Jon's involvement generally does help, but things get all twisted around when Rellie has ideas of her own about love and the crown prince decides to follow his heart, too.

"Fairy Godmothers, Inc." is a fast-paced and witty retelling of the age-old story of Cinderella, but there never has been a retelling such as this.

Witty dialogue and unexpected twists and turns make this an enjoyable and engaging read. At times, the humor and tone of the book are a bit snarky and mature, weaving a tale that would be enjoyed by adult and young adult readers. There isn't any offensive language, any violence is usually during an accidental magical explosion and the characters don't go beyond kissing.

Wardell has created a fantasy world filled with magic spells, potions, princes and princesses, creatures, glass slippers, intriguing family dynamics, arbitrary rules and regulations, pomp and circumstances and more. Her smart and easy-flowing dialogue does it in such a way that draws the reader in.

Utah resident Wardell has been writing for years. She is currently the arts, entertainment and lifestyle reporter for the Davis Clipper, a newspaper that serves Davis County. Wardell has received awards from the Utah Press Association and the Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

If you go ...

What: "Fairy Godmother's Inc." book launch

When: Saturday, April 27, 1-4 p.m.; reading and Q&A at 2 p.m.

Where: Layton Barnes & Noble, 1780 Woodland Park Drive, Layton

Web: barnesandnoble.com

Also ...

What: Jenniffer Wardell book signing

When: Saturday, May 4, 1-4 p.m.

Where: Sugarhouse Barnes & Noble, McIntyre Center, 1104 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City

Web: barnesandnoble.com

Stephanie Abney, eternal optimist, retired schoolteacher and freelance writer, lives in Mesa, Ariz., with her husband, Jim. They have five children and 18 grandchildren. Email is sabneyfeedback@cox.net and she blogs at stephaniesaysso.blogspot.com.

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