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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Eloisa on the Pleasures of Cinderella

When I was growing up, my mother read us classic fairy tales over and over again: Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty. My favorite, hands down, was Cinderella. I grew up on a farm in Minnesota, outside a town of 2,000 people, and my main plan of escape was to turn into Cinderella and hitch a ride to New York City with an available prince. Perhaps fortunately, there were no princes on the lookout for plump girls with red-haired perms, so I went to college instead.

Even now, years later, Cinderella stories are at the heart of many of my favorite romances. Think of our own Teresa's Once an Angel, when Emily transforms herself from a waif to a gorgeous young lady who swirls around the ballroom while Justin watches moodily from the side of the room.

Here's my absolutely favorite Cinderella variation: I adore it when the transformation is male. It plays to all my deepest instincts about men -- in other words, they should love us so much that they would transform themselves to keep us or to win us. I know we're supposed to love who they are, not who you want them to be -- Well, Pfffff! This is FANTASY! My favorite male Cinderella? LaVyrle Spencer's The Hellion. Gorgeous book about a wealthy good old boy with a fast car, way too many beer cans, and a pouch to show it. Hello, Cinderella!

Cinderella was in the back of my mind when I was writing Rafe's story in TAMING OF THE DUKE -- on sale today, so pleeeeeease rush out and trample down the door of your local bookstore to buy it! Rafe has been my clever, lazy, sweet-at-the-heart, sharp-tongued companion since I first created him as the guardian for four sisters at the beginning of Much Ado About You. I was typing along, and suddenly there was a hungover duke standing in the nursery piled with toys, saying that he wanted every little girl to have her own rocking horse, so they wouldn't have to argue. In the course of two books, he grew dearer to me, but there was no question that he needed something of a Cinderella moment to move into "hero" position. In the end, this was a delicious book to write. Rafe not only transformed, but became a knight in shining armor while he was at it!

What's your favorite romance with a Cinderella theme in it -- and does anyone know any other male Cinderella's other than TAMING and The HELLION? Because I want to read them!

P.S. I'm blogging about Taming Men (literally!) over on MSNBC.com today -- check it out, if you have a moment:

http://romancebytheblog.blogspot.com/
Eloisa James, 8:09 AM
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