The tale of Cinderella – or the Cat Cinderella, or Aschenputtel – is a story that is found in many cultures throughout the world. The extraneous elements may change – sometimes there’s a ball, sometimes not, there can be murder, a nut tree, a fairy godmother or the kindly spirit of a deceased mother – but the central theme of rags to riches, from oppressed to princess, is always there.

What is it about Cinderella that appeals to so many people? Is it because we all root for the underdog? Is it just for a love of social justice? And what happens if Cinderella’s wishes aren’t from a benevolent fairy godmother but are part of a fiendish bargain? To answer these questions and more, we spoke to JJA Harwood, author of The Shadow in the Glass.

Mentioned in this episode:

  • Cinder the Fireplace Boy: And Other Gayly Grimm Tales by Anna Mardoll

JJA Harwood is an author, editor and podcaster. She grew up in Norfolk, read History at the University of Warwick and eventually found her way to London, which is still something of a shock for somebody used to so many fields.

When not writing, she can be found learning languages, cooking with more enthusiasm than skill, wandering off into clearly haunted houses and making friends with stray cats – or playing D&D, which you can listen to on her podcast, Lads on Tour. Her first novel, THE SHADOW IN THE GLASS, was released in March 2021 and debuted onto the Sunday Times bestseller list.