At the Stroke of Midnight (The Naughty Princess Club #1) blurb:
Once upon a time Cynthia was the perfect housewife. Between being the President of the PTA and keeping her home spotless without a hair (or her pearls) out of place, her life was a dream come true. Her husband was once her knight in shining armor, but now he’s run off with all their money…and the babysitter.
Dressed as a princess at the annual Halloween block party on Fairytale Lane, she meets two other “princesses” also facing money troubles: antique store owner Ariel and librarian Isabelle. When the women are invited to wear their costumes to a party where they’re mistaken for strippers, Cindy, Ariel, and Belle realize that a career change could be the best way to make their money problems go bippity-boppity-boo.
But can structured Cindy approach a stripper pole without sanitizing wipes? And could the blue-eyed anti-prince that has been crossing her path become Cindy’s happily ever after? At the Stroke of Midnight is a hilarious, empowering story where princesses can save themselves while slaying in stilettos.
Can I just start by saying how much I have been loving contemporary / general fiction / romance stories lately?! I think I might be secretly having a summer read-a-thon in the middle of our winter because I am struggling so much with fantasy at the moment.
Regardless, this series (which I was introduced to by Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm) has been an absolute blessing to read in the midst of my current slump. It’s fun and light-hearted, while also dealing with some pretty horrible things, the characters are relatable, and the entire series is empowering, which you can not say enough in regards to a romance story.
The series revolves around three characters: Cynthia/Cindy, Belle and Ariel, each with their own story to tell. Cindy’s story is up first with At the Stroke of Midnight…
As per the blurb, Cindy is perfect as she is. Probably too perfect. So perfect that her husband has left her and she’s trying to maintain this ‘perfect’ facade because she literally doesn’t know what else to do. Oh, and her parents-in-law are chasing her for money her shitty ex stole from them, the bills are overdue and she’s got $50 to feed her daughter for a month. Until a solution appears as if by magic. All she has to do is convince the owner of Charming’s strip-club that she has what it takes. The only thing is, he thinks she’s too uptight to follow through. Maybe some one on one coaching is in order…
This series has everything I love: enemies to lovers, slow burn romance, a good amount of smut (as in there’s more plot than passion), and women who don’t need to be saved.
In terms of characters, Cindy was probably my least favourite character of the trio, but only because she starts off my being so straight-laced about everything. Skirt suits and proper adulting and far too much caring what other people think. Once she started to let her hair down, then she was definitely far more likeable.
There’s obviously lots of Easter Eggs in each of these, relating to the Disney cartoon version of their princesses, which was a tiny but cringey, yet unbelievably awesome.
But ultimately, the one thing that I cannot stress enough is that even though these are a smutty read, the control was always with each of the women; but even more than that, this was about them empowering themselves. And I really liked that aspect.