A Curse of Iron and Ash, by Christine Norris
Genre: historical-fantasy romance
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Release: May 21, 2015
Cover Artist: Alexandria Thompson
Benjamin Grimm knows the theater is much like real life. In 1876 Philadelphia, people play their parts, hiding behind the illusion of their lives, and never revealing their secrets.
When he reunites with his childhood friend Eleanor Banneker, he is delighted. His delight turns to dismay when he discovers she has been under a spell for the past 7 years, being forced to live as a servant in her own home, and he realizes how sinister some secrets can be. She asks for his help, and he can’t refuse. Even if he doesn’t believe in ‘real’ magic, he can’t abandon her.
Ellie has spent the long years since her mother’s death under the watchful eye and unforgiving eye of her stepmother. Bewitched and hidden in plain sight, it seems no one can help Ellie escape. Not even her own father, who is under a spell of his own. When she sees Ben one evening, it seems he is immune to the magic that binds her, and her hope is rekindled along with her friendship.
But time is running short. If they do not find a way to break the spell before midnight on New Year’s Eve, then both Ellie and her father will be bound forever.
(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review).
(This review may contain spoilers).
I found this book to be a really good take on the story of Cinderella. It was good to see the friendship between Ben and Ellie at the start of the book and I couldn’t help feeling a lot of sympathy for Ellie. I was glad that Ben had his mother, and that she cared about him as well.
There were times in the book that I didn’t especially like Ben, I have to say. Despite his promise to help Ellie, I felt that he neglected even thinking about her problems for a while, even when he didn’t think she’d lost her mind. He did come through for her, though, and I felt that they had a real relationship.
I was glad to see that this book didn’t follow all of the cliches of the Cinderella story. For instance, Rebecca (Ellie’s stepsister) was actually a really nice person. Olivia… was pretty far from that.
It was interesting that there was a cat, since a cat does feature in the Cinderalla story. No mice, though, even if they were referenced.
It was fairly cool to learn a bit more about the kind of illusionary magic that Ben was interested in. I would have liked to know if his family was actually related to the Grimm brothers, but I suppose it didn’t really matter in this.
I really felt for Ellie through this book. The situation she was in came across as a really awful one. And the scenes of her trying to talk to her father were heartbreaking.
I felt that the author showed the time period this book was set in really well. I felt like a lot of research was put into this book and the way the characters interacted was realistic for that time period. I did think that some of the romance moved a bit too fast, though.
I would definitely be interested in reading more books by this author in the future, especially if there’s a sequel to this book, where I can see how the characters are getting on. There were some things I would have really liked to see a bit more of, especially in regards to one of the romances.
About The Author
Christine Norris is the author of several speculative fiction works for children and adults. She is extremely overeducated, having a B.S. Temple University (Kinesiology), a B.A. from UMUC (English), AND a Masters in Library and Information Science from Southern Connecticut State. All of which means she loves to be in the library, which is her secret day job (whoops…).
She is married with one son, two rescued cats, a rescued Jack Russell, and a rescued palomino rabbit. There’s a lot of rescuing. She also has a complete weakness for Doctor Who, Sherlock, and other British television shows, as well as an addiction to movies, re-told fairy tales, and police procedural shows. She believes in fairies and lives in New Jersey.
Find Christine Norris Online:
About Curiosity Quills Press
Curiosity Quills Press (CQ) is a small hybrid publishing company specializing in genre fiction of the highest quality. With 150+ titles in our catalog already and approximately 6 new books coming out each month, there’s never a dull moment at CQ. We work with major retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Audible to ensure that you, the reader, can find whatever you are looking for at your convenience.
Founded in 2011 by Eugene Teplitsky and Lisa Gus, CQ was initially a resource portal for writing and publishing, created in an effort to help writers, like themselves, survive the publishing industry. After rapid success, CQ morphed into publishing press that over time has solidified its share in the market. Now we spend our days searching for the next great escape!