Click here to read reviewer Michael Leonard's take on Godmother, or here to read Swapna Krishna's review.
Turning the Cinderella story on its head, Turgeon posits quite another encounter between Cinderella and her fairy godmother. What if Cinderella doesnít make it to the ball and her fairy godmother goes instead, secretly yearning to be with the prince?
Shelving misplaced books each morning in a Manhattan bookstore, Lil, an aging, once-beautiful lady with a secret, reveals Cinderellaís true fate, an encounter that hews not at all to popular beliefs, those silly Disney figures with rounded, childish bodies and happy mien. In Lilís recreation, the fairy godmother fails to deliver an unhappy Cinderella to the ball, filled herself with love for the prince who waits impatiently for his heartís desire.
Confined to the human world for centuries, Lil, Cinderellaís disgraced fairy godmother, bears the pain of her failure, her wings carefully concealed each morning as she reports to work at the bookstore owned by the handsome young George. Religiously hiding her real identity, Lil is weary of the demands of human life, dreaming of someday returning to her fairy home.
It seems that earthbound George must find a date for an upcoming society ball, and Lil has just met the enchanting Veronica, a most charming girl with bright red hair and a penchant for all things retro. Suddenly there is an opportunity for Lil to redeem herself, to return forgiven to the land of the fairies, humbled by her long years on earth.
As Lil relates the night of Cinderellaís ball and the girlís reaction to her fairy godmotherís assistance, the world intrudes in the form of a pesky new landlord who has sold the building and requires a meeting, a termination of contracts. Then there is the strange woman who approaches Lil when she is shopping with Veronica, claiming she recognizes Lil, and a mysterious package of photographs, pictures of Lil from years ago.
Turgeonís prose is simple, images of old and new: a sad Cinderella crying the night of the ball, glass slipper shattered, her wrist bleeding and eyes pleading for a godmotherís aid; Veronicaís enthusiastic personality and retro chic wardrobe of black and pink outfits; Georgeís willingness to take a blind date to the society ball the perfect resolution to Lilís dilemma. How can there be anything but a happy ending to such a tale?
Can this fairy godmotherís tragic mistake be made right? Will the success of the present restore the damage of the past? And will this kind woman who hides her wings each morning ever again know the comfort of her fairy family? A human drama made real through the magic of storytelling, Turgeon delivers a thoughtful lesson on the vagaries of the human heart, the nature of loss and the tales that deliver us from an often cruel existence in the world.