by Jennifer Blackstream
Genre: fantasy romance
Publisher: Skeleton Key Publishing
Length: Novella, about 50k words or 180 pages
Buy Link: Amazon
Also available on: AllRomance and B&N
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Loupe always dreamed of getting married. She yearned for a caring husband who would take her away from her servant-like existence at home with her stepmother and two stepsisters, a man who would love her forever. Those dreams ended the day she was bitten by a werewolf. Now she’s a mindless beast on the night of the full moon—a condition that forever prevents her from sharing a marriage bed. Not even the attentions of a handsome and endearingly strong prince can convince her that the life she wants is still possible.
Etienne is a prince in need of a werewolf. A werewolf himself from birth, Etienne and his family have protected their kingdom with tooth and claw—literally—for thousands of years. Unfortunately, the spell of a well-meaning witch is slowly turning him human. Only the bite of a cursed werewolf, one who was not born with the beast inside, can save him from becoming human. He has no time for anything that will not lead him to a cure for the cure. Not even the beautiful maiden whose gentle nature soothes his soul can take his mind from his goal.
Love cares little for the best laid plans or the impossible. A grand ball. The stroke of twelve. A magic “slipper.” All kinds of things can happen when you don’t leave the ball…Before Midnight.
Natalie Gibson's Review:
Before Midnight is Jennifer Blackstream's take on the Cinderella story. The novella is part of her series of re-imagined fairytales, Blood Princes. I am a big Blackstream fan so when she contacted me with an ARC copy in exchange for a review I jumped at the chance. It did not disappoint. Aphrodite's Hunt and Under His Skin are two of hers that instantly jumped to my 'favorites' bookshelf and this one will be joining them.
Before Midnight has all the iconic images we have come to associate with Cinderella but with a new twist. There's a fairy, a pumpkin turned coach, a prince in need of a wife, a ball and a little something left behind to help identify her. I won't spoil the surprise but I will tell you this was one of my favorite parts of the re-write.
Loupe is Cinderella and her life is ruined because of a werewolf bite. She can never have the life she wants. She can never share her pain with anyone because if her stepmother or stepsisters ever found out they would not hesitate to kill her. Meeting the prince one day by pure coincidence only makes matters worse. The pain is more sharp because for the first time she can imagine how wonderful a normal life would be.
The pace was good and it kept my interest the whole way through. It could be read easily on a weekend day. The Cinderella character was much more three dimensional than the Disney version. She is strong but her world has her beat down. It doesn't take much for her to become the woman the prince needs; a powerful queen to help rule his kingdom and protect his people.
The story had a sex scene and a couple of wanton kissing scenes where they wanted it to go further but couldn't. There was some violence but no more than the Grimm fairytales did. It was a set up for the rest of the series which I cannot wait to read. Next is a vampire story based on Snow White. Sounds good, doesn't it?