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The Cinderella Rules    by Donna Kauffman order for
Cinderella Rules
by Donna Kauffman
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2003 (2003)
* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Darby Landon has escaped her family's ritzy Washington D.C. background to run a horse ranch in Montana. But when her flighty sister Pepper calls from Brazil to ask for a favor, Darby relents and returns to Washington to escort a business associate of their father's. Concerned that Darby needs some polish, Pepper books her sister into a crash course at Glass Slipper, Inc., to shop, get waxed and be taught the finer points of functioning as a high society woman.

At the airport, Darby meets drop-dead gorgeous Shane Morgan, who has returned home to deal with the estate of his recently deceased grandmother, and to visit his godmothers who run Glass Slipper, Inc.. Darby and Shane are unable to keep their hands off each other. Over the next few days, their relationship intensifies ... and then Darby meets Stefan Bjornsen. Stefan is definitely not the old codger she was expecting as her father's client. He's arrestingly handsome and infinitely charming. There is more than initially meets the eye in both these men, and Darby must be very careful. Which will she fall for?

The Cinderella Rules starts off as a fun, chick-lit type of read, light and entertaining with enough steamy love scenes to warm you up in cold weather. A few chapters in, an interesting story brews below the surface. Characters are not who they seem to be, making for intriguing twists. Darby herself is fresh and natural, and the selfless act of putting her comfortable life aside to help her sister endears her to us right away. We can't help but root for the relationship between Shane and Darby to develop. The two make a comical yet sincere pairing, and the speed at which they get together doesn't feel forced.

What I enjoyed the most about this novel was that the final two chapters took it past the level of a typical romance, with glimpses into a future when the story is completely wrapped up. And there is room for spin-offs, with a plethora of quirky, endearing characters just waiting for their stories to be told. I recommend The Cinderella Rules for an amusing read this winter. Whether you have enjoyed Donna Kauffman's previous The Big Bad Wolf Tells All, or her work is new to you, you will not be disappointed in this charming tale of a search for true love.

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