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  • kalianthonyauthor

Unpacking the Magic: How Cinderella Stories Inspired my Latest Book, 'Awoken by Revenge'

Updated: Jun 6

Hands up who enjoys a Cinderella story? I am definitely in that camp! Team that up with a grumpy/sunshine, enemies to lovers flavour you've just written my catnip...


Woman with long, golden blonde hair and red lipstick wearing a gold dress, sitting in from on a large blue clock face with numbers of Roman numerals, hand on on the minute hand which is almost signalling midnight. The words, Unpacking the Magic on the graphic

My love of Cinderella stories has been the inspiration behind a couple of my books. My latest release, Awoken by Revenge, and an earlier release and old favourite, Off-Limits to the Crown Prince. What I adore about Cinderella retellings is that they're transformative stories. An ugly duckling turning into a swan. The Cinderella character needs to find their best self and to grow in confidence till they believe they deserve the love of another, allowing them to find their ‘perfect fit’. Often that journey is a difficult one with lots of self doubt, but the blossoming of the character is what I find so inspirational.

Some of my favourite Cinderella stories are from movies. There are so many great ones to choose from but I thought I'd share with you a few I watch over and over.


In Sabrina (the 1954 version with Audrey Hepburn), the heroine is the chauffeur’s daughter. She’s hopelessly crushing on David, the handsome playboy son of the wealthy family for whom her father works. When Sabrina returns from Paris a beautiful, poised young woman, David is smitten. Yet their attraction threatens to scuttle a business deal. David’s older brother, Linus, tries to thwart the relationship. He’s your quintessential grumpy hero – an overachieving, workaholic perfectionist who doesn’t believe in love and the antithesis to his irresponsible, pleasure-seeking sibling. Typical Harlequin Presents/Modern Romance hero anyone? In keeping Sabrina away from David, Linus begins to see himself through her eyes: a man deserving of less work and more play. Of course they fall in love, and after some serious bumps they seal their happy ending. 

Bruness lying down on a bed of pale blue tulle wearning a dress of the same colour. Her eyes are blue and her hair is in and up do and curled, decorated with pearls. The dress has a diamante belt at the waist..

In The Princess Diaries, Mia has grown up believing that she's a regular teenager. She pines for Josh, the school’s golden boy, while her best friend’s brother Michael, pines for her. Mia discovers she's the sole heir to the throne of Genovia. But being the perfect princess is a role she doesn’t feel capable of. Mia makes mistakes. She chooses the people who are wrong for her. But the in the end, through inner strength she finds the courage to accept the role as Genovia’s princess and to cement her relationship with Michael. When Michael asks, Why me? Mia gives the best answer, Because you saw me when I was invisible.

'Why me?' 'Because you saw me when I was invisible.'


The Disney movie Enchanted is a mix of a few fairy tales, but at its heart it’s a Cinderella story. I adore this movie. I mean, who doesn't want animals who do housework? The heroine, Giselle, is unceremoniously thrust from her idyllic life in a fairytale realm, into the gritty streets of New York. There she meets the hero, Robert, a cynical divorce lawyer (I mean, how perfect is that?) who doesn’t believe in love. Robert has difficulty coming to grips with Giselle’s unfailing positivity and belief in a happily ever after. Giselle brings joy and laughter into Robert’s life. Robert grounds Giselle. A true love’s kiss from Robert at the stroke of midnight saves Giselle from an evil sorceress, but in the end, it’s Giselle who ends up catching and saving Robert.

Cover of Awoken by Revenge. Woman with long red hair in a plait, wearing a green evening dress, in a passionate embrace with a dark haired man in a business shirt and wearing a waistcoat

In my latest release, Awoken by Revenge, my billionaire hero, Matteo Bainbridge, wants to claim Easton House as the ultimate revenge on the family that rejected him. There is a slight hitch to his goal, Louisa Cameron, who lives in the home. He's prepared to offer her a deal to allow him to add the house to his hotel empire, yet his hunger for her is the chink in his ruthless revenge plan.

Innocent Louisa has hidden away on the estate, escaping her traumatic childhood by illustrating children's books. She loves nothing better than wandering the home in the antique dresses she's found in the attic. When the outside world intrudes in the shape of the tycoon, Matteo, he awakens an astonishing passion in her. She resists surrendering because she fears that the passion might destroy her...but what if it sets her free instead?

Matteo is rigid and hellbent on revenge. Louisa grows through the encounter, discovering herself. She shows Matteo the benefits of love and a place to call home. In a way, they transform each other but Louisa truly comes into herself through the story. Out of all the heroines I've written, I think her journey has required the most change for a character. I loved how Louisa grew into herself and fought for the love she deserved. I hope you love them as much as I do.

My other Cinderella themed story is Off-Limits to the Crown Prince. There my hero, Prince Alessio, is looking for a dynastic marriage to a perfect princess. What he doesn’t bank on is his portrait artist, Hannah Barrington. Hannah doesn’t believe in love. She’s been living a quiet and threadbare life until Alessio bursts into it. Hannah wants Alessio to loosen up. Alessio doesn’t understand why Hannah refuses to bow down to his whims and dictates. In the end, that conflict and the tension between what they think they want and what they really need makes their romantic journey all the more satisfying.

So, what about you? Are Cinderella stories your favourite too? If so, which ones do you love best? Or do you have other favourite fairytales? I'd love to hear from you here or on social media.

Well, that's it for me. If you want more information about my books you can check out my newsletter which often has great give-aways you don't want to miss. But for now, stay safe and sparkle! Love, Kali.

(If you want to keep up with my writing, books or life generally, you can also check out my Twitter, Facebook or Instagram)


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