i am such a fan of mercedes lackey! i have also met her (and her hubby larry dixon at several cons. she is very graceful in person, and certainly enjoys her world-wide fans. anyway, i overall enjoyed "fairy godmother." lackey certainly creates very spunky, very smart female characters in her novels. elena is no exception. growing up under the sharp tongue of a stepmother and the stepmother's daughters (the father died several years before), elena quickly learns how to toughen up and keep her feelings to herself. she wears rags by day, and sleeps in the ashes at night. finally desparate enough to do something about her ongoing plight (and when the "steps" leave the city house to escape to another place), elena goes to the city's open market, in hopes of attracting a potential employer, who would then ideally hire elena as a maid or cook of some sort. well, sometimes, happy endings do happen! a fairy godmother is summoned to pick elena out of the line-up. she then takes a very frightened elena to her cottage in the woods. there, elena is told that she is to be the fairy godmother's apprentice. (the godmother's name is bella.) elena learns this craft, and then is on her own, due to bella's leaving to unknown parts. on the downside, i felt that this novel went on waaaay too much. there should have been more careful editing done. towards the middle and end. lackey adds too many characters. confusing sometimes. i also felt that elena's story could have been told in a much shortened version.