Book Review: Cinderella At Sea by Ellen Wilder
Amanda can't believe her cousin booked her on a singles cruise and then stood her up, leaving her on her own. Considering Amanda has crippling social anxiety and regular panic attacks, I found it incredible that Amanda had about 5 minutes of being annoyed and then forgot about it. Frankly, that sort of stunt qualifies her cousin for Worst Relative Ever status.
With Cinderella in the title, I expected some sort of rags to riches romance, but Amanda isn't poor, downtrodden or oppressed in the slightest. Far from it, she's practically perfect in every way apart from her inconvenient panic attacks, which were easily the most realistic part of the story. I definitely didn't buy Hunter, the handsome 27 year old country music star who'd only slept with one woman before Amanda… but then slept with her on the first date. It seemed very contradictory. The only reason Cinderella is remotely relevant is that Amanda wore a Cinderella costume to a party, so the title is a bit of a stretch too.
By necessity, a romance conducted over the timespan of a one week cruise has to happen quickly, but even so, an author can take the time to bring in character development and show how and why the leads are perfect for each other. This author unfortunately falls into the trap of too much telling and not enough showing… Amanda and Hunter spent pages discussing what their aunts and siblings were doing and none talking about their future ambitions. At the end of the book, they've basically decided to give a long distance relationship a go, which is all well and good, except that Amanda then suddenly announces she's probably going to change her job anyway because she's tired of other people telling her what to do. This would have been such a good plot point to follow through the book, I was really disappointed it was thrown in so casually at the end there.
I did notice some grammatical issues with the book, and I'd definitely encourage the author to seek out a good editor. Novella length stories can be wonderful, but they needed to be very tightly crafted in order to tell a story which feels complete and not rushed. I can't give this one more than two stars.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.