Monday, December 20, 2010

REVIEW: The Cinderella Pact by Sarah Strohmeyer

Title: The Cinderella Pact
Author: Sarah Strohmeyer
Publisher: New American Library
Publication Date: June, 2006
Paperback: 352 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 7/10

Description: Fairy godmother hasn't shown up yet? Maybe it's time to take matters into your own hands....

When magazine editor Nola Devlin is turned down for her dream job as an advice columnist because she's overweight, she decides to become thin --- or, at least, pretend to be. Belinda Apple, the alter ego she creates --- thin, British, hip, and did we mention thin? --- is a smashing success who is offered movie proposals, national television appearances and even dates. Of course, no one’s actually met her in person.

Unfortunately, Nola takes Belinda a bit too far, jotting off a column about how easy it is to lose weight --- a column her friends take seriously. Trapped by her own words, Nola is forced to join the “Cinderella Pact” and drop the pounds.

As the weight comes off, however, Nola’s problems begin to mount. Her magazine launches an investigation into Belinda Apple’s true identity, her friends race ahead of her in the weight loss game, and her younger sister chooses Belinda as her maid of honor. Plus, there’s this mysterious hunk who might be Nola’s prince --- or a rat in coachmen’s clothing. Will this “everygirl” from New Jersey finally find a glass slipper that fits? Or do glass slippers shatter on the feet of real women like us?

My Thoughts: Very entertaining story about a plus size girl who decides to grab life by the horns and chase her dreams. Magazine editor Nola Devlin is like most of us; haunted by her weight problem and her habit of comfort eating and no exercise, she is viewed with disgust or indifference by people around her. Her supervisor practically ridicules her when turning her down for an opportunity to write a column so Nola decides to exact a little retribution and invents a fictional columnist who gets the job instead. Nola doesn’t count on Belinda Apple’s global popularity and when questions begin to arise regarding the validity of Belinda’s identity and resume, Nola is faced with an internal investigation that could cost her not only her credibility but her career and freedom.

While this is occurring, Nola finds herself and her friends treated in a discriminatory fashion at a restaurant when they want to sit closer to a window. The friends make a vow to lose the weight and come back to the restaurant thin, gorgeous and all made up (a la Pretty Woman) to let the snide employee know what a horrible mistake he made in treating them so poorly.

Unfortunately, it’s not just her employer, coworkers and restaurant wait staff who treats her badly. Nola’s mother and sister are convinced that Nola is jealous of her sister’s upcoming wedding and upset that Nola’s sister would invite Belinda to be her maiden of honor. Nola’s soon to be brother-in-law seems to take every opportunity to guess Nola’s weight and makes sure everyone within hearing distance knows too.

After a particularly mortifying day wherein Nola’s car catches fire and she busts out the back of her pants, she accepts a ride home from one of her coworkers, Chip. She likes Chip’s easy-going, laid-back manner and is surprised that he seems to like her as well. She discovers that Chip isn’t who she thought he was, literally. The man she thought he was worked in the technical assistance department but is much shorter and speaks with a Scottish brogue. So now Nola finds herself attracted to a man whose identity is a mystery. Nobody could use the services of a Fairy Godmother more than Nola Devlin.

I really enjoyed the story and loved Nola and her friends Deb and Nancy. I, too, found myself with a bit of a crush on the mysterious Chip. I especially liked that he did not appear to give a flying fig about Nola’s weight. He comes across as liking her for who she is and that scores major points with me. There are a lot of supporting characters that add to the story, such as Nigel, the presumed boyfriend of the fictional Belinda. He ends up saving the day for Nola in more ways than one. There are many laugh out loud moments in this story; my favorite is when Nola rips her pants at work.

The only problem I had with this book was the blatant in my face intrusion of Bubbles Yablonsky into this story. Not all readers may pick up on it, but I did. Having Bubbles show up more than once in this story was like having ice cold water dumped on my head. Her appearance has absolutely no relevance to Nola’s story and it actually pulled my attention out of this book. Bubbles has a series of her own. I’ve read them and enjoy them, but I don’t want to see Bubbles getting air time on someone else’s story.

Overall, I found this book very enjoyable and great entertainment. If you can ignore the party crashing of irrelevant characters, give this one a shot. I enjoyed the way Nola resolves all of the dilemmas she faces without losing her charm.

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I am not a professional reviewer, but I love to read and share my opinions on my reading with others who are interested. I work full time but my ideal perfect day would be to curl up with a good book. The majority of the books I review here are from my private collection and my reviews are provided purely for entertainment purposes. I receive no compensation whatsoever for sharing my thoughts and review on any book. If you would like me to review your book, please email me at Happy Reading! :o)