Thursday, September 1, 2016

Book Review: The Glass Coffin by Kelly Martin

OK, so, we come to the end of Kelly Martin's Shattered Fairy Tale series (or is it...?) and it's...ok. Yeah, just...ok. I'll get to why in a minute, but first, let's get the formalities out of the way.
So, we started hearing about Gertrude "Trudy" Dodsworth all the way back in Betraying Ever After, but at the time she seemed like a throwaway character; she was just someone for Emma to bounce off of. But now, she gets her own book. We get to find out where she disappeared to and why William Haddington (Vaughn's BFF) was acting so strangely at the ball where Emma and Vaughn met. Seems old Frederick Dodsworth turned Trudy and her mother out of the house in order to continue exacting his nefarious revenge on some former "friends" who wronged him...or at least that's how he sees it. To go into all the whys would probably spoil a good chunk of the book (and the series as a whole, really) so we'll just have to leave his reasoning at that. Trudy and her mother have taken up residence in Everdale...which is unfortunately the same town where William has also drifted to. Only neither of them are the same person anymore.

Trudy has become engaged to the haughty and borderline abusive Lawson Stockwell, a wealthy earl, for the sake of her ailing mother. And William? Well, he's done unspeakable things. Become an alcoholic. Lost his virtue. Oh, and set the fire that disfigured Nicholas Wellington, Duke (or Beast, depending on whom you ask) of Ravenston. It was never Will's intention to harm anyone. He just wanted to spite Dodsworth for refusing his suit to Trudy. But that worked out all the better for Dodsworth, who used that knowledge to help accomplish his evil schemes. Will was hoping to start over, live out a quiet life in solitude.

But when he sees Trudy and Stockwell arm in arm, his bitterness gets the better of him, and he does...some of the stupidest things out of any of the male leads in the series. But more on that in a minute.
 
To complicate matters, Nicholas (thanks to Dodsworth's intervention) is hot on Will's trail, seeking his own revenge. Of course, he 's torn, too. In his thirst for vengeance, he may very well lose Elizabeth, the woman he's come to love. But still he doggedly pursues William and decides that what Elizabeth doesn't know won't hurt her. And he'll make sure she never knows.

Can William redeem himself enough for Trudy to forgive him? Can Trudy escape a lifetime of potential abuse and mistreatment by a man she doesn't really love? Or will Nicholas satisfy his bloodlust and destroy everyone's happiness? Well, everyone but Dodsworth's, that is.
I....wanted to like this book more than I did. It had a lot of good moments (the finale was EXTREMELY satisfying for...reasons. #DodsworthGetsHis) but it also had a lot of cringe-worthy moments. I get that William is dealing with a lot of guilt, and guilt (and booze) clouds your judgment, but dang. For a guy who was once so upstanding, he really lets himself go. I honestly don't think even Vaughn would stoop so low. Love 'em and leave 'em, maybe. But William positively slums with the lowest of women (sometimes more than one at a time) and lives in the bottle. I wanted to reach into the book and slap the guy.

Trudy's plight is rather more sympathetic. She's spent her entire life under her father's thumb and she's only trying to do what's expected of her. At least her motivations were selfless. She's still woefully naive, but at least there's justification for it.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment in the book is that it doesn't really follow the formula much. I mean, it's obvious that the first book was Cinderella and the second was Beauty and the Beast. It's rather unfortunate that a book that is supposed to reflect Sleeping Beauty, at least a little, really didn't fit with that concept. I mean, it tied all the ends up nicely enough. And it sort of picks up on the original story at the tail end. I guess I just expected it to be tied to the source material a bit better. It felt kind of shoehorned in at the end.

That being said, there's still a LOT to like here. Everyone has their own personal struggles to deal with. None of the characters are one dimensional or boring. Mr. Everett and Mrs. Bea were positively ADORABLE and I would have liked to see more of them. But I suppose they came into the story at just the right time and stayed only as long as they needed to. As I've said, the ending is very satisfying, they bring back basically all of the characters from the rest of the series, and...you'll never look at a stable the same way again.

I'm not gonna lie. As hot as the library scene was in Beast of Ravenston...that stable scene was en fuego. They never cross the line into actually having sex...but they dance on that line. Vigorously. So if you're sensitive to that kind of thing...you may need to skip a couple chapters.
All in all, it was a decent book and did a nice job of tying up everything with a nice bow. Could it have been better? Eh...yeah. But it definitely could have been a lot worse. Besides...it's hard to top Beast of Ravenston. ;)

For more of Kelly Martin's books, check out her website at www.kellymartinbooks.com. You'll find info on her, her books, links to all her social media (which you should subscribe to all of them, just so you can bask in her epicness in every possible forum), and all that other fun stuff.

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