Cinderella; or, The Little Glass Slipper by Henry W. Hewet

Cinderella
Rating:

An okay 1855 retelling of a classic that dates back to at least the 17th century.

I’ve not read any of the classic versions before so certain elements leapt out at me that did not appear in Disney’s adaption.

Here, Cinderella’s father is alive and blindly infatuated with his wife while he neglects his daughter.

‘Yet the poor thing bore this ill treatment very meekly, and did not dare complain to her father, who thought so much of his wife that he would have scolded her.’

An explanation of Cinderella’s name leads me to wonder if her real name is Isabella.

‘…she used to sit in the chimney-corner amongst the cinders, which had caused the nickname Cinderella to be given her by the family…’

And also known to her stepmother as Cinder-wench.

‘elastic glass slippers’ – an oxymoron, if ever there was one. If I didn’t know any better, Hewet is referring to plastic. Plastic was in development at this time; the first type patented a year after publication.

The patronizing paternalistic morality of the commentary when referring to the rules imposed on the temporary freedom she is granted by her Godmother, the Queen of the Faeries, is shudder-inducing:

‘…an everlasting lesson to all the pretty little Cinderellas in the world to keep their word, and to act in good faith by such as befriend them.’

I didn’t realise that Cinderella spends more than one night at the ball with the Prince, though it makes more sense, giving him time to become fixated on his wife-to-be. Then, expending time and resources on finding her when she leaves for good without giving him a name with which to find her.

…she not only forgave them with all her heart, but wished for their affection… allowed her sisters to lodge in the palace, and gave them in marriage, that same day, to two lords belonging to the court.

I’m not the type to forgive and forget, but as Cinderella was deprived of love and affection from these people, she’s in a position to demand it now. She can force them to kiss her shoes if she wished. However, there’s no mention of what becomes of her stepmother or her father. Perhaps their fate is less rosy.

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View all my reviewson Goodreads

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