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  • The Fairy Tale Magazine

Book Review: Charming by Jade Linwood


I was excited to read this novel which promised a twist of fairy tales centered around the Prince Charming character, but while the book does deliver on its promise, it is more of a light-hearted romp through the world of fairy tale than a serious contemplation of character or story.


The book begins with “Once Upon a Time” and introduces readers to Jean-Marc Charming Arundel and his valet Roland as they are fighting ogres and battling briars to reach a sleeping beauty named Lady Bella. Prince Charming, however, is not what you expect, and he leaves the beautiful maiden unmarried when he steals her family’s treasures. When the abandoned Lady Bella shares her romantic heartbreak with Princess Marie Blanche de Neige (a woman persecuted by her stepmother’s poisoned apple) and Dr. Emelia Rapunzel (an orphaned girl raised in isolation by a practitioner of the arcane arts), the three women realize they have all been duped by the same “charming prince” and they set out to take their revenge.


I thought this plot-based book was simple and somewhat flat, but it is filled with fairy tale settings and references that may delight readers looking for an escape from more nuanced novels. There are dragons and taverns, duels and weddings, hazel trees and fairy circles, and a cast of recognizable fairy tale characters. The book concludes that knowing true names leads to power and it subverts the traditional “happily ever after” with a humorous feminist revenge fantasy. Although I hoped for more depth in the story, it is a fun read that those new to the fairy tale retelling genre may enjoy. The writing did not exactly “charm” me or deepen my contemplation of fairy tale narratives, and I hoped the novel would offer much more when I saw the beautiful cover and evocative title, but reading the book was a fun way to spend a couple of hours. A great choice for young adult readers or those looking for humorous escapist fiction.


You can order the book here.


Thank you to NetGalley for a free copy of the book in exchange for a fair review.

Kelly Jarvis is the Special Projects Writer and Contributing Editor for The Fairy Tale Magazine. Her work has appeared in Eternal Haunted Summer, Blue Heron Review, Forget-Me-Not Press, Mermaids Monthly, The Chamber Magazine, and Mothers of Enchantment: New Tales of Fairy Godmothers. She teaches at Central Connecticut State University.


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