Featured Book: The Cinderella Project by Stan Crowe

Book:  The Cinderella Project
Author:  Stan Crowe
Pages:   212 (estimated)
Format:  Kindle
Publisher:  Breezy Reads (August 27, 2012)
Book Source:  Publisher
Category:  Sweet Romance
Style:  LDS romance with substance

Synopsis from GoodReads.com:

Committed to saving his marriage before it starts, doctoral student Nick Cairn embarks on a project aimed at finding the secrets of everlasting love. But when Moire DeLanthe, a smart and sassy research assistant, enters the picture, his Happily Ever After is put to the ultimate test. . . . more

My Take:

I have a confession:  I thought this was going to be an, err, breezy read—the kind that takes me one afternoon to read.  Chocolate for the soul.  It's not.  So, I didn't finish it in time.  However, with what I've read, I really like this book.  It's not a set-aside-for-a-while book.  It's a savor until the end book (thus far).

Alas and alack, I committed to do a stop on Breezy Read's blog hop today, so here's my not-ready-for-prime-time review.  The blurb doesn't tell too much about the story line, so I'll share.

Nick Cairn believes in commitment.  He's had the sanctity of a man's word bread into his bones.  When he makes a promise, he keeps it.  Mr. Crowe writes about the trouble his protagonist takes to do so when his relationship with his fiancé becomes strained.

Nick is in the final deadline-crunching months of his doctoral thesis when his fiancé, Ella, demands he move up the date of their wedding two months—to right on top of his defense.  (This is one of those really annoying moments when one person says, "If you love me you'll do this," and the whole time, you are thinking if you loved him, you wouldn't demand that of him.)

Mr. Crowe does an excellent job of setting up the reader to really want Nick to jettison Ella in favor of Moire.  After all, Ella is narcissistic, self-centered, spoiled and secretive about her past.  She even made Nick request permission from her father by letter—which she hand-delivered, of course.  He has never met her family.

More still, a true stunner, she dresses and acts inappropriately around her guy friends.  Nick seems to have every right to suspect her.  Even so, he chooses to trust her and does everything in his power to reassure her of his own devotion, which is a constant drain on his energy and limited resources.

Meanwhile, Moire is funny, helpful, prudent, fun to be with, professional at her job as his assistant, and is constantly on the lookout for ways to make his life easier.  She gets him.  She makes his life better.  She is also modest in both dress and manner, which, to a guy like Nick, matters a great deal.

And, they click.  Although he fights against it, Nick's attracted to Moire, and it seems Moire reciprocates.

So, here I am at this point in the story, thinking, "Moire's the one, dude.  Fix it before it's too late."  But Nick made a promise.  To him, the engagement ring on Ella's finger is as permanent as a wedding ring.

What's worse, I haven't read any redeeming factors about Ella.  She's a great cook and she's a knock-out.  That's all I've got.  And that's not enough to get through the rocky shoals that can crop up in a marriage.

Which leaves us with the great question: where will Mr. Crowe take us with this? Will Nick call it quits with Ella before the eternal I-do's are said?  From reading a bit of this author interview on Breezy Reads, I'm thinking no.  Mr. Crowe writes about integrity and the lengths good men go to retain their honor and live by their personal creeds, not the quick fix, howsoever painful.

Will Ella bail on Nick, distracted her Latin lab partner or the cowboy from her past, leaving Nick and Moire to live happily ever after?  Will there be a ram in the thicket to save Nick from a harpy wife and a miserable eternity?

On the surface, I certainly hope so.  However, I am only a third through the book, and I suspect that that's not where Mr. Crowe is going.  This novel feels so much more than a "find your soul mate" LDS romance.

I hope it's about regaining your balance, even when you stumble; about investing yourself in your spouse (or fiancé),  learning something new about them every day, and growing closer and more deeply in love as you overcome adversity together.  I hope it's about making, rather finding your happily ever after.

I believe it may be.  I'm definitely finishing this book.

Breezy Reads is currently sponsoring a giveaway contest on GoodReads, here.

FTC disclaimer:  An electronic copy of this book was provided by the author or their agent with the understanding I would publish a fair and honest review.  I receive no other compensation for this content.

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