The Stepsister’s Tale
Published: 1st January, 2014
Age: Young Adult
From: Harlequin Teen giveaway
What really happened after the clock struck midnight?
Jane Montjoy is tired of being a lady. She’s tired of pretending to live up to the standards of her mother’s noble family-especially now that the family’s wealth is gone and their stately mansion has fallen to ruin. It’s hard enough that she must tend to the animals and find a way to feed her mother and her little sister each day. Jane’s burden only gets worse after her mother returns from a trip to town with a new stepfather and stepsister in tow. Despite the family’s struggle to prepare for the long winter ahead, Jane’s stepfather remains determined to give his beautiful but spoiled child her every desire.
When her stepfather suddenly dies, leaving nothing but debts and a bereaved daughter behind, it seems to Jane that her family is destined for eternal unhappiness. But a mysterious boy from the woods and an invitation to a royal ball are certain to change her fate…
From the handsome prince to the evil stepsister, nothing is quite as it seems in Tracy Barrett’s stunning retelling of the classic Cinderella tale.
What I liked: This book shines a whole new light on the tale of Cinderella, and it was one that made me really enjoy this book. When I first read it I didn’t remember that it was a retelling of Cinderella up until the part where Isabella calls Jane and Maude’s mother wicked and the sisters ugly. Going back and reading it again was something that I’m glad I got to do because I really enjoyed this book when I first read it! Jane is a girl who is hardworking and just trying to do what she believes is best for her sister and mother to make sure that they stay alive, even though they don’t have much anymore. Add in a girl who has never even thought about working a day in her life and her father who gives her everything she wants and you’ve met both Isabella and her father, Harry. I always thought a retelling of this nature for the story of Cinderella would go in and explain what happened to make Ella, but this one managed to surprise me with how it all played out. Nothing that I remembered from the fairy tale I was familiar with was in this retelling. It was managed to surprise me as well as keep me on my toes as I tried to figure out where this book was going to go. There characters were characters I liked, even Ella by the end though for the most part I didn’t like her at all. I mean, a spoiled child who refuses and mucks up everything that needs to be done so they survive is my least favorite but at the same time I loved that, because that means she was affecting me!
What I didn’t like: There was a slow pacing in the beginning but for the most part that kind of pacing worked for the story. It let everything build up but a lot of the time I wondered if everything that was mentioned was important because it seemed to drag in a few places and then after the invitation for the ball things seemed to pick up really quickly. I think it had more to do with the story being driven more by the characters and their circumstances than events happening outside the household than anything though.
Overall Review: While this story did have a lot of their daily lives in it and had some repetition I found that in many ways it helped me understand Jane and where her priorities lay within her story. There was plenty of guessing with how things will turn out when I originally read it, and there were a few things I didn’t remember so it was nice to read those parts again. Overall, I thought this was a nice read, if a bit slow!
Recommend?: If you like retellings then hopefully you will like this one!
My Rating: 4/5
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