The Cinderella Moment – by Jennifer Kloester
Angel’s dream has always been to become a fashion designer. But as the daughter of a housekeeper, it feels like that dream may never come true. When Angel’s best friend, Lily, begs Angel to pretend to be Lily in Paris for two weeks while Lily attends drama school in London, it seems like Angel’s chance may finally have arrived. Lily’s grandmother, the Comtesse de Tourney, is one of Paris’ most influential figures, with an invitation to one of the world’s most prestigious fashion events. What if Angel can use this chance to meet the right people, and start living her dream?
It’s a madcap setup that leads to all sorts of mayhem, as Angel quickly discovers that being Lily isn’t just a little white lie. People are going to get hurt – including Angel. But if she doesn’t take this opportunity while she can, will Angel miss her moment forever?
Okay. No summary is going to do justice to the several complicated concurrent story lines fighting for attention in this novel. There’s the Parent-Trap-esque swap. There’s a Teen Couture competition. There’s theft of fashion intellectual property and a bogus entry into said competition. An absent father (Lily’s). A sick mother (Angel’s). An evil almost-stepmother and almost-stepsister. Two or three extremely convoluted back stories. And a boy (of course). Phew.
The Cinderella Moment is pretty engaging, once Lily makes it to London and Angel to Paris. I enjoyed the elements of Angel-as-Lily bonding with her estranged grandmother, Comtesse de Tourney, and the basic people-pretending-to-be-other-people thing is always fun to read about.
The main problem with this story is the sheer amount of plots vying for attention, and how dramatic they all are. This is a movie masquerading as a book. I can see Hilary Duff in the lead role as Angel, out of her depth and trying desperately to clutch hold of all the threads. Unfortunately, I felt the narratives were too theatrical, which made it difficult to engage with the characters, and in turn, made it harder to be invested in their happy endings.
I have to mention the super dramatic end sequence, which involves ball gowns, a fancy evening, unmaskings galore, both the absent father and recuperating mother making their entrances, public humiliation and comeuppances, and many private matters being discussed in the middle of a very public event. Think of the end of any teen movie, where the final reveal always takes place in front of a crowd – usually at a prom.
This chaotic novel has a lot of heart, and so many elements that you’re bound to find it fun even as you try desperately to find something to cling to amidst the dozen story lines vying for your attention. If you’re after a light, fashion-centric, fast read, The Cinderella Moment might have something for you.