Friday, March 28, 2014

Spanking Stories Book Club: The Mercies of Cinderella

Please welcome Rollin Hand who is here to discuss The Mercies of Cinderella by Ken Charles. 

The Mercies of Cinderella is not your standard medieval/fantasy romance. In fact it hardly qualifies as a romance at all. Instead it’s a hot and steamy, rough and ready BDSM revenge tale. “Mercies” begins where the classic fairy tale of Cinderella ends. Much like Anne Rice’s The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, to which this work must give a nod for inspiration, The Mercies of Cinderella picks up the day after the prince finds the girl. I suppose all of us had to wonder, even as little kids, watching the original Disney cartoon and any number adaptations that came later, what did happen to Cinderella’s step mother and the two sisters? Well, wonder no longer, for Ken Charles tells us. It’s payback time in the magic kingdom.
Cinderella, it turns out, is not one to just let bygones be bygones. The step mother and two sisters are brought before the prince for justice. The charge is treason. The headsman and his block are at the ready. But Cinderella is not totally without pity. She convinces the Prince to give them each one year. If within that year they can prove their worth, the sentence will be commuted.

And so, for the three women begins a year of humiliation, servitude and punishment. And what a year it is.  If you are a fan of judicial type or dungeon type scenes of corporal punishment, Mr. Charles gives it to you in full measure.

Layered into the story line is the romantic relationship between Cinderella and the Prince, and there is a sexy wedding night scene in which the Prince finally claims his bride. But Cinderella is not the shy retiring maiden you’ve previously known. She’s a bit of a brat herself, and when she rides out of the castle on her own in defiance of the Prince’s orders, there is hell to pay.

So how do the wicked step mother and step sisters fare? You’ll have to read Mr. Charles excellent book to find out, but here’s a tip-- don’t look for happily ever after. This ain’t your babysitter’s fairy tale. (But if your babysitter did read this to you, I want to meet her).

Barnes and Noble:

Here is the product blurb:
Payback is a bitch, and so at times is Cinderella. Cinderella is about to marry Prince Charming. Her evil Step Mother and Stepsisters have been convicted of high treason for their conspiracy to prevent the Prince from finding his true love, and are awaiting sentencing. Before the Prince passes sentence, Cinderella asks to take them into her custody for a year to determine whether she may speak on their behalves. The Prince grants her request, and remands the Step relations to one year under the tender mercies of Cinderella.

During this year, while Cinderella basks in the boundless love of the Prince and the joy of her first pregnancy, she applies the hard lessons she learned growing up to her Stepsisters, expressing her concern for their moral edification and well being with various paddles, straps, and even the scopula of a giant trap-door spider. Step Mother, who taught her that nothing in life is free, has to pay for her keep with sexual favors for all who provide her with any goods or services.

Discussion Questions:

1. What do you think of Cinderella’s character?

2. How do the step sisters change?

3. What do you think about formal judicial punishment scenes in spanking erotica?

4. Where is the line between reasonable severity and punishment that is too harsh?


  1. Thanks for an interesting post and some thought provoking questions, Rollin.

    I think your last question is one that all of us as writers wonder about. Or at least I do. I know there are readers out there who prefer severe punishments and then there are those who write reviews saying the spankings were too harsh. It's too bad we don't have some sort of rating system. I think that severity also depends on the offense which necessitated the punishment. It needs to be proportional.

    1. You're right Celeste. This is a real judgement call anytime one writes a spanking scene. I think it has to do with the offense and the setting and who the characters are. If it's the bad guy dishing it out that's one thing---the loving alpha male, that's another.

  2. I have not read this book, but I can definitely see the appeal to a lot of readers. People like revenge stories when they're done well, as this book appears to be. I can't address questions 1 and 2, but I'll try to give my 2 cents on questions 3 and 4.

    #3) Formal anything in spanking erotic can be very hot. It depends on if the characters fit in a formal mode. In the case of a fairy tale--and Cinderella specifically--the time period portrayed certainly lends itself to formal scenes. And, if you think about BDSM today, it has a lot of rules and provisos, a lot like a legal contract, quite formal. I think punishment scenes that inculcate rules, in a formal sense, can be a great plot device.

    #4) This is an interesting question for me right now as I am sitting on a couple of books wherein the punishments are quite severe. What's over the top? Obviously the big stuff (snuff, mutilation, systemic torture) are not big sellers. They do have an audience, even if such things are distasteful to the rest of us. I think if an author gives the reasoning behind whatever punishment there is, most of the time people will accept it as part of the overall plot. It is incumbent on the author to make it clear in the sales pitch, however, that there are some extreme elements. It isn't fair to surprise readers with that sort of thing.

    1. What I said to Celeste applies here too, Patricia. And I totally agree in full disclosure up front. As for #3, personally I've always thought judicial scenes were hot. There is something about the implacable machinery of the state colliding with such a personal and intimate type of punishment that it intrigues me.

  3. I haven't read this book, but I always enjoy adult versions of fairytales. What once seemed so innocent is suddenly very naughty.

    To answer question #4, I just think the punishment should fit the misbehavior. I enjoy reading about severe punishments sometimes, but it won't work for me unless the heroine did something especially naughty, and even then the punishment shouldn't be so severe that it, say, makes her pass out or causes lasting harm. And I'm willing to forgive what I perceive as a little harsh as long as there's plenty of lovey dovey aftercare.

    I bet all those Disney princes are a lot sterner after the wedding takes place. :)

    1. Well, exactly, Sue. And lets back up for a moment. The entire concept of spanking in an intimate relationship is that it is a demonstration of authority and disapproval of behavior in a way that is designed to cause no lasting damage. The whole idea is mainly embarrassment, not real pain, so in a lot of contexts over severity seems out of place. And I think you're right. Prince Charming might not have been so charming the first time the new princess pitched a hissy fit and flung a teacup at him.

  4. I haven't read the book but I have to say, I really did not like the Claiming of Sleeping Beauty. The story made my stomach churn at the constant beatings and humiliation. It was above and beyond my comfort zone. I like reading books that have some humiliation and I love spanking stories - just that that one was too much for.

    1. A lot of people did not like the Beauty series for that reason. Many times the punishments seemed rather arbitrary. But in a way, even that fit, given Ms. Rice's view of the world she created. Casual cruelty seemed to be part of the culture. The book above is not really like that. Punishment happens for a reason.

  5. I read the book and it was very very different then the one read to me at bed time years ago I will be a little vague on my answers only to keep from being a spoiler I would recommend the book it was very good
    I didn't care for the stepmothers paying with sexual favors but that is just me but the story was very good so to answer
    1. What do you think of Cinderella’s character? It was good
    2. How do the step sisters change? I can't answer this without being a spoiler
    3. What do you think about formal judicial punishment scenes in spanking erotica? The scenes where hot they weren't overly cruel It was no more then they deserved and at times it was less then what they truly deserved but anymore would have been too harsh
    Don't know the answer to #4


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