book review

The Bachelor Auction by Rachel Van Dyken


***ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley***

In this modern retelling of Cinderella, Rachel Van Dyken delivers her usual brand of fun and sexy.

Goodreads description:

Cinderella never had to deal with this crap.

Jane isn’t entirely sure that Cinderella got such a raw deal. Sure, she had a rough start, but didn’t she eventually land a prince and a happily-ever-after? Meanwhile, Jane is busy waiting on her demanding, entitled sisters, running her cleaning business, and . . . yep, not a prince in sight. Until a party and a broken shoe incident leave Jane wondering if princes—or at least, a certain deliciously hunky billionaire—maybe do exist.

Except Brock Wellington isn’t anyone’s dream guy. Hell, a prince would never agree to be auctioned off in marriage to the highest bidder. Or act like an arrogant jerk—even if it was just a façade. Now, as Brock is waiting for the auction chopping block, he figures it’s karmic retribution that he’s tempted by a sexy, sassy woman he can’t have. But while they can’t have a fairy-tale ending, maybe they can indulge in a little bit of fantasy.

I am a sucker for re-imagined fairytales. I just devour stories like Katy Regnery’s dark and gritty retelling of Hansel and Gretel in Never Let You Go and Amy Harmon’s heartbreaking retelling of Beauty and the Beast in Making Faces. This story, however, doesn’t quite have me on my knees begging for more.

Things I didn’t like about this book:

1. Outdated cover. This is such a pet peeve of mine, especially since this is supposed to be a modern retelling. Instead, this looks like an old Harlequin Romance with Fabio sweeping the damsel off her feet. Nothing on this cover tells me anything about the bachelor auction. I would’ve liked to see something different and subtle like maybe a delicate hand holding up a bidding paddle.

2. Grotesquely exaggerated characters. One of the things I look for in any modern retelling is originality. I want to hear the fairytale as a whisper and the modern retelling as a resounding voice in my head. I want to get so lost in the story that I almost forget that this is a modern retelling. Unfortunately, the characters in this story were written out too much like those in the original animated movie, which makes it feel unreal.

Despite these minor gripes, I still found reasons to enjoy this book:

1. Humor. This was absolutely laugh-out-loud funny. Because the characters read like cartoons, it’s not surprising that the dialogue would be just as colorful. The brotherly ribbing, old people flirting, and the teasing between Brock and Jane all made for a fun exchange and a quick read.

2. Secondary characters. Though Brock’s brothers, Bentley and Brant, both started out reading like cartoon characters, Rachel Van Dyken fashioned them out to have more depth in the end. Bentley’s little quips as sort of a way to support Brock and Jane as if he was the older brother, and the underlying pain that Brant is struggling to keep under wraps have me looking forward to reading their stories.

This may not make it onto my must-read list, but if you’re looking for some fun and easy reading, pick up a copy and enjoy.

Rating: 3 stars


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