Fairy tales have caused stepmothers to get a bad rep. This is a delightful antidote to the fairy tale and an entertaining read. It made this reviewer look at my own stepmother through brand-new eyes.
Middle-aged Mellie and Charming are refugees from the Third Kingdom, struggling with their fairy-tale portrayals. There is an instant attraction but they’re vulnerable, therefore tentative — plus Charming has two daughters. Mellie is furious over the portrayal of stepmothers as wicked in fairy tales, but her protests are falling on deaf ears. The false reports of her doing evil to Snow White are firmly ingrained in people’s hearts and minds. She seeks publicity for her cause by staging a protest at a book fair and runs into Prince Charming, aka Dave Encanto. He left his kingdom after a disastrous divorce from Ella. He convinces Mellie to write her story. After all, just look at what all the new romantic vampire books have done for their reputation. Mellie is no writer, so Charming agrees to help as their romance slowly unfurls. (SOURCEBOOKS, May, 321 pp., $6.99)