Cover Image: Unnoticed

Unnoticed

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This is a hard book to review because I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. Unfortunately it was a DNF for me as I struggled to stay captivated by the story...even though I tried several times to re-attempt to read it. While I loved the concept of a historic Cinderella retelling, set in a rural 1860s Australia, I just really struggled to connect to the characters. The story didn't really feel like a YA read either...which is perhaps why I struggled to enjoy it. That being said, the story is really well written and I know that there are many others who would thoroughly enjoy Unnoticed.
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Unnoticed is a Cinderella story, although there were also hints of Pride and Prejudice in the characterisation of Mr and Mrs O’Reilly—at times, Mrs O’Reilly made Mrs Bennett seem astute and intelligent, and Mr O’Reilly made Mr Bennett seem like an attentive father. 

Jane O’Reilly is our Cinderella figure, the unloved daughter forced to take second place to her stepmother and stepsisters—all ugly in attitude if not in looks. The description of Jane brings to mind a young Nicole Kidman, so she’s far from the Plain Jane people call her. But she doesn’t see that. She also doesn’t see that beauty is as much about who we are on the inside as on the outside, nor does she understand that God sees her and loves her for who she is. She doesn’t have to be beautiful. 

Prince Charming is Price Moreland, an American who has left the country of his birth with noble intentions to bring the gospel to Australia. At least, that’s what he tells himself. But he’s soon distracted by Jane, who he thinks of as anything but plain. It’s good to see a romance where the hero and heroine both have personal faith journeys. 

What raised Unnoticed above other fairytale retellings was the way the character histories were woven in. Not just for Jane and Price, but for Mrs O’Reilly (and her sister, the family cook), and Mr O’Reilly. It showed their neglect and mistreatment of Jane wasn’t because of any wrongdoing by Jane, but was a product of their own backgrounds. I especially liked the way I didn’t feel manipulated into feeling sorry for Jane’s parents. 

The writing was solid, although there were a few places where it wasn’t as strong. But these are insignificant in the face of an excellent fairytale retelling with a unique historical Australian setting. 

Thanks to ACRBA and Rhiza Press for providing a free ebook for review.
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Received an ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Cinderella has so many different interpretations that sometimes it is difficult to keep track of which one is which. Well, this one is in its own category of christian romance. Now I am not against anything Christian based. This one was focused on a young women finding love within herself and God, instead of seeking love and validation through others. The overall plot and concept were great. I think the evil step-mother and step-sisters were well portrayed and still seen as human. The father was not dead in this story, he was more neglectful and absent emotional towards Jane. Our Cinderella, also known as, Jane (Plain Jane) was an independent red-head that seek solace. Her pets were peculiar. She had a pet bird that would sit on her shoulder everywhere she went. She also had a horse that didn't like anyone in a white hat. Her god-mother figure (ironically) her step-mothers sister.

The author did a great job with bring life and compassion from the readers towards Jane's step-mother. We learn about her history and struggles that she went through at a younger age.  The questions about the choices she made and the motivation behind her actions was address by the aunt. That was helpful. It was one thing I truly liked about the book.

Our Prince Charming was Price Moreland. He moves to Australia to help move God’s work forward, but earns his living by being a dentist/barber. He is like a missionary, but not a full-time type. He works and seeks for opportunities to talk and share about God’s work. He runs into prejudice and discrimination from the town folks, when he brings an 'Asian' man to church service. He tries to show compassion, but his own personal struggles get in the way. When things become to difficult for him to deal with, he rather avoid confrontation. He, for lack of a better phrase, runs-away. He did it with his family in the Americas and he does it again with his relationship with Jane.

So there were a few positive things I liked about the book. The characterization was written well. The personal growth and development of our two main characters was well paced. I liked the relationship that Jane had with her aunt and the spiritual strength she would give her.

Now there were some parts of the book I just skipped over, because I couldn’t keep reading pages and pages of internal struggle with spiritual matters. I just couldn’t do it. You can call me a heathen if you must, but it just felt redundant.

However, the book is good for anyone that once a clean family friendly story.

I give the book 3 hearts. Not bad, but I will most likely not read again.
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The author is one of my friends and co-authors of a novel I worked on, The Greenfield Legacy, so I was keen to start this new story.

I saved it to read as a treat, because that's what fairy tale adaptations are. Not many authors have attempted to set them in colonial Australia (well, as far as I know), but it's the perfect spot to see a familiar plot play out. Poor Miss Jane O'Reilly has lost her mother. She is shy and retiring, partly because her stepmother and stepsisters boss her around and pay her out, but mostly because she truly feels herself to be inferior. I'm sure you can guess the tale from that description.

There are all sorts of role reversals to make us smile. The 'ugly sisters' are actually quite pretty, while the poor heroine knows very well that her own nickname is 'Plain Jane.' She has such a fixed opinion about her own deficiencies, it never occurs to her that fresh eyes might regard her differently. My favourite detail is her embarrassingly huge feet, since the real Cinderella's always sounded ridiculously tiny. This version seems far more down to earth and real.

Price Moreland is the handsome American newcomer, who has set himself up as the town barber and dentist. It's reasonable that he'd attract the single women, but instead of taking the town's opinions on board, he has his own standards of what makes a girl beautiful. I'm glad he was a decent guy, because someone in his position needs lots of good character. He doesn't realise the depth of what he's taking on, since the person he falls for has such messy hang-ups after the way she's always been treated, yet it's all new to him.

In other words, Jane has baggage, and Price needs the maturity to understand and help her find a different way of seeing herself, all at the tender age of 26 (I figured out how old he was from clues in the story). Since traditional handsome princes don't always come across as sensitive, and willing to take someone else's load upon their shoulders I liked the depth it added to this story. He's more than just a dazzling smile and handsome face.

There's also some personal background of his own, since he left America to escape the racial tension of the Civil War, but finds out that it's everywhere, even on the Hay Plains. And he reflects himself on the impossible choice that faces him to either change his deepest principles or lose what he loves the most. The serious undercurrent this gives the novel seems to suit the Cinderella story.

It is quite lighthearted overall though, and I admit I sometimes begin adaptations of well known stories with a bit of trepidation. They can lose their suspense since we know what's coming. In this case though, I was interested to see how all elements could possibly come together, including the shoe, the fairy godmother, and the animal entourage. Jane's pets are actually quite a highlight of this story, headed by Moses the sulfur crested cockatoo. It's full of anticipation rather than predictability, and I'm sure anyone who appreciates the romance of fairy tales will love how it all comes together.

Finally, it's interesting to see what a visit to the dentist was like in colonial times, since I had a toothache of my own recently.

Thanks to Rhiza Press and NetGalley for my review copy.
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Sadly, this book didn't capture my interest and I did not finish it. No comment on plot, characters, etc.
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I enjoyed the story and characters. I loved learning more of Australian's culture. I was disappointed by how quickly Jane had a change of heart, but enjoyed the smooth way the author added her spiritual references without having it stick out like a sore thumb.
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This is definitely a Cinderella retelling but with it's own unique twist. Not only is her father alive but he's distant from Jane. We meet her living on the farm, with all of her animals and family. She walks around with her bird always perched on her shoulder. Nobody in town truly pays attention to Jane and call her Plain Jane. That is until the new gentlemen in town Price notices her and can't seem to forget her or her bird. Now I thoroughly enjoyed this book but I did have a problem with the constant talk about God and church. My reason for that is I don't go to church so it did bother me. Other than that I actually enjoyed this read.. I do recommend it to those who would love to read a unique retelling about Cinderella taking place in Australia, the year 1877.
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Loved it  great book will tell all my friends to read the book
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Unnoticed by Amanda Deed is a completely different take on the classic Cinderella story. This story is based in Australia and makes the story take on a different charm. I really like how Deed creates a unique plot line, settings, and character list that takes this Cinderella type story to the next level. We all have read that classic story and know how she always get her prince. However, this story is based in the Aussie outback with wildlife and interesting characters that help make this a really great love story. The prince does not have a castle and a royal court, instead he is the town dentist and barber.  Little does the town know that the family he left in America owns a major railroad empire. If you love a happy ending, this is the book for you.
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I’ve read a lot of Christian fiction novels in my time - they’re quite enjoyable in a historical context - but this is definitely the most Christian one I’ve read so far. This is by no means a criticism as it can still be enjoyed by anyone, but more a heads up if it’s not really your thing.

Something I wasn’t sure I could get with was the author’s continuous use of description. You could probably go pages without any real action or dialogue, just the characters reflecting on themselves, which is important but also could happen in other ways. Additionally, miscommunication as a plot line can only be used so many times - and this novel certainly exceeded this.

Aside from this, the characters were pleasantly enjoyable. They were all written in-depth, a far cry from the original telling of Cinderella where people are evil because they just are. Deed certainly displays her deep understanding of human nature in this novel which makes it such a good read. My favourite parts included Deed exploring issues with the Christian community, and when the characters you thought were wicked turned out not to be so wicked after all.
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I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I'll start by saying that I got a little over-excited when I seen that this was a retelling of Cinderella (I'm a sucker for reimagining of fairytales) and I didn't really read the entire description. I'm not a religious person, this was a pretty religious book (once I realized this I went back and sure enough one of its genres was "Christian fiction"). I read it anyway though and found it wasn't too preachy until close to the end. 

Second, this was listed as a young adult book. It isn't. I would call it Christian and historical fiction. I guess Jane is 18, but I have no clue how old Price is (old enough to have gone to dentistry school and become a barber/dentist then sail from America to Australia). If you can gauge how accurate and well-written historical fiction is by how much it ticks off a feminist, then this is very well written! 

Also, Jane has some pretty significant mental health issues. But she also comes off as kind of selfish and shallow. She never considered her father's issues after her mother's passing and doesn't show any empathy after learning of her step-mother's past. I feel like even when Jane got her "happily ever after" (not a spoiler guys, it's a retelling of Cinderella) she still doesn't take a new perspective and empathize with her stepmother (you'd think if she had discovered God and all of his love, she'd be able to forgive, especially once removed from her situation?). In conclusion, Jane is always pretty "poor me" even though I feel like she was supposed to be this fierce, independent (for the time period), kind girl. 

To conclude, I didn't like Jane. This was not a YA novel. But it was well written and if you like historical fiction then you will probably like this book. Three stars because it was well written (though if I'm honest I would've given it 2.5 if it was an option).
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I can honestly say this is nothing like I was expecting. The story is very drawn out and written in a proper language. The characters while reminiscent of Cinderella are very different beyond the smaller points.
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