There’s a line in the 90’s romcom “Never been Kissed” where Josie Geller says, “Someone once told me to write well, you must write what you know.” I often thought of this line while reading Julie Wright’s recently released, “Glass Slippers Ever After and Me.”
Charlotte Kingsley loves to write and dreams of having her reimagined fairy tales published, but she keeps getting rejected over and over. And to top it all off, her best friend, Anders, gets engaged, making her realize she s going to lose the Prince Charming who lives next door. After another rejection letter from a New York publisher, Charlotte decides to switch gears. What if she wrote a book about celebrating women for who they really are instead of trying to create a fantasy world for them to visit? She could call it The Cinderella Fiction, fill it with practical advice for living authentically, become ridiculously successful, and then find the confidence to tell Anders how she feels before it s too late.
Encouraged with her plan, Charlotte s new book practically writes itself and incredibly a small boutique publisher makes a quick offer to publish it. At first, Charlotte is excited to enter this fantasy world and play dress up, and Anders reluctantly agrees to go along with it, even though it means he’s largely out of Charlotte’s social media life and hidden from her public life entirely.
The toll of her new life soon proves exhausting. Charlotte needs to decide what she believes in: the fairy tale persona, or the woman Anders has always loved before he’s gone forever.
At a conference earlier this year I had the privilege of taking a class from Julie Wright and her quirky and loveable characters began to make so much sense. Charlotte is eccentric, but instantly relatable. Julie wrote her in a way that allows you to see Charlotte’s growth and internalize it.
The relationship between her and Anders was more of a plot motivator than a driving force and that worked really well for this story. I especially appreciated the completely lack of cattiness between the two. The relationship supplemented the story without overwhelming it.
The author states in the acknoledgments that the book is not autobiographical, however “there were times where it felt like it might be a smidge more true” than any other book she’d written. I have to admit there were times while reading that I felt the author was talking more than Charlotte was and it pulled me out of the story.
However Charlotte’s emotions were tangible and real allowing the reader to be pulled right back in. I freely admit it wouldn’t have been so poignant if the author hadn’t spoken from experience and from the heart.