Plain Jane O’Reilly wants nothing more than to go about her business ‘unnoticed’. Not much chance of that, seeing she’s tall, has an abundance of unruly red hair, and big feet ‘that poke out like a dead tree on a barren landscape’. (I loved that line!)
Her mother died when she was a little girl, her stepmother is nasty, and so are Jane’s two stepsisters who swan around the homestead and get Jane to do everything for them. Sound familiar?
If you’ve guessed ‘Unnoticed’ is based on the story of Cinderella, you’re right. I really enjoyed the parallel, not just because it’s different to any other I’ve read, but because it’s set in Australia. In the town of Hay, New South Wales, in 1877, to be precise. And while Jane is obviously Cinderella, there’s a lot more to her than a fairy tale character. She grabbed me from the first page.
Jane comes across as vulnerable yet strong, hopeful even though she’s been continually let down, and, like us all, she simply wants to be loved. She doesn’t think she deserves it though, and the reasons for her misbelief made me want to slap some sense into a few people on her behalf.
Prince Charming, a.k.a. Price Moreland, is a barber-surgeon – interesting combination – and has come from America because … well, I’ll let you find that out for yourself. Whilst I found him interesting, I didn’t feel there was as much depth to him as there was to Jane. However, Jane finds him tall, dark and gorgeous, and he thinks the tree-climbing Jane is tall, beautiful and intriguing, so that’s all that matters.
The rest of the story takes them both on a spiritual as well as romantic journey. I particularly enjoyed the following passage:
“Aunt Ruby, why would God love me?”
Without hesitation, her aunt’s face it up with a broad smile. “Because you breathe, lovey. He don’t need any more reason than that. Because you breathe.”
Beautiful, isn’t it?
In my opinion, Jane and her idiosyncrasies make the story sing. (Wait until you find out the names she’s given her beloved animals.) As I read, I envisaged her played by a young Judy Davis. (Anyone remember My Brilliant Career?) Or, going back even further, Katherine Hepburn.
So. ‘Unnoticed’. A beloved fairy tale with quirky characters and an Australian twist … what’s not to love?
Andrea Grigg lives on the Gold Coast, Queensland, and is author of two contemporary Christian romance novels, and a novella. She would love to connect with you via:
Twitter: @andreagrigg https://twitter.com/andreagrigg