If you’re looking for a light, funny novella, look no further than A Happily Ever After of Her Own by Nadia Lee. Lee takes the term “fractured fairy tale” to new heights, creating a story in the same vein as the Shrek movies. Upon reading this e-book, who wouldn’t covet Melinda’s ability to pop in and out of various fairy tales? I know I’d love to take a first-hand look at my favorite tales. Then again, Melinda’s unique ability is what gets her into trouble in the first place.
Caught trespassing in Beauty and the Beast, Melinda is sent to Fairy Tale Court, where she must plead her innocence. Upon entering the tale, however, something goes horribly wrong and Beauty winds up missing. Beast appears in Court claiming that because of her, he’ll never get his Happily Ever After. Melinda’s crime is upgraded; she’s now considered a Fairy Tale Killer. It turns out that whenever Melinda stepped into a tale, she created a bridge from our world to that one. The Evil Witch finds out about this and uses the opportunity to snatch up Beauty and take her into our world. Melinda and Beast must set out to find Beauty and bring the Evil Queen back where she belongs before she takes over our world and dooms everyone to a tragic ending.
I really liked the way Lee builds up the way fairy tale characters are related to one another. In a way, characters from various books are really one big happy family. This had me laughing in surprise several times. I also loved the way Lee brought a new way of thinking to the term Happily Ever After. This quote sticks with me even now, a couple of weeks after reading this novella:
“‘Happily ever after does not mean they don't experience exasperation with each other, or are somehow exempt from life's hardships and misery. Living happily ever after is hard work, but you do it because you want to stay in love with the other person. Because your life without this one other, very special person would be something not full, but only half-alive.’"
(pg. 64, nook edition)
One reason people condemn fairy tales is because in real life, there is no “And they lived happily ever after.” I love this quote from Beast because it shows that just because we need to keep working at our relationship, it doesn’t mean that there’s no Happily Ever After. There’s more to his argument than just the above quote, and I feel it’s absolutely brilliant. It truly made me sit back and think.
Being a fairy tale story, Melinda is also on track for a happily ever after of her own, just as the novella’s title implies. Granted, the whole story occurs in about 24 hours, so the romance feels a bit rushed at times, but that might just be me nitpicking. I was also nitpicking when it came to the fact that Beast’s name is Edward. At first, I was surprised by the way the romance shapes up because I wasn’t expecting it to come in the form it did. Lee does it in such a way, however, that it makes sense. There’s a startling revelation about fairy tales that I won’t spoil for you here. Overall, A Happily Ever After of Her Own is a fast, entertaining read that will give you food for thought, especially if you’re a fairy tale lover!
While not my favorite cover, I really appreciate all of the elements at play. I love that the focus is on a book. Its pages look so life-like, flipping of their own accord. The magic rising is the perfect touch; this truly looks like a book Melinda would have stepped into. I also like the way the title uses a fairy tale-esque font like what you would see on the pages of an old-fashioned book. The background has a hint of a castle, as well as part of Melinda’s face, letting readers know exactly what type of book this will be (if they couldn’t already guess from the title).
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