ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘So This Is Love: A Twisted Tale’

Reading Time: 4 minutes

So This Is Love

So This Is Love: A Twisted Tale is the newest book in the Twisted Tale series which explores what would happen if a key turning point in a Disney film had not worked out as planned. Published by Disney HYPERION, the book is written by Elizabeth Lim. The book asks what would happen if Cinderella never tried on the glass slipper after attending the ball.

Cinderella knows her one night at the ball would be the best night of her miserable life. Waking up again with just one glass slipper as a reminder of her night was hard, but she accepted her fate and life with her cruel stepmother, Lady Tremaine, and stepsisters. However, when Prince Charles becomes desperate to find her sending the Grand Duke to every household in order to find who the glass slipper belongs to, she dreams of a better life. Things don’t go as planned though when Lady Tremaine locks her away. After nearly being sold off to a terrifying man, Cinderella escapes. Now on the streets, Cinderella finds herself a job at the palace after befriending a seamstress on her way to work. Despite being close to the prince, Cinderella is reluctant to reveal her truth.

But when Cinderella begins her work at the castle, serving under the king’s visiting sister, she uncovers a grand conspiracy and prejudices against fairies, including her own fairy godmother. Cinderella is forced to act and choose love or loyalty and stop the villainous plot.

So This Is Love: A Twisted Tale is a reimagining of Cinderella’s story that gives her more depth, independence, and purpose. While not perfect, the book gives modern readers a more palatable story. In addition to focusing on Cinderella, the book features a subplot about protecting the poorest and more marginalized people within the kingdom. While it is not as fleshed out as I would like, the overall plot is a chance to showcase the beauty in Cinderella’s kindness and braveness. It is however slightly uncomfortable to read about certain members of royalty including the Prince himself’s desire to better the lives of people while living in an untouchable castle run by servants who live in poverty. Charles comments on the council’s decisions to raise taxes on the common folk while sipping tea poured for him by a servant. The cognitive dissonance is palpable but also easy to ignore if you don’t think too hard.

So This Is Love
Photo credit: Elizabeth Lim’s Facebook

My least favorite part of the book is the worldbuilding. Despite trying to be in-depth, it often feels tacked on and lacks real substance. I was far more interested in the characters than the world they inhabited. I would probably compare the depth of the worldbuilding to that of Descendants series. There are a lot of holes and things that do not hold up under scrutiny but overall it sets the plot up well enough. The focus on the lackluster worldbuilding makes the pacing toward the middle of the book far too slow.

It isn’t until Cinderella meets the Prince again toward the third act that the book becomes truly engaging. Unlike the original Disney movie, So This Is Love: A Twisted Tale does a fantastic job of giving the Prince more depth. Charles falls into a lot of the romantic tropes we see from royalty in fantasy books. He often feels tired of being the Prince, he hates being recognized so much, and he feels lonely because no one relates to him. However, the tropes never feel tiring and instead his further fleshed out backstory makes him incredibly likable.

The best part of the book is Prince Charles. He is as charming as you would expect with just a touch of sass. His interactions with Cinderella are romantic in a way that makes your heart flutter. Additionally, in So This Is Love, Cinderella is more than a fair maiden or damsel in distress. While her inaction at the beginning of the book frustrated me, her ability to pull herself out of a toxic situation, getting away from her stepmother, and survive without the help of the Prince is commendable. Cinderella is a hard worker, she’s smart, and she’s incredibly kind but she is also at times too meek and doesn’t stand up for herself enough. Through the course of the book, Cinderella grows a lot and understands her value. This is something that the original film doesn’t focus on so it was a lovely addition.

Overall, So This Is Love: A Twisted Tale is a solid romance and while at times very predictable, is exactly what it brands itself to be. Fans of the Twisted Tale series will enjoy this addition. Similarly, fans of Disney, especially the Disney Princesses, looking for a lighter read should be sure to grab this one off the shelf.

So This Is Love: A Twisted Tale is available April 7, 2020, at bookstores everywhere.


So This Is Love
3.5

TL;DR

So This Is Love: A Twisted Tale is a reimagining of Cinderella’s story that gives her more depth, independence, and purpose. While not perfect, the book gives modern readers a more palatable story.