March 2023 Book Club: Cinder

Cover art for Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I fell down the rabbit hole a little bit reading this one and found myself doing something I don’t often do: read the following books in the series. Cinder ended and I immediately picked up Scarlet, then Cress, then Winter, which means that my mind has blended some of the storylines that took place across multiple books and will do my best to avoid any unnecessary spoilers.

For starters, I really appreciate that Cinder is considered “less than” because she is a cyborg because it makes one wonder what would have happened if she wasn’t. Would she have been accepted by Audrey? Would she have been able to go unnoticed by the Lunar Queen as long as she did? How would that have changed her willingness to be with the prince? Would the cyborg draft have ever been created?

Some of those questions seem easy to answer. No, there probably would not have been a cyborg draft if Cinder hadn’t been a cyborg. She probably still would have had the chip designed to suppress her lunar gift. Audrey would probably have found a different reason to have a problem with her. Those answers aside, it still feels like Cinder being a cyborg was an important component of the story because it was a (terrible) justification for her treatment in a futuristic world.

Not specifically related to Cinder, but I like that each book builds upon the last by adding a new character or two for us to follow. This allowed you to understand the general direction one story was going to go while also providing anticipation for where the story would lead when the retold fairytale ended.

These books were straightforward, there weren’t any twists and turns or hidden meanings. They were exactly what I needed at the time I picked them up and I’m glad I waited until now to read them.

Most of my reading so far this year has been the final books in the Wheel of Time series with a sprinkling of other books while I wait for a hold to come in. For April, let’s slow things down by visiting a small town by the sea in The Oysterville Sewing Circle. This one looks a bit like it’ll squeeze your heart.

Cover art for The Oysterville Sewing Circle by Susan Wiggs

At the break of dawn, Caroline Shelby rolls into Oysterville, Washington, a tiny hamlet at the edge of the raging Pacific.

She’s come home.

Home to a place she thought she’d left forever, home of her heart and memories, but not her future. Ten years ago, Caroline launched a career in the glamorous fashion world of Manhattan. But her success in New York imploded on a wave of scandal and tragedy, forcing her to flee to the only safe place she knows.

And in the backseat of Caroline’s car are two children who were orphaned in a single chilling moment—five-year-old Addie and six-year-old Flick. She’s now their legal guardian—a role she’s not sure she’s ready for.

But the Oysterville she left behind has changed. Her siblings have their own complicated lives and her aging parents are hoping to pass on their thriving seafood restaurant to the next generation. And there’s Will Jensen, a decorated Navy SEAL who’s also returned home after being wounded overseas. Will and Caroline were forever friends as children, with the promise of something more . . . until he fell in love with Sierra, Caroline’s best friend and the most beautiful girl in town. With her modeling jobs drying up, Sierra, too, is on the cusp of reinventing herself.

Caroline returns to her favorite place: the sewing shop owned by Mrs. Lindy Bloom, the woman who inspired her and taught her to sew. There she discovers that even in an idyllic beach town, there are women living with the deepest of secrets. Thus begins the Oysterville Sewing Circle—where women can join forces to support each other through the troubles they keep hidden.

Yet just as Caroline regains her creativity and fighting spirit, and the children begin to heal from their loss, an unexpected challenge tests her courage and her heart. This time, though, Caroline is not going to run away. She’s going to stand and fight for everything—and everyone—she loves.

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