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Before the Midnight Bells (Once Upon A Romance, #1)
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Before the Midnight Bells (Once Upon A Romance #1)

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  451 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Eleanor Emberton isn't sitting around waiting for a handsome prince to rescue her. In fact, she's determined to save not only herself, but her whole family from her stepmother's headlong plunge into financial ruin. When she meets a mysterious man at the ball, romance is the last thing on her mind, but she can't help feeling an instant attraction. Before long she finds hers ...more
Kindle Edition, 235 pages
Published September 27th 2011
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,055)
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Camille
Loved the first half. However when I got to all the sex scenes the relationship began to appear superficial and only based on lust, considering the two had only known each other about two weeks. The reader is well informed of the sexual tension between the couple, but I was disappointed that a deeper relationship didn't ever seem to develop. I'm told that they love each other but not told or shown why, other than for reasons of attraction. Despite the underdeveloped romantic relationship, I like ...more
Heidi
I really enjoy fairy tales and Cinderella is top on my list. I was excited to read this take on it and really enjoyed it until Ella started acting out of character. I should have known that it would lead to inappropriate relations between her and Max since it is considered a "romance". That is not romantic. It was so superficial. I wanted to finish it because the story was so interesting but I thought that I would be ashamed if my children saw me reading it even if I skipped over the sex scenes. ...more
Juana "Darkness" Duran
Things get all loopy in this Cinderella story. Seamstress Ella Eberton is ready for the ball in two seconds or less. When she arrives she has no clue who she is going to meet at the food table. Well none other than the duke of Yarrow. Max as he formally to friends and family. And Max being the idiot accepts to help his friend the Princess Vivian escape her father. Her father the king doesn't take that so lightly. But Max had to go and drag Ella from left to right, and ruining her name. And we al ...more
Stephanie
I loved this book! The little girl in me fell in love with this beautiful rendition of the classic story, Cinderella. The story flowed in a light-hearted, easy to read manner. I thought the fact that the step-mother and step-sisters were not evil, just quirky and a little dim witted, was a great twist. The romance between Max and Ella was just perfect. I can't wait to read the next book about Vivi and hopefully learn more about Ella's godmother too!
Kristin King
(HEAT Warning) I always enjoy retellings of Cinderella like the movie Everafter. Although this went in nicely surprising directions, Woodard built this romance from the classic construct. Ella struggles to start her dress shop to support her step-mom and sisters who aren't really so cruel as more self-centered. A series of costume balls to honor the engagement of the Princess to her prince charming launch Ella's shop, but the she meets a charming young gentleman who, like herself, is more intere ...more
michelle
this was the cutiest story a spin off of cinderella BUT she was loved and cherished by her step mom and sisters she was not a slave and the handsome prince was the one that hid who he was....it was super cute.
Jessica
Well, I think I'm a little biased... You tell me. How is it?
Lyndi
Freebie from Amazon for Kindle.

I decided to bust out my Kindle again today and look through a bunch of the freebies I had purchased to take with me on my Wi-Fi-free vacation. DNF'd a few, but then I found this gem.

Obviously based on the tale of Cinderella, I was expecting the ridden-hard-and-put-up-wet evil stepmother, terrible stepsisters, hidden identities, kingdom-wide searches for a lady with a particular shoe size... the usual. Fortunately, there was nothing 'usual' about this story.

The ste
...more
Anncleire
La Woodard ha creato una storia al confine tra fiaba e realtà unendo elementi della storia classica e mischiandoli abilmente con elementi originali.
Chi mi segue lo sa che sono una inguaribile romantica e che adoro una bella storia a lieto fine, dove vince l’amore e tutto si risolve per il meglio dopo un mare di avventure. E quando il tutto viene unito ad un’atmosfera da fiaba, con una madrina che si prende cura di lei e cerca di proteggerla in tutti i modi. Un mondo incantato, anche se la magia
...more
Stephanie
After having read several books that were horribly written it was very refreshing to read something worthwhile. I love fairy tales, there is just something about them that draws me in. This book is "loosely" based on the story of "Cinderella". The characters were well developed and I loved the fact that Ella's step family acutally loved her, albeit they are a bit selfish, but not in a mean way.

The character of Ella's godmother is woven into the story here and there and adds some mystery. She is
...more
Jo Oehrlein
I thought this was a nice twist on Cinderella. I think re-telling Cinderella well is hard since it has been re-told so much.

It's nice that the stepmother and stepsisters aren't really wicked. They're ditzy, impractical, and have no money-sense, but aren't mean or horrid.

And, instead of it being a prince, it's the son of a duke (who is actually engaged to the princess).

There is a fairy godmother, but she's more intimidating than magical in this case.

All in all, a very satisfying story.
RedRedtheycallmeRed
I downloaded this book more than 2.5 years ago and I finally got around to reading it. It's a quick read, a retelling of the Cinderella story, but I couldn't really connect with the story.

It seems like it should be an historical romance, but the actions of the characters don't fit the time period. And the book is quite sweet, PG rated, so the sex scene didn't feel like it fit. I have no objections to sex scenes in books (tame or graphic), it just seemed out of place here.

Trea
This was a retelling of the Cinderella story. While our Prince Charming was a complete idiot and jerk, our Cinderella really wasn't that bad. Not only that, her stepfamily wasn't hateful, just slightly clueless. It was an interesting story, but nothing overwhelming. Max, aka Prince Charming, and his fumbling/bumbling ways made the drag on more than it needed to. I'll probably continue with the series, but I was slightly disappointed in this read.
Brittni Scott
As with most of the books that I have read recently, I seem to be choosing ones that are only the beginning of a series. As much as I enjoy these stories, it is rather disheartening to find out said books have only recently been published with many sequels in the works. Quite disappointing, especially for someone like myself who goes through books like a runner goes through water. That being said rather unsuccinctly, I really enjoyed this story. I liked how the stepfamily wasn't portrayed in suc ...more
Lisa C.
I don't read twists on fairy tales but this one sounded cute. You can't take it seriously but just go with it. I didn't think the sex scene was that over the top, unrealistic yes, but not that overdone. The hero was bumbling and silly at times. I thought the godmother was adorable. This was good, light reading that didn't require much thought.
Melanie Kyer
I got this eBook free through "Pixel of Ink" and then later couldn't remember if it was a young adult title (I read a lot of children's literature and YA stuff) or a normal adult title. Well, it's "adult" fiction! Nothing too over the top, but definitely a romance novel and not a child's tale! I loved the way the author recast the Cinderella story-- all the characters have much more substance, particularly the "Prince" (who is a Lord in this story). It's also far more than the simple "girl meets ...more
Jess
3.5 out of 5 stars! I liked this charming novel and how it put some new twists to a classic. I thought that it was a nice change to have Ella's stepmother be someone that was nice to her and loved her in her own way, yet flighty enough that Ella still needs to step up and take care of everything. I'll agree with the book's characters when I say that Ella's beau was a little bit of an idiot in the way he went about everything, which would have been fine but it made the ending not as enjoyable as ...more
Jennifer Reyes
Once Upon a Time

Your classic fairy tale not as you know it. I enjoyed reading this author's take of " Cinderella" with a strong female lead and of course her handsome Prince. If you like reading Alternate versions of classic fairy tale then this is the book for you.
Tash
This book had so much promise. Starting it off I loved the characters and the twists on the original tale. The sexual innuendos throughout the first half of the book seemed a bit out of place, but when I got to a chapter that was basically all porn I just felt uncomfortable. It seemed to ruin the charm of the genre, and even though there is nothing wrong with a bit of that stuff (Personally not my taste though) I believe it presented their relationship in a bad light. It tainted the romance of i ...more
Lisa A.
Different take on Cinderella story with Eleanor "Ella" Emberton trying to keep her family in their home and off the streets because of their irresponsible spending habits. She uses her sewing skills and sense of style to run a small shop to pay the bills. She meets Max at the ball and the sparks fly. It was a good light read between my usual thrillers and historical fiction books. I liked it enough to download the second book which is based on my favorite tale, "Beauty & the Beast".
Janis Welch
I enjoyed this book. And the fact that there were some "racy" parts made it a grown up book, not something for a child.
Jessica
I preferred the second book to this one. This one was harder for me to get into might be because I prefer beauty and the beast to Cinderella.
Shannon
An enjoyable blend of Disney's Cinderella, the Perrault Cinderella story, and a Regency romance novel.
Silverana
I would say that this is a much better version of the original Cinderella. We get more interaction between Ella and Max, not just that one time midnight meeting. The dialogue between the two is fun and engaging! They do become intimate but it is not until in the later part of the book, not throughout the whole book as some reviewers mentioned. I did get a little annoyed at how Ella let go of Max when she found out the truth, but only because it seemed to go on a little too long. But besides that ...more
Reina
Si le quitamos el sexo innecesario pasaría mejor la marca...
Brandy Latimer
Such a great whimsical book. I loved this story.
Trisha
harlequin, unrealistic, boring
Jennifer Erwin
This was a cute story. The classic Cinderella story but with a little twist. The stepmother, Millicent, wasn't evil, but really flighty. The stepsisters, Beatrice & Prudence, mean well, but can be as scatterbrained as their mother. Ella isn't like most damsels in distress, she has a brain & she uses it to try and save her family, misguided though they are. Loved all the characters with their flaws, and all the drama that ensues. Great read and I look forward to Vivienne's tale now.
Diana
This was a humorous and sweet twist on Cinderella. I this versionn the Stepmother and stepsisters are not mean just flighty. Ella and Max have a wonderful chemistry. they both have wit which I like. There were parts of the story that were a bit rushed. Vivi's part was one of them. But since I have already read her story I was able to keep up. There is a love scene in the story but it was not drawn out or too graphic. Overall this was a decent fairy tale remake.
Denise
Cute little spin on the Cinderella story. The part I liked best was that the step mother and step sisters were not evil. They may have been a bit daft, but I may have liked the original Cinderella telling if the step relatives were not so mean - not just mean, but super uber-mean. So, this was nice to see them a bit dopey but not intentionally out to hurt the lead character.
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