Everyone knows the story of Cinderella, the glass slipper, the pumpkin coach, and Prince Charming. However, what happened to the Fairy Godmother? Where did she come from and where did she go? Carolyn Turgeon's latest novel, Godmother, describes the untold story of Cinderella's fairy godmother and the events that transpired after that famous night at the ball.
Turgeon begins the novel in a used bookstore with an elderly woman scanning the pages in a book of fairy tales. The readers soon learn that this woman, Lil, was once a fairy godmother who is now trying to assimilate into the modern world. Lil often has flashbacks to her previous life as a prominent fairy in fairyland. Eventually, it is revealed that Lil broke one of the most important rules of the fairies when she fell in love with Prince Charming herself and was duly banished from the her magical world. Centuries later, Lil still remembers the life she left behind, but has given up hope of ever returning. She has now resigned herself to being an elderly woman in modern New York City.
Yet, just when she thinks she has forgotten her past, Lil is suddenly confronted with the possibility that she may be able to communicate with the fairy elders. She begins to contemplate the notion of becoming a fairy godmother to her recently divorced employer, George, when he mentions his parents' charity ball. Coming from a well-to-do family, George is obligated to attend this charity ball even though he doesn't relate to his family's social standing and knows he will have to face his ex-wife. Lil decides she will find someone for George to take to the ball, hoping it will be enough to redeem herself in the eyes of the fairy elders. But, will she be allowed to return her previous life?
Fairy tales have a way of sweeping readers away to far-off, magical lands with princes, witches, fairies. But, how often the minor characters, vital to the story, are quickly forgotten by the last page. Godmother is an excellent retelling of a classic fairy tale favorite. The often overlooked fairy godmother is the main character for once and reminds readers that maybe things don't always work out as planned. Nevertheless, if she can find love for others perhaps she may one day find her happy ending after all.