Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Novel / Chapter » Historical Fiction


Aschenputtel Chapter 1

by DragonNoir

Chapter 1

23rd June 1940. I walked through the barren streets of Paris, the skies were painted a morose grey colour. I was returning from church that morning, walking past the Eiffel Tower in the process. How bad of a choice was that. Making eye contact with Nazi soldiers could guarantee you a beating, but meeting him is the worst possible luck in the world. Do you want to know what’s worse that that? When he actually points you out, starts talking to you very casually and you understand him because you know German.

He looked my way, I felt his cold gaze upon me, sending shivers down my spine. 

“Hallo!” He called out. I froze. A few seconds later, a stern, loud voice yelled,

“Face the Führer when he is talking to you, Untermensch!” ‘Untermensch’ was a derogatory term used by the Nazis when talking about anyone who is a non-supporter of the III Reich. I slowly turned on the spot to face him. Next to him is a group of tall Nazi soldiers. I felt my heartbeat quickening rapidly. I walked slowly over to them with my head down. Once I stood before him, I said what was required of me.

“H- Hallo, m- mein Führer…” I struggled to speak.

“You are a most beautiful Dame. You have mesmerising blue eyes and flowing blonde hair. What is your name?” He asked.

“J- Jeanne Cendres.” I reply quietly.

“A beautiful name which perfectly suits a beautiful lady.” I looked up at him in disbelief, but I quickly put my head down in fear of getting hurt.

“You do not need to hide your beauty.” He said. “How well can you cook, clean and do other chores required of a maid?” I was very scared of where this conversation was going.

“I- I guess I’m good at all of them…” I replied, my voice was slowly fading away.

“Wunderbar! You will become my new maid!”

“Mein Führer,” One of the soldiers stepped out. “You don’t even know if she’s a Jude.” ‘Jude’ was the German word for ‘Jew’.

“Ja, you have a point.” He turned to me. "Bist du ein Jude?”

Nein.” I replied, my face not portraying any shade of doubt. He seemed to notice this. 

“Stay here with me, you will be coming with me to my Alpine retreat to work as my new maid. My soldiers will grab your things for you, where do you live?” My heartbeat almost stopped when I heard that. I kind of wished it had stopped.

That same afternoon, we departed by train to the border between what used to be Austria and Germany. From there, we went to a beautiful holiday home. It had three floors, including the ground floor, and the outside had a combination of black wood and classic white walls. It had three balconies from what I could see and looked pretty much barren; there was no one to be seen anywhere in the surrounding area. I walked by his side, escorted by about twelve soldiers. 

“Welcome to your new home.” He whispered to me and smiled. I faked a warm smile in response.

“Thank you, mein Führer.” I said. Of course, what I meant was ‘Thanks for ruining my life, you bloody idiot.’

When we entered, he and I were greeted by three other maids. All of them had different accents, although I could tell that one of them was French. They all had their hair in buns and wore black and white clothing. The soldiers handed me my luggage (a large brown leather suitcase), but before I followed the maids to the servant quarters, he said,

“Oh nein, you won’t be sleeping with them. Follow me.” He led me to the top floor, on which was a spacious bedroom with a sizable bed. On each side of the bed was a small table, but only one had a few items on it. The other was empty. Opposite the white bed was a large window and a door which led to a balcony. On either side of the door were two dark brown Oak wardrobes. The walls were a wooden light brown colour.

“You will be sleeping here.” He said. 

“B-but mein Führer, aren’t you sleeping here?” I asked.

“Yes. You’ll be sleeping with me.” Then, my heart stopped beating and I fainted, smashing my head loudly onto the wooden floor. While I was unconscious, a thought popped into my head.

Should I kill myself, or should I kill him?

I woke up on the white bed in the same room I fainted in. The three maids leaned over the bed to look at me.“Are you ok?” The blonde one asked. “Yeah, I guess.” I replied, my voice was extremely weak.

“I think now would be a good way to introduce ourselves.” The black-haired one said. The other two nodded.

An introduction after I just woke up from fainting? Yes, it is the best possible time to introduce yourselves to me. I thought.

“My name is Kasia.” The blonde said. “I’m from Poland.”“I am Henriette.” The brunette said. “I’m French.”“And my name is Klara. I’m come from Germany.” The black-haired one said.

“Jeanne… Cendres… Pleasure to meet you…” I struggled to reply.

“Why did you faint?” Klara asked.

Boy, you are nosy. I thought.

“The Führer introduced me to a very shocking proposition, though it seems the fall has made me forget what it was.” I said. Of course, I wasn’t going to tell them that I’m getting in bed with my future boss. It’s bad enough I’ve drawn this attention to myself this quickly. Suddenly, I heard footsteps climbing up the door. I quickly threw myself to my side of the bed - the one with the empty table - and pretended to be asleep. The three maids seemed to understand me.

“Is she asleep already?” The Führer asked. I had a feeling that the maids nodded. This was because he sighed in response, but I still had a shadow of a doubt.

“Go to your quarters.” He ordered after a moment of silence. The maids left and I felt him slowly sliding under the bed.

Gute Nacht, lieber Jeanne.” He whispered into my ear.

Author's Note: Thank you for reading this! I would love if you could review this so that I could improve this story. I hope you enjoyed this story and look forward to the next chapter! - DragonNoir

Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.

Is this a review?



User avatar
33 Reviews

Points: 1129
Reviews: 33

Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:52 pm
GinaERufo wrote a review...

First of all, I really like your point of view. It makes it feel like we, the readers, are inside the head of your narrator, which is an interesting way to go about historical fiction. I also like that you saved the name reveal, because it gives the readers some wiggle room to get an impression of the character before knowing their name and gender.

I would also like to say that the combination of historical fiction and romance is very special and exciting, but I would slow down a little with the different emotions being expressed, because although this is in 1st person and that is generally how people think, it could be a little confusing to your readers.

Overall I really enjoyed this though :) I think you will make a great writer

DragonNoir says...

Thank you so much for the review, although I must admit: you're a bit late. I've kind of given up on this novel, but you can go and check out my novels if you wish! :)

GinaERufo says...

Oh I'm sorry, haha I didn't even notice! I myself typically give up on novels but I really think you've got something special here if it is any consolation from me. I will definitely check out your other stuff though! If you couldn't tell from my own story, I myself am a lover of historical fiction novels :)

User avatar
1080 Reviews

Points: 125
Reviews: 1080

Tue May 02, 2017 12:53 am
View Likes
Kaylaa wrote a review...

This is Nikayla here dropping in for a review!

Your first actual line that describes Paris and gives the reader some background gives a nice start to the story, but I wanted more of that. I wanted more imagery and description to accompany this since it seems as if you're setting up for more, but it stops off there. I'm quite interested in the mix of genres that you've decided to do with this novel--a WWII historical fiction, yet also including the aspect of romance?

I'm a fan of this mix, and I'm interested in how it's going to end up turning out. At the same time, you jump right into the story, which is respectful in its own right, though I prefer building the atmosphere and the description first to give the reader a taste of what the rest of the story is going to be like. I would like to see a bit more of a hook used in the start, though you've already pulled the reader in with the actual plot. I wanted to note a couple of parts that could use critique, though, and we'll jump right into that.

23rd June 1940.

Could just be me, or that could be how they used to address the date, but as far as I know, shouldn't it be 'June 23, 1940.' instead? It's a minor issue and I could be wrong in that aspect, but that's how I've always known it.

The dialogue in this chapter seems to be a bit of a weak point for you? Though, at the same time, I enjoy the amount of background knowledge that you have about WWII and Germany and how you implement that into the story. At the same time, you flat-out go out of your way to explain in the story what certain terms mean, such as 'Jude' or ' Untermensch'.

Instead of pointing out the meaning of these in the story, I think it'd be much more efficient if you just decided to keep a set of footnotes at the end of the chapter that explain the meaning rather than taking up space in the story to do this. It's a bit awkward that we're pulled out of the story so that the main character to explain these details, which is why I suggest leaving it out of the actual chapter and explaining it after, or even in the Author's Note that you leave.

I have to agree with Carlito in the fact that the pacing moves a little too quickly for me to take in and comprehend or process these emotions, and it's a little sudden. Seems like most of your problems happen to be in the area of dialogue (though I like your characters, you do have technical problems that I will point out) and in the perspective in a way.

Here's an example of a simple mistake you made that I wanted to point out:

I woke up on the white bed in the same room I fainted in. The three maids leaned over the bed to look at me.“Are you ok?” The blonde one asked. “Yeah, I guess.” I replied, my voice was extremely weak.

Here, you have two people talking in one paragraph. It doesn't seem as if you intend for this to be and it's more of a silly mistake, since the rest of the chapter isn't like this, but at the same time it's good to keep in mind that when a new speaker starts talking, you start a new paragraph.

As for the perspective, I found the italics to be a little much and some of it seemed to be a little iffy on how realistic it is, and I think you could rework some of the lines there to make them have a more real feel to them. Other than those issues that I've pointed out, this is a pretty solid chapter with a plot that's drawn me in, so I may be coming back to review the next chapters as well!

With some revision and fleshing out of the emotional aspect of the novel as well as pacing this chapter, I can see this being an even stronger start. Finally, I picked up that the title meant Cinderella! I looked it up when I didn't know what it was, and I'm interested to see where that ends up going.

If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask! I hope I helped and have a great day.


This review courtesy of

DragonNoir says...

Thank you for your feedback! I will try my best to improve. Oh, and that paragraph mistake happened because I had to copy and paste from the document I was writing, becasue for some reason it wouldn't load up the document onto here. Once more, thank you very much!

Kaylaa says...

Totally understandable, regarding the formatting messing up. I'm glad the review helped though!

User avatar
1132 Reviews

Points: 49530
Reviews: 1132

Mon May 01, 2017 10:10 pm
View Likes
Carlito wrote a review...

Hey Dragon! Welcome to YWS! I see you're making yourself at home already posting your work and writing some reviews :D Don't hesitate to PM me or write on my wall if you have any questions about the site or if you need anything at all!

So I picked this out of our very empty green room because it's a romance and those are my favorite things to read! I don't read a ton of historical romance but I've always been super interested in the WWII era and the Nazi regime, so this should be interesting!

I liked where you started with this novel. You did a great job getting us right into the story and not wasting time with much exposition or back story. We've encountered who I'm assuming will be the major players and you've introduced us to the first big conflict (she's been taken from her home and forced to be a maid and hopefully not a sex slave). Perfect opening.

My biggest qualm so far is that there isn't a ton of emotion or oomph. I want to feel shocked and scared for this poor woman, but everything happened so fast. You're telling the story in an interesting way - it feels like the woman is looking back on her life and telling us (the readers) what happened to her. That's a perfectly fine way to tell a story and it can be kind of cool because the narrator knows a lot more than the reader and we have to wait for the narrator to reveal things to us. But, you'll have to be careful that you don't fall into telling too much. This narration style naturally lends itself to lots of telling, and you're going to have to fight that with lots of showing.

So for example, when she meets this soldier and he's talking to her, you show what she's doing (ducking her head, speaking quietly) and that helps show that she's nervous which is awesome. What I really want is more of her thoughts and inner monologue. Now, you don't have to have big blocks of text in italics to show her thoughts and inner monologue. Since it's first person and she's telling the story, all of the narration is technically her thoughts. I want way more of that. What's going through her mind when she meets the soldier? When he calls her beautiful? When he asks if she can clean? When he says she'll be his maid? Etc.

I'd be curious to know more about what happens between him making the declaration that she'll be his maid to her arriving at the house. What about her family/friends/life? Even if she isn't allowed to say goodbye, surely she's thinking about all of that. Someone is going to collect her things, is she worried about what they'll find in her house? Is she hoping there are certain keepsakes or things they'll take for her? Does she have any feelings other than fear? Is she mad that this guy stormed into her life and said this is your life now or is she just scared of what's going to happen?

Overall, I think you have a good start here, I just want more exposition and thoughts. I'm super curious to know what's going to happen next, so I really hope you keep working on this story and I hope you choose to post more of it here! If you do, can you tag me or let me know in some fashion that there's more because I love to follow novels and I'd love to follow this one! :D And let me know if you have any questions or if there's something you'd like feedback about that I didn't mention!

DragonNoir says...

Thank you so very much for this feedback! I will try my best to keep this in mind for the future.

That, sir, is the most frightening battlefield in the world: the blank page.
— Larry McMurtry, Comanche Moon