My mother loved me more than life itself. That’s how everything went wrong.
A romantic reimagining of the classic Cinderella fairy tale, Gilded Ashes is a novella by Rosamund Hodge set in the same world as her debut novel, Cruel Beauty.
Orphan Maia doesn’t see the point of love when it only brings pain: Her dying mother made a bargain with the all-powerful ruler of their world that anyone who hurt her beloved daughter would be punished; her new stepmother went mad with grief when Maia’s father died; and her stepsisters are desperate for their mother’s approval though she always spurns them.
Anax, heir to the Duke of Sardis, doesn’t believe in love either—not since he discovered his childhood sweetheart was only using him for his title. What’s the point of pretending to love a girl just so she’ll pretend to love him back? But he finally submits to his duty and promises to select a wife at a masked ball for all the suitable girls
As fate would have it, the preparations for the masquerade bring him Maia. Despite a prickly first encounter, he is charmed and intrigued by this mysterious girl who doesn’t believe in love. Anax can’t help wishing to see her again—and when he does, he can’t help falling for her. Against her will, Maia starts to fall for him too. But how can she be with him when every moment his life is in danger from her mother’s deadly bargain?