Cinders of Glass

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Cinders of Glass: A Cinderella and the Little Match Girl Retelling by Celeste Baxendell (Bewitching Fairy Tales book 4)

Liora grew up in the court until her father was cast out as a traitor. Many years later, the only family she has left is her stepmother and two step sisters. Her father’s final words continue to ring in her ears – Family above all. So each day, she cooks, cleans, and mans their stall in the marketplace. 

And when a certain prince asks her help she agrees. Not because she wants to help him. But because she is terrified her family is part of the trouble – and she’ll do anything to protect them.

Prince Cynrik has a carefully crafted reputation as the kingdom’s favorite dandy. But his brother, the king, is tired of his uselessness. The two strike a deal – Cynrik will do something on his own to help the kingdom or his brother will arrange a marriage – preferably one with a foreign alliance. 

When Cynrik stumbles across a plot to hurt the visiting princess from a neighboring kingdom, he’s certain he’s found the key to winning the deal with his brother. But he can’t do it alone. He enlists the help of the Match Girl, certain no one would suspect her.

But as the situation gets more dangerous and the two continually fight, Cynrik can’t help wondering why Liora keeps coming back. And what dark secrets she might be hiding.

“But she couldn’t change the world she lived in. All she could do was what she had promised she would. Family above all. Even above her heart, her instincts, her conscience.”

This series just keeps getting better and better! We’re starting to see world building hints that were introduced in the first book, Stalks of Gold, pay off, with the promise of more and bigger connections. 

The romance is probably my favorite so far. The two seem so different – one dark, one light – but it’s Cynrik who believes in love at first sight and Liora who is more pragmatic. 

I loved the political intrigue of the plot, with more twists and machinations than many thrillers I’ve read. We’ve got spies, foreign alliances, assassination attempts, and traitorous plots. 

Like Beasts of Beauty, this story deals with impossible choices, although mostly only for Liora. Her father told her “family above all.” But does that mean setting aside what she knows is right? Above her own morals?

I adored this book, and even though it’s seven hundred pages, I read it in just five days. You need to read this. Reading the rest of the series isn’t necessary, but will fill in some of the blanks, and you’ll pick up on all of the Easter eggs. 

Five roses
No swearing – Characters swear a few times, but no words are written out. Ex: “He swore.”
Kissing – A few times, but nothing passionate or excessive.
Injuries – Several, including burns, but blood isn’t described in any detail.