Book Review: Fairytale by Danielle Steel

Welcome, book lovers! 

In this post, I discuss a contemporary fairytale retelling, Fairytale by Danielle Steel. If you’d prefer to listen to this review, you can check out the full episode on The Bookmarks ‘n Blankets Podcast on your favorite podcast platform or listen below. (This is a spoiler-free post.)

You can also let me know your thoughts about this book by commenting on my Instagram post here.

Fairytale by Danielle Steel

Published: October 2017
Genre: Contemporary/Romance
CW/TW: Language and Attempted Sexual Assault
Format: Hard cover
My Rating: Leave It
My GR Rating: 3/5 ⭐ (but I consider it 2.5)

Book Synopsis: 

This is a Cinderella retelling set in beautiful, lush wine country in modern day Napa Valley, CA. Christophe and Joy meet in college and fall madly in love with each other. Soon after they graduate, they get married and begin building their winery and estate. Christophe builds a big, beautiful home and calls it Chateau Joy, after his wife. Then, they welcome a daughter, Camille, and raise her in this idyllic home where she learns the art and business of wine-making. After graduating from Standford, Camille moves back home with the dream of running her family’s successful, renowned vineyard. However, tragedy strikes when Joy is diagnosed with breast cancer and then ultimately passes away. 

Six months after losing his wife, lonely and devastated Christophe falls prey to a manipulative, greedy but charming Parisian woman, Maxine, who only wants his money and estate. She seduces him and within weeks, they become a couple, completely smitten with each other. Even though Camille and her family are still grieving the loss of Joy, Christophe shocks everyone when he asks Maxine to marry him. But Camille starts to see past Maxine’s elegance and alluring looks, while her father is trapped in her web. 

Tragedy strikes again when Camille’s father is killed and she falls prey to her stepmother and her two evil sons who appear. But she’s determined to fight for her legacy and her very life. As Camille grapples with the plots being carried out against her, her only allies are a sweet, kind grandmother figure and a childhood friend that emerges as a prince worthy of any fairytale.

Overall Opinion: 

Honestly, I thought this book would be better than it was. I was pretty disappointed in it. I grew up reading Danielle Steel in high school as a teenager. I remember her books being pretty good. I mean, she’s one of the bestselling authors of all time for a reason. But I had a hard time getting into this book, and felt like the story took too much time to build up, and then it abruptly ended.

Book Details:

  • Length – I read the hardcover edition and it was 275 pages. So it’s not a long book but it felt long and dragged for quite a bit. I’d say over 50%. 
  • Writing Style – I was not a fan of her writing style in this one. Instantly, it felt dated, like reading something from the 90s. It had long, chunky paragraphs, which felt like a chore to read. It has multiple POVs, which usually is fine, but we skipped around a lot and it got confusing on whose POV were in at times because we’d change POV right in the middle of a paragraph. It felt very sloppy and messy. 
  • Cover Art – I thought the cover was pretty. It’s nothing spectacular, but it definitely gives the feel of the book. It’s a distant shot of the chateau among the grape vines with beautiful trees and hills behind it. I picked this up in spring for a spring vibe/cottagecore reading theme, and it fit perfectly.

What I Didn’t Like About It:

  • Since we know this is a Cinderella retelling, ultimately, we knows what happens, but this story took FOREVER to actually get to the good part of the story. There was so much build up for the first 50-60% of the book. It just dragged on and on and on. Then we turned a corner and it started picking up. But no sooner did it start getting somewhere, it abruptly ended. I was just very disappointed in that aspect. 
  • I never got bored with the story, but I kept wanting some things to be rushed so we could move forward and into some interesting parts. 
  • Sometimes, there was way too much description and too many details to keep straight. We were given a lot of backstory at the beginning and it became difficult to remember everything thrown at us, and then it got a little confusing. There was also too much repetition and over-explaining of some things. At times, as a reader, it felt like I was being talked down to by the author when she felt the need to over-explain things. There was also a lot of telling and not showing (breaking of a writer’s cardinal sin) and every nuance was explained. 
  • We get a little bit of character development, but we never really dive super deep, so I didn’t really connect too much with any of the characters. We jumped around POVs quite a bit, and that got confusing at times. But due to all the switching between characters, no one specific character was given time to really develop and come to life. I would say the closest was Camille, the daughter, who is our Cinderella in this story. 
  • But one thing I really could not stand about Camille was her not standing up to Maxine, the wicked stepmother. Now, I know Cinderella is supposed to be this meek, timid character, and that’s who Camille is portraying here, but this is also a retelling set in modern times. I wanted a strong female protagonist that stood up for herself and wouldn’t let these bullies do some of the things that they did to her after her father died. 
  • Also, there is no real progression of the love interest. We see him here and there, and then suddenly, he’s this white knight or Prince Charming coming in at the end to rescue her, and it felt out of place. I would’ve liked to see him show up earlier and interact more with the main characters. 
  • The way Camille’s parents die felt like very cliche deaths. I thought the author could’ve been more inventive. Which leads me into how predictable everything was. Again, I know this is a fairytale retelling, but I wanted more creativity. Give us a unique element or a twist, or something!

What I Liked About It:

  • I think the most redeeming quality of this story was the setting. I loved the descriptions of Napa Valley with the wineries, and learning about life in that part of the country. Also, learning about wine-making and the business behind it. I enjoyed the descriptions of the lifestyle, the parties they went to, and the chateau they lived in. I also got big time spring and summer vibes from this book. So it definitely was a good seasonal story. 
  • Simone, aka The Fairy Godmother, was my favorite character. She’s a feisty, quirky older lady from France that brought a bright, cheeriness to this rather depressing story. She made me laugh at times, and I loved how loving, kind, and sweet she was, especially with Camille. I loved their budding grandmother/granddaughter relationship. It was very sweet and heartwarming.  
  • Even though the ending of the book was abrupt, it was satisfying, so I will give it that. I was happy with the resolution. 
  • It was also very easy to love the heroes of the story and really easy to hate the villains. 
  • My emotions were activated with this story. It hit really close to home for me because my mother died of cancer when I was 16, and my dad remarried less than a year later to a woman who has a son. My stepmother is definitely not a wicked stepmother, but without getting too personal, there were some similarities that I saw in the book that I could relate to. 
  • Even though Camille frustrated me, I also had to admire her ambition and tenacity when it came to going to school and then learning everything she could about her parents’ wine business. Then, when she was faced with all the scheming and backstabbing from her wicked stepmother and stepbrothers, I respected her resistance and persistence as she tried hard to fight them to keep her legacy and not let them destroy it. I just wanted more from her.

Why You Should or Shouldn’t Read It:

This is such a mediocre story that I can’t recommend this book. Which is really disappointing because I remember Danielle Steel books being really good, some of the best books out there. In fact, she’s one of the bestselling authors of all time. Unfortunately, this one missed the mark for me.

Final Thoughts:

I’m not upset that I read this book, and I did get to a point where I started enjoying it, but overall, it was a disappointing read and I expected so much more from Danielle Steel. I don’t feel like the writing was up to par, and there really was no depth or thoughtful message to be told here. It felt like a fluff read, and not even a good fluff read. But mostly, it was just surface level characters with a weak plot. This may be a good book for some people, but it was not that great for me, unfortunately. Will I read another Danielle Steel book? Maybe. Who knows. Maybe I’ll read one of her older books to compare the two. But for now, I would say pass on this one, and find a better fairytale retelling.

If you’re interested in this book, you can purchase it here.

*Please note that I am a participant in the Amazon Associates Program and a member of other affiliate programs. I may receive commissions from qualifying purchases made through links in this article.

Get Cozy with the Podcast

To listen to this podcast episode, head over to The Bookmarks ‘n Blankets Podcast on your favorite podcast platform. You’ll also find full book reviews, reading topics, self-care tips, and a whole lot more.

You can also find pictures of book covers, book tag graphics, and other visuals on Instagram

If you’re interested in exclusive member goodies or want to support the show even more, you can join my Patreon community.


Come soak up all the warm, fuzzy feelings! My name is Kelly, and I’m excited to share my thoughts and opinions with you about books, movies, and TV series. I’m also obsessed with all things comfy cozy, self-care, and personal development.

Join me as I snuggle up with my favorite blankets and yummy beverages, and talk about my favorite forms of art.


Like, follow and subscribe.

© 2023. All rights reserved.