REVIEW: The Cinderella Pact by Sarah Strohmeyer
Dear Ms Strohmeyer,
I remember when I first fell in love with Chick Lit. It was fresh then, new, exciting, funny. Well, as the years passed the freshness wore off. I started to get tired of bumbling, clueless women who settled for Mr. Ghastly for most of the book before finally figuring things out. And as for funny? Ah, not so much of that either. Occasionally I’m still lucky enough to find a winner. And when it turns out that a book I thought I’d just “give it a try” becomes a compulsive page turner, well that’s a great reading day.
When magazine editor Nola Devlin is turned down for her dream job as an advice columnist because she’s overweight, she decides to become thin — or, at least, pretend to be. Belinda Apple, the alter ego she creates — thin, British, hip and did we mention thin? — is a smashing success who is offered movie proposals, national television appearances, and even dates. Of course, no one’s actually met her in person.
Unfortunately, Nola takes Belinda a bit too far, jotting off a column about how easy it is to lose weight — a column her friends take seriously. Trapped by her own words, Nola is forced to join the “Cinderella Pact” and drop the pounds.
As the weight comes off, however, Nola’s problems begin to mount. Her magazine launches an ivestigation into Belinda Apple’s true identity, her friends race ahead of her in the weight-loss game, and her younger sister chooses Belinda as her maid of honor. Plus, there’s this mysterious hunk who might be Nola’s prince — or a rat in coachman’s clothing. Will this “everygirl” from New Jersey finally find a glass slipper that fits? Or do glass slippers shatter on the feet of real women like us?”
Your book was in a bunch of advanced releases that Jane sent me and when I read the blurb, I sorta cringed. Fat girl trying to take off weight and find a guy. Hmmm, could be painfully bad. But I’d heard from friends that your “Bubbles” books are good so I thought I’d at least start it and if it didn’t work for me after 4-5 chapters, I’d dump it. Well, I stayed almost glued to the book til the end. It’s funny and by that I mean really wonderful dry wit instead of Chick Lit pratfalls that often get passed off as humor. And, even if Nola’s ultimate Prince Charming seems too good to be true the book does have Cinderella in the title. I loved the Winter Solstice party and Eileen’s wedding.
Eileen is such a total Bridzilla. God save me from ever being a Wedding Planner and dealing with someone like her. But she does redeem herself at the end, even if it is the very end, of the story. I’m also glad that Prince Charming turns out to have been interested in Nola from before she lost weight. And that Nola’s weight loss is accomplished with hard work and lifestyle changes as well as exercising. Lori is a total bitch but you get the feeling she’s going to get what she richly deserves. Nigel? Is he or isn’t he? I think he is. I also like that most of the people closest to Nola figure out the truth — it makes them seem much more intelligent. The bit about Nancy and the sexist lawyer boss is realistic too. The 6th month showdown with restaurant manager is handled with taste and style by the three friends and a week of Nola’s mother’s comfort food sounds heavenly.
This is one book I’m glad I picked up and took a chance on. B+