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Cold Hearted (Villains Series #8)

Cold Hearted (Villains Series #8)

by Serena Valentino

Narrated by Billie Brown

Unabridged — 5 hours, 5 minutes

Serena Valentino
Cold Hearted (Villains Series #8)

Cold Hearted (Villains Series #8)

by Serena Valentino

Narrated by Billie Brown

Unabridged — 5 hours, 5 minutes

Serena Valentino

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This was supposed to be her happily ever after... It's a familiar tale: A kind and beautiful young girl, reeling from loss. A doting father, frantic to bring a mother's love back into his daughter's life. And the selfish, cruel woman who insinuates herself into that family-a woman so unfeeling, so cold hearted, that when her new husband dies, she makes the girl a servant in her own home. But who is that evil stepmother, that icy lady of the house? How did she become so closed off that, in the face of a child's grief, she thought only to seek wealth and power for herself and her abhorrent daughters? Before that fateful ball, before the glass slipper and the prince, there was another story-a story of love and grief, of hope and of dreams dashed. It is the story of Lady Tremaine. Even the coldest of villains are sometimes wives and mothers, women who loved and lost and hoped for something grander for their lives . . . once upon a dream. The latest novel in Serena Valentino's deliciously devious Villains series introduces the most famed and hated wicked stepmother of them all-but turns everything you know about her on its head.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal


Gr 4–6—As this Cinderella backstory unfolds, wealthy London socialite Lady Tremaine, a widow with two young daughters, is swept off her feet by Sir Richard, a dashing visitor from Many Kingdoms. However, Lady Tremaine no sooner sets foot in Sir Richard's home when her story begins to sour. It is obvious Sir Richard married her for her money and expects her to provide childcare, keep house, and cook. Eventually, after years of a bitter existence, the gentle woman devolves into the legendary wicked stepmother. This latest in Disney's YA "Villains" series explores how Cinderella's stepmother was forced by fairy fate into the stereotyped role. After the lengthy backstory concludes, the tale, which reads more like middle grade than YA, quickly wraps up and the potentially intriguing plot is abandoned in a rush to the apparently happy ending. The fairies, who deliberately force Lady Tremaine to become a wicked stepmother, exhibit no remorse or sympathy for the woman, and the stepsisters' years of abuse and neglect are smoothed away with a closet full of new dresses. VERDICT A unique premise fails to live up to its potential. Purchase if you have dedicated Disney princess fans; otherwise look for better fairy tale rewrites by Robin McKinley, Gail Carson Levine, and others.—Nancy Nadig, Penn Manor Sch. Dist., Lancaster, PA

Kirkus Reviews

How did Cinderella’s stepmother come to be so wicked?

She may have been self-focused, but at least she wasn’t always so cruel. Lady Tremaine, mother of two spoiled daughters, is a lonely widow hoping for a bit of happiness. Unfortunately, when Sir Richard appears at her friend’s house party, she’s swept off her feet and fails to heed the frantic warnings of her dedicated, elderly lady’s maid. Had she ever bothered to read the book of fairy tales her late husband purchased years before, she might have recognized the perils of assuming the role of stepmother. Entranced by Sir Richard, she agrees to a hasty marriage and a move to the Many Kingdoms, where he reverts to his true, domineering nature and she and her daughters become virtual prisoners in his home. Although the Odd Sisters—clever, manipulative witches—try to intervene on her behalf, it seems her fate is already written; she becomes as cruel and demented as the story described. However, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother and her sister, Nanny, have plans to rescue Lady Tremaine’s daughters as they develop much-needed, rehabilitative insights into the family’s dynamics. Mostly told from the Lady’s shallow, self-centered perspective, this is an entertaining retelling of the Disney “Cinderella” story from a different viewpoint, with references to the rest of the series woven throughout. Characters follow a White default.

For princess fans and lovers of fairy tales. (Fiction. 12-16)

Product Details

BN ID: 2940178912942
Publisher: Disney Press
Publication date: 03/01/2022
Series: Serena Valentino's Villains Series , #8
Edition description: Unabridged

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