“The Reluctant Godfather” by Allison Tebo

 Cinderella doesn’t have a fairy godmother – but a fairy godfather. And he’s not old, frumpy, and cheerful…he’s young, grumpy, and prone to losing his temper.

For this fairy godfather, who only has two wards – the prince and a girl named Ella – it seems the perfect solution for them to fall in love and make each other happy, thus freeing him to devote himself to cake-baking for the rest of his life. But can he pull it off in just one ball?

This story caught my eye during one of the Indie Christian Author sales, and when I got the chance to pick up a review copy as part of the re-launch blog tour, I jumped on it.

TL;DR— I recommend this cute little story for anyone into romance, and anyone who’s been wishing someone would turn this classic fairy tale on its head.

The Unlikely Hero

In this world, fairies have similar lifespans to humans and must take care of their godchildren with “spells” that they form from their innate “magic.” Burndee – our crusty hero – can hardly be bothered with his troublesome charges, and so is a disappointment to the rest of fairyland.

I looked forward to spending time with Burndee. After all, the fun of irritable characters is that they can say everything we think, but won’t say. Because, of course, we’re too nice and thoughtful. (Once I finally got a handle on Ricco, Renegade became one of my favorite books.)

Wouldn’t you know it, the narrative manages to make Burndee, and us, feel uncomfortable with this self-centered mindset.

After all, Burndee would much rather live his own life. Whenever he tries to help his charges, the plan seems to backfire on him. Why should he have to beat his brains out to serve others?

Because it’s his job, that’s why. Darn.

The World

I didn’t get a really good picture of what the world was supposed to be like. It contains the king, prince, horse-drawn carriages, and fairies you’d expect in classic medieval fantasy…but the story also mentions “mechanical carriages” (early cars? steam-punk devices?). A young woman goes to college to become a doctor, and the prince galavants around the town without so much as a bodyguard, let alone a squad of soldiers for protection.

If the author continues Burndee’s adventures, we might explore more of this world. We might even learn exactly what separates fairies from humans…if anything.

One thing I liked was the description of the ballroom during the party. Appropriately, it gets the most lavish description in the book – and it does shine.

The Wards

Who does Burndee have to play “fairy godfather” to?

Number 1 is the prince: intelligent, self-assured, and even sneaky. Although I have a soft spot in my heart for young princes, Collin and I didn’t hit it off as well as I thought we would by the end of the book.

Number 2 is a girl named Ella suffering severe domestic abuse at the hands of her step-family. And yet, she magically possesses a loving, kind heart and lets everyone walk over her because she’s just so selfless –

Oh, did I mention she’s afraid of mice? As in, fainting-at-the-sight-of-mice? Just to save her from being the over-the-top Cinder-Mary Sue we’ve seen so often before!

While I found her spineless sacrificial love as annoying as Burndee does at first, I slowly came to see her in a different light – just like Burndee does. Thank goodness there are people like Ella, to even out the self-absorbed cranks like Burndee and me.

The Happily-Ever-After

In a tale as old as time, just what can you get away with for making the story your own, while preserving the original?

Ms. Tebo has certainly made it her own. While I could have guessed where it was heading early on, the tension came from not knowing where the changes would be.

Burndee tried so hard to make his plan work. What will go wrong? Can he fix it when it does go wrong?

Some of the tension also came from the romantic undertones. Burndee’s character change walks us through the pain that giving up your selfish desires causes, and I appreciate that. However, if you know anything about me you know that my relationship with Romance is strained, to say the least.

Burndee’s softly developed feelings are dealt with chastely, avoiding the pitfalls of overwrought angst. However, I felt that his portrayal in the final chapter was a little too much of a departure from his previous character. Not even the “Power of Love” can make a character flip-flop to their polar opposite on a dime.

Whatever. They all lived happily ever after. And I’m a grumpy old biddy who hasn’t looked in on her fairy godchildren in years. I probably don’t even have any fairy godchildren, since I’m so cynical, and not a fairy.

Recommended for…

  • People who normally like clean romance. It’s definitely clean, and only gradually and quietly romantic.
  • People who like fairytales. After all, Burndee turns a teapot into an anvil. Can’t argue with that, hey?
  • People who think, “Of course Cinderella wears a blue dress, but can’t someone think of a way to mix it up a little? Maybe even give us a surprise ending?”
  • People who like watching borderline-violent cranks be reformed. Because while it’s fun to imagine punching everybody we don’t like, someday we have to get rid of those urges. Just like Burndee. Spoilsport.

Disclaimer: I received a free review copy from the author to participate in the relaunch blog tour. All views expressed are my own.

You can find The Reluctant Godfather on Amazon, or directly through the author’s website. As of this writing, it was FREE to borrow through Kindle Unlimited.

She’s also hosting a GIVEAWAY to celebrate the book’s relaunch:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To connect with the author, find her on any of these sites:

Website: http://allisonteboauthor.com/
Blog: http://allisonswell.website/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16192992.Allison_Tebo
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/allisonteboauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AllisonTebo

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