Nola Ann Devlin lives a lie. During work hours she is the overweight and frumpy editor at Sass! magazine. But when she gets home, Nola sits down behind her keyboard and becomes the reclusive, and much raved about Belinda Apple, the ethics columnist for Sass! magazine. No one knows that Nola is really the tall, slim, red-haired, and British golden girl. As Belinda, Nola did an article on how easy it is to lose weight. During lunch one afternoon, her closest friends, Nancy and Deb, decided that the three of them needed to take Belinda's wise advice. Thus they formed the Cinderella Pact. They would lose weight and keep it off. Nancy is a rich lawyer. She hires a personal trainer. Deb is the one who married her childhood sweetheart and had kids. Deb decides surgery is the way to go. But Nola neither has the money for a trainer, nor bravery enough to go under the doctor's knife. Nola has to do it the hard way, exercise. Right after the pact is made, Nola psyched up and ready. But then her car dies for the final time, her kitchen catches on fire, and she learns that her bosses are trying to find out Belinda's true identity and possibly sue her for fraud! Toughing it out, Nola gets a ride home from a co-worker named "Chip". She even goes to the gym, even though it means she somehow ends up in a bet with the toughest guy there in a weight lifting contest. Chip is right there, cheering her on. But what can Nola do when Chip turns out not to be who she thought he was? Sound confusing? Well let me put it this way: who even said Nola was the only one with a secret identity. Lastly, there is Nola's family. No support there when it comes to her weight or her problems. Her parents seem to care only for their youngest daughter, Eileen.Read more ›
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
We are all Cinderellas, no matter what our sizeJuly 21 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
The first thing you should know is that this isn't your traditional Cinderella story, although it does have a fairy tale ending. This fab and funny novel follows the ups and downs of Nola Devlin, a plus sized magazine editor who is leading a double life. When her application for a job as an advice columnist is given the round file treatment, Nola creates the perfect alter ego, complete with British background, photo-shopped, bony chested, ultra skinny glamour picture and pink cowboy boots. To her surprise, "Belinda Apple" is a smashing success, and becomes the elusive star of the magazine.
One of her glib responses comes back to haunt her when her two best friends decide to follow Belinda's dieting tips after an embarrassing incident at a restaurant, and she reluctantly agrees to a "Cinderella Pact" to lose weight by a certain date. Her friends Deb and Nancy take different approaches to losing the weight, and each one has to face up to the consequences.
Nola herself has a hard time, not only with the diet and exercise, but also with keeping her identities straight, and her life becomes increasingly more complicated when:
1. Her sister decides to get married and wants Belinda to be the matron of honor 2. She meets a great mystery guy who may or may not be named Prince "Chip" Charming 3. A background check by the magazine reveals that Belinda isn't all she claims to be 4. She has to act as a go-between for a hot British columnist whom the tabloids have linked to the beautiful Belinda
Fast-paced and funny, with likeable characters and despicable villains, this one is a must for fans of Bridget Jones' Diary and the Stephanie Plum series.
Rated: 4.5 stars
Amanda Richards, July 21, 2007
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Lots of fun!July 8 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
THE CINDERELLA PACT by Sarah Strohmeyer
July 8, 2006
Amazon Rating: 4/5 stars
THE CINDERELLA PACT by Sarah Strohmeyer is about an overweight woman, Nola Devlin, who is a frustrated editor at "Sass!" Magazine. Somehow she manages to create an alter ego, Belinda Apple, and after "interviewing" for the magazine through Nola, she manages to get Belinda a regular column in the magazine. Nola has always wanted to write, and knew this may be her only way to see her dreams come true, sort of.
In the meantime, Nola is leading a double life. Belinda supposedly lives in London, and is also supposedly having an affair with their "other" British employee, Nigel. Yet, no one has met Belinda, and at the same time she's so popular that Nigel tries to meet Belinda through Nola, hoping to make that so-called affair that is making the tabloids, real.
The Cinderella Pact refers to Nola and her two best friends, Deb and Nancy, who all vow to lose weight. After seeing Belinda Apple's column on weight loss, which Nola made up off the top of her head, Deb and Nancy are convinced this will work for them. So, now the three are trying to lose weight.
Between Nola's family politics (they all think Nola is jealous of sister Eileen who is about to become engaged) and Chip, a guy at work that seems to really like Nola, her life is pretty busy and somewhat stressful. And of course handling Belinda is not a piece of cake either, as she tries to continue this charade and keep everyone convinced that Belinda is a real person.
I highly recommend THE CINDERELLA PACT for those who love funny light reads such as Bridget Jones Diary. Sarah Strohmeyer is also the author of the Bubbles Yablonsky series, which sort of remind me of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. All these books have one thing in common - they contain women who are over the top that will keep you in stitches.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I loved this book!June 22 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
I've read all of Ms. Strohmeyer's books and have especially enjoyed her "Bubbles" series. This is a stand alone book about three girlfriends struggling with their weight and romantic relationships. The narrator Nora is also dealing with the fact that she's been secretly writing an advice column everyone else thinks is done by a thin, gorgeous Brit named Belinda.
As always, Ms. Strohmeyer's writing is extremely funny and exceptionally poignant as well. I, for lack of a better word, devoured the book in one evening staying up until nearly 2 a.m. to finish it, wiping away happy tears the last 40 pages or so. I absolutely adored it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A nice light-reading, so nice that I read it 2 more times.Dec 17 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
At first I only gave 3 stars to this book. However, every time I was in the mood for something like, I seem to be drawn to this book, and I read it twice already and starting a third time. By now, I have to say - I give it 5 stars because it is so entertaining, light-hearted - and - girlie.
========= This is a light-hearted novel set in the contemporary world with the theme of - Every girl is a Cinderella inside. We are all hoping for a fairy godmother to turn us into a beautiful princess who will have a happy ending with prince Charming. Only, instead of changing the clothes, the fairy god mother should make the girl thinner and more confident. This is not a thought-provoking story, or a must-read. It is a light story to pass time in a nice way.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A great summer read for chick-lit fansJuly 10 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
Having read a few of the books in the Bubbles Yablonsky series by Sarah Strohmeyer, I was curious about her most current novel. The Bubbles series is very similar to Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. The books are fun, and one can definitely lump them into the "beach read" category. THE CINDERELLA PACT, however, is a notch above Bubbles (who by the way makes a cameo here) and I want to compare it favorably to the Bridget Jones books.
Nola Devlin is an overweight woman who works for Sass! magazine as an editor. What she really wants to do though is write, so she somehow manages to create an alter ego, Belinda Apple, who finds her way into writing an advice column for the publication. No one knows that Belinda does not exist. Everyone thinks Belinda lives in London and is very chic (a doctored photo of Nola convinces the staff of this), but no one has yet to meet the popular columnist. Nola gets away with her charade by creating an email address for Belinda along with an American cell phone number, explaining to co-workers that it's cheaper to use than a direct British phone line.
In the meantime, Nola and her two best friends, Deb and Nancy, decide that they are going to lose weight, and they form the "Cinderella Pact." They vow to become trimmer versions of their present selves, inspired by an article penned by Belinda Apple no less. While Nola knows that the article is a bunch of bull, the other two are convinced this is the way to go.
While the three pursue their dreams of becoming thin, Nola meets "Chip," a computer geek who also works at Sass!, and is surprised to find that he is attracted to her. But she's somewhat convinced that he is already in a relationship (possibly married) and thus keeps disappearing on her, giving her the impression he's really not that serious about her. Nigel, the "other" Brit on staff at Sass!, also shows interest in Nola, and she isn't sure what to think of him. (Actually, rumors are flying that Nigel and Belinda are having an affair, and Nigel tries to get a hold of Belinda through Nola.)
On the home front, Nola's family thinks she's jealous of baby sister Eileen, who is almost engaged to be married, while overweight Nola never seems to get a date. When Eileen decides she wants Belinda Apple to be her maid of honor, Nola is about to have a heart attack. How is she going to pull this one off?
I thoroughly enjoyed THE CINDERELLA PACT, which had me laughing out loud. I hope Strohmeyer continues writing books with these fun and crazy characters because they are delightful, funny and always amusing to read about. I'm recommending this book to readers who enjoy well-written Chick Lit, but also may be looking for something more.
--- Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton (Ratmammy@lofton.org)