Blog Tour Review and Guest Post: Happily

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Title: Happily
Author: Chauncey Rogers
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: self-published
Source: Author
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

If the shoe fits, wear it.
If it doesn’t,
make it.

Laure is a teenage street urchin just trying to get away. Where the rest of the world sees an enchanting love story, Laure sees royal incompetence and an opportunity to exploit it. She’ll have wealth and a way out of a life she detests, if she can only manage to hoodwink the royal family and survive to tell the tale.

Review:

I loved this unique twist on the story of Cinderella. Rather than telling the story of Cinderella, it tells the story of Laure, a girl who tried to trick the King and Prince into thinking she was the girl from the ball.

Since the story gave a different perspective of the Cinderella story, it was unpredictable. Laure wanted to get a glass slipper made that matches the one at the palace to deceive the King into believing that she was the girl who the Prince fell in love with at the ball. This led her on a journey with her new friend Luc (who she met when she destroyed his family’s cart) to find a glass blower who could make her a glass slipper.

I loved this different perspective of the story! It’s a fresh take on a story that’s been told a thousand times. Laure was a poor street girl, similar to Cinderella’s poor position, but she was very sneaky since she wanted to deceive the kingdom. Laure seemed like a more realistic girl than Cinderella. She wasn’t afraid to fight or lie or do whatever it took to get what she wanted. That made her an unpredictable character.

This is a great story! And the best part is there will be a sequel! I can’t wait to read it!

Guest Post:

Sticking (to) the Ending – Concluding Happily

Thank you Jill for hosting today!

It goes without saying that the ending of a story is a crucial element. Of course, so are the beginning and middle of the story. But the ending has to fulfill all the promises and answer all the questions (or at least enough of them). It has to deliver the big payoff that the reader has been working towards, and it has to leave the reader so satisfied that they’ll talk with others about it and pick up your other work.

It’s a lot of pressure.

But I’m not going to talk about endings in general. I’m going to talk about the ending of Happily in particular. So I will try to avoid spoilers, but be ye warned: we arediscussing the ending. Even if no specific spoilers are named, there still might be some general spoiling that occurs. So, please read with caution.

Okay, with that out of the way, I just want to open up about the ending of Happily a bit, and what that process was like for me.

For starters, I dread endings that drag on. This may be a byproduct of having viewed The Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition too many times. Regardless, I worry about having too much follow after the main resolution. Anyone who has read my other works will notice that I do very quick wrap-ups. Once the main action is over, resolve anything that’s left and BAM! The End.

But Happily was going to be tricky. I knew that even before I began to write the ending. The problem was that Laure’s key conflicts, which needed to be resolved, where not the only key conflicts that had to be wrapped up. There was also the issue of the shoe and the real Cinderella, and what would happen to her, which was a question both for Carl and (I presume) the reader.

However, I didn’t feel like I could come off the main action sequence, and then continue the hunt for the missing girl. It also seemed to me that adding anything would have separated the end of the book too far from the story’s climax.

For example, having some kind of wedding ceremony between Carl and Laure, with the steorotypical “Speak now or forever hold your peace” bit being interrupted couldhave been done, but not without adding a fair amount to the story. Perhaps somebody else could have done it, but I didn’t see a way that I felt worked.

The other thing I want to address is the big plot twist that comes at the end of the story. Some people love it, and some people felt like it was a lot to digest, came too close to the end, came out of nowhere, and was totally unnecessary.

Alas, I find myself in both camps on this one.

I definitely love it for sentimental reasons. I don’t know if I could have written it for my daughter without including that bit. But I also agree with those other remarks.

Interestingly, however, in the original draft there were more hints of it coming. Some of my clever early readers spotted it coming, and so I decided to tone back the foreshadowing and alter some of the clues, with the result being that it is, perhaps, too well hidden to be a satisfying reveal for some.

As for it being too close to the ending, or being unnecessary, or the wrap up being too fast, I have a few final thoughts on that.

The chiefest thought, though, is that this is intended to be a Cinderella backdoortelling, as well as a Cinderella retelling.

Yes, Laure interacts with the traditional Cinderella. But Laure is also her own Cinderella. She’s a girl who goes from rags to riches, finds true love, is rescued from bad situations, and has a lot to do with a pretty shoe.

To me, the big twist at the end plays a big part in making Laure into her own Cinderella. It’s a huge reversal for her, and while there is a romance story within Happily, the true love that she finds at the ending is not the same as the romance plot line within the book. For me, that big twist at the end was the best way to deliver on the promise of true love.

And in closing, the quick wrap-up is also a trademark piece for Cinderella stories. The shoe fits, a few nice words, and *SNAP, just like that, you’re at the wedding sequence. It’s kind of just how they go. 🙂

I know this post was a bit rambly, but hopefully it gave you some insights into why Happily has the ending that it does. And anyways, with the announcement of a sequel we all know that this isn’t really the ending anyways. 😉

About the Author:

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Chauncey Rogers was born in Arizona, and since then has hopped back and forth between the mid-western and western United States. He married in 2012 while attending school in Utah. His favorite movie since he was three is Jurassic Park, and he wishes very badly that Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster were real, though he doesn’t believe in them as much as he used to.

In March 2017, he published his first novel, Home to Roost. In October 2017, he published Cleaving Souls.

He currently lives in Kansas City with his wife and two children.

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Thank you Reads and Reels for letting me participate in this blog tour.

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