Bantam, $11.00, ISBN 0-553-38234-9
Contemporary Romance, 2004
Donna Kauffman’s The Cinderella Rules is more of a romance novel than a chick-lit story in the sense of plotting and structure, so romance readers can pick this book up without too much worry. But I think that they’d be better off sticking with the author’s last trade paperback, The Big Bad Wolf Tells All, because this one never makes me forget its unrealistic premise, and the fact that the story seems to be searching for a direction after its first 100 pages doesn’t help matters much.
Only in romance novels can we have a wealthy heroine, Darby London, that ends up rejecting her wealth to start a horse farm in Montana. Okay, maybe it’s still believable, but I can’t buy that this woman would be so unaware of her manners and bearings that she would need some social rehabilitation to get back to society. This is what Darby needs in order to escort her father’s important client around town. Why she has to do this actually makes my eye roll as well, but that’s just one of the many instances where my eyeballs decide to do their impersonation of those hapless numbered balls bopping up and down in those tubes they use to pick winning lottery numbers. Soon she is making out with Shane Morgan, the grandson of one of Darby three’s “fairy godmothers” that run the charm school Glass Slipper, Inc. On his part, Shane is the kind of man that only wants to lose his wealth so that he can go exploring the world. I wonder how he will find the funds to keep exploring the world if he doesn’t have a steady paycheck coming, but when you’re rich, I guess it’s easier to believe that one can be A-OK without money and still do the things they are accustomed to doing. Greener pastures over the other side and all that, I guess.
For some reason Shane and Darby feel that they can never be, when I can easily imagine that all they need to do is to do what they always whine about for once, really donate all their money to me, and then run off to live in some drug and crime infested apartment in some seedy side of town. They will have so much fun there. But no, they whine that they just cannot give up the money because they have responsibilities to the people dependent on their wealthy lifestyles, so boo-hoo, cry me a river and I hope they all drown in my insincere tears.
But never mind, maybe I’m just too bitter to enjoy this wonderful paean to remind rich people that they too are ordinary people as they enjoy their champagne after sleeping with those exotic Barbados twin prostitutes that cost them ten thousand dollars a night before flying off in their private plane to some island for a fling with some pretty thing… ahem, where am I? Oh yes, this book. Anyway, once Shane and Darby are making out, the story seems to be at loss as to what it wants to tell me next. There’s a half-baked attempt at an attraction triangle (as opposed to love triangle) between Darby with Shane and the guy she is escorting and a really average attempt at suspense late in the story. By that point, what charm this book has is petered out by its slow-paced lack of focus, leaving me more indifferent than anything else. “Boring” is such a trite word, but this word describes The Cinderella Rules perfectly.