"A different \"cloth\" for a classic tale..."
In Hans Christian Andersens' classic tale of THE EMPEROR'S
NEW CLOTHES, two tailors extort large sums of money from a
gullible Emperor who is obsessed with fashion. In this
fractured fairy tale written by Victoria Alexander our
tailors become Ophelia and her younger sister Jenny.
Ophelia is tired of living on the run and gambling for her
next meal. The only problem is, she's only one step ahead
of breaking the law and can't win enough money gambling to
be able to settle down.
Which lands her in Dead End, Wyoming sitting on someone
else's luggage. So when she is mistaken for the Countess of
Bridgewater, maybe she is finally having the break she
needs. Posing as the Countess and with a little luck, she
should be able to scam the citizens of Dead End (who want
to become a respectable community) out of some of their
money...enough to set her and Jenny up for the rest of
The citizens of Dead End seek respectability, and are good,
decent people. Our hero, Tye has recently returned from
completing his education and then traveling abroad. With
him, is his classmate, and friend Sedge Montgomery, the
second son to a legitimate Earl...who right away knows
that "Countess" Ophelia is a fraud. Tye has his suspicions,
but can't prove them...so logically the best way to
discover the truth is to lure Ophelia into his bed, because
everyone knows a woman can't keep a secret from a man. Only
things aren't going as planned...
I didn't have a problem with the idea of Ophelia gambling
but I did have a problem with her trying to scam Jack and
Lorelei (Tye's Uncle and Aunt) out of money to buy a title
along with property in England not hers' to sell. I had a
very sick feeling of impending doom in my stomach reading
through this part of the story, and therefore had a very
difficult time getting past this part of the tale and into
the romance (so basically great first chapter, then had a
problem with the rest of the first third of the book).
However, reading further allows the reader to find out that
Ophelia isn't doing a very good job acting as a Countess
and I spent a couple of chapters trying to figure out if
Jack knew she was trying to scam him. This made the story
more entertaining for me, especially since nothing goes as
planned for our heroine.
I guess in hindsight, I wasn't sure what to expect.
Andersen's version of THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES was never
one of my favorite fairy tales. All and all, Ms Alexander's
version of THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES is a humorous, well
written romantic read. But, as I mentioned, I had a problem
with the initial deception and I think this spoiled the
story for me.
NOTE: This book has been reissued, and the copy I read was
published in 1997.
Reviewed by Cynthia Eckert
Posted May 6, 2005
Reviewed by Cynthia Eckert
Posted November 22, 2006