Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Godmother by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

The Godmother  The Godmother

I just realized that The Godmother by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough has been reprinted and is also available as The Godmother for the Kindle. I own the original paperback edition, but haven't read it in years.  I have thought about it several times over the last year as I have flirted with Fairy Godmother research and once again after reading last year's Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Turgeon. 

Now I am happy I can read it again on my Kindle which is my much preferred reading style these days.  The title is also available for multiple ebook reader formats at with which I am not affiliated but am a regular customer.  Those editions are not DRMed and are thus my preferred formats for purchasing.

The book is quite fun and was mostly well-reviewed when it was originally released back in 1994.

Review from Publishers Weekly:

Scarborough's new fantasy adds an interesting riff to a familiar theme: What if fairy godmothers existed today and they had enough magical power to effectively meddle in real-world problems? Though Scarborough (winner of a Nebula for The Healer's War) has lots of fun with this concept, she securely grounds her tale by setting it in and around a believable social-services agency in Seattle and by making her protagonist sympathetic and realistic. Rose Samson is neither stereotypically gorgeous nor foolishly stupid, and she willingly joins forces with Felicity Fortune, a "Godmother" who shows her how the archetypes in Grimm's fairy tales are still relevant in our blighted modern world. The two work with, among others, a sweet and smart pair of Hansel and Gretel-like abandoned children named Hank and Gigi, a Snow White ("Sno") who is royal only by dint of her father's rock-star status and "Cindy," who is suing her stepmother for control of her trust fund. In each case, Rose and Felicity attempt to interweave their magical aid with large doses of human initiative and social responsibility. While this narrative blending of conscience and enchantment is undermined by preachiness and a too earnest desire to avoid simple solutions to complex issues, Scarborough's well-detailed settings and the humor implicit in the clash between magical solutions and grim reality make this tale, while not the author's best, both entertaining and compelling.
Review from Booklist:

Scarborough here enters the field of urban fantasy while also returning to the humorous approach of her earlier books, such as The Goldcamp Vampire (1987). The premise is that a frustrated social worker's wish suddenly endows the Puget Sound area with a real fairy godmother, and because she is real, her powers are limited. She still manages to keep a few serious situations from becoming completely hopeless and to find a man of princely qualities for the heroine. In the process, we are led through witty takes on Cinderella, Snow White, Puss in Boots, and probably several other classic fairy tales this reviewer did not immediately recognize. On the light side, but intelligent, careful, and certain to find enough readers.

The Godmother's Apprentice  Godmother's Web

There are two more companion books to The Fairy Godmother, but they are still only available in the out of print original editions, The Godmother's Apprentice and Godmother's Web.  Hopefully if enough of the first reprinted book are sold, these will also make it into new editions as well as ebook format.

I've always thought the concept of a social worker as a fairy godmother was wonderful and a great way to set a fairy godmother story in modern times.

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