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by J.D. Robb ; Mary Blayney ; Elaine Fox ; Mary Kay McComas ; R.C. Ryan

Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-515-15407-8
Publisher: Jove/Penguin

Five new romantic takes on classic fairy-tale themes by five romance authors.

A short Eve Dallas & Roarke romantic suspense fashioned with Hansel & Gretel elements but with typical Robb intensity leads off this quirky, fun collection of stories. In "Taken In Death," Eve Dallas must save two frightened but clever twins who use an electronic toy to help rescue them from a truly evil witch. In "If Wishes Were Horses," Blayney’s inventive take on “Goldilocks,” a series of misunderstandings nearly keeps two souls destined for each other apart, in spite of the best efforts of a magic wishing coin. In "Beauty, Sleeping," Fox spins the fairy tale on its head and updates it in a winning way with a modern-day prince bewitched into a ghostly existence by a scorned fairy and the woman who must bring him back to life to save him. McComas fetchingly combines elements from the tragic "Little Matchstick Girl" with a virtually unknown Brothers Grimm fable, "The Star Money," and updates them to a contemporary fairy tale that has readers simultaneously wanting to strangle and celebrate the heroine-with-a-heart of gold, Natalie, and feeling very grateful for her vigilant, love-struck guardian cop, Miles, in "The Christmas Comet." Finally, in "Stroke of Midnight," Ryan pens a modern-day Cinderella story that uses engaging facets of the traditional and Disney versions of the classic and turns them inside out for a completely novel take on the tale. The stories are smoothly written and refreshingly original, with likable characters and magical aspects that will keep the romance audience invested. Modern readers may perhaps be a little annoyed with Sydney, who seems to be too much under the thumb of a stepmother whom she should be well rid of yet is too easily swayed by, even though she herself knows the woman is wretched; and also with Natalie, who is generous to a major fault. Yet, the stories are enchanting, and since it all works out in the end, in sigh-worthy ways, readers will be quick to forgive flaws.

Clever, winsome and fun fairy-tale fare.