Have Glass Slippers, Will Travel
I have been waiting for Have Glass Slippers, Will Travel for awhile now, so when it came available at my library, I put my interloan order in right quick. Lisa Cach is one of my few auto-read romance authors, and I always look forward to seeing what she’ll come up with next. None of her books are the same, so, really, it’s always a surprise, and usually a nice surprise.
Newly pink-slipped Katy Orville is looking to make a switch from her unfulfilling job as a technical writer, but she’s unsure of the career path to take. Fortunately she’s a planner and has got a little money for a rainy day. After asking herself, “What would Oprah do?” and creating a Life Map collage, she decides to take a major risk. She’s always had this romantic dream of a lord in a castle waiting for her. She knows it probably won’t happen, but also that it will never happen if she does nothing. So she books a flight to England and a stay at a little B&B in Mayfair. Then she goes exploring, tracking the trail of Lord Right.
William Eland, Duke of Marreton, is a lord, but he prefers his other title of organic farmer. He loves his land, loves the very dirt of it and what that dirt can produce. He’s never to be found in London hobnobbing with the high society crowd and despises people who think titles make them special. He is a bit lonely, though, and in the back of his mind is the wisp of a dream of a woman who might see the good in a shabby, somewhat grubby bloke. Lured to the city by a family wedding, he stumbles across Katy on the threshold of the Tower of London and assumes she’s also there for the festivities. Katy doesn’t enlighten him, but instead crosses the threshold on his arm and invitation, attracted to Will’s manly form and friendliness but hoping to meet someone more polished. Thus begins a comedy of misunderstandings, cross purposes, and true love.
Have Glass Slippers, Will Travel is constructed around the Cinderella story and there are little paranormal and coincidental touches here and there that help to make it fit within the traditional guidelines of that fairytale, some of them quite clever. Katy doesn’t really fit the Cinderella role except that she’s an average every girl, the kind who thinks life is more about drudgery than dreams, but who isn’t prepared to completely jettison those dreams. If you’ve read a lot of Lisa Cach, one thing that stands out about her romances is that she isn’t afraid to make her heroines flawed. And not in a bad-hair-day way or a there-I-go-sacrificing-again-too-much-to-make-everyone-around-me-happy way either. They can be self-involved, selfish, willing to cut corners to reach financial security or achieve their goals. Katy is not a bad person, but in her London adventures she is willing to make some unethical decisions in order to receive entrée to high society, and she is cognizant of that fact. Her decisions seem more immature than malicious, but they aren’t very admirable. Fortunately, she does learn from her mistakes and eventually decides to say, “No” to temptation. And she pays a price for her actions and doesn’t whine about paying it.
Will isn’t exactly Prince Charming, but he is quite appealing. I always enjoy a character that truly doesn’t care what people think of him. Will is consistently true to himself and his goals. He’s also completely unpretentious and drawn to Katy for all the right reasons – for her friendliness and openness, for her sense of adventure, and for her humility. The depth of characterization in Have Glass Slippers, Will Travel is not cavernous – the reader finds out little personal information about either Will or Katy – but they work very well as updated fairytale characters.
Cach’s pacing is very smooth, and there are enough tense moments throughout the story to keep the reader turning the pages. Most of them are supplied by Katy, who admittedly has guts. Even though she gets to party with the popular crowd through sometimes unethical means, it’s hard not to root for her and hope that the upper crusties won’t zero in on her, taunt her, expose her, or toss her out on her American arse.
I do have to take points off for the Oprah references throughout. Oprah as personal deity or patron saint is a strange fantasy, and, unfortunately, Katy entertains it often. However, I gave to give points for Katy’s sensible financial philosophy. Thankfully, she is not one of the hoards of romance heroines who self-medicate with shopping or view spending money as therapy. While she does use her nest egg for this little adventure, she doesn’t go in the hole for it and she’s independent about money. Katy is husband hunting, but she’s not really looking to snare a rich guy so she can live like a princess. Perhaps what she’s doing wouldn’t be found within the Feminist Manifesto, but she approaches her trip as more of an adventure. It’s not like she researches who the richest guys are and then stalks them. And she is willing to work hard herself if money is an issue with Lord Right.
Have Glass Slippers, Will Travel is a light, entertaining read, a nice modern fairy tale. I had fun reading it, and I think you will too.