The Stepsister’s Tale by Tracy Barrett (review)

June 3, 2016 All Reviews, Fantasy, Romance, YA 0 ★★★★

The Stepsister’s Tale by Tracy Barrett (review)The Stepsister's Tale by Tracy Barrett
Published by Harlequin Teen on June 24th 2014
Number of Pages: 272
Genres: Fairy Tale, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Source: Library
Format: eBook
Goodreads
Purchase: At Amazon
four-stars

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.

I loved this twist on the usual Cinderella story. The step-family isn’t actually wicked, and Isabella (Ella) is manipulative and tells lies about them to anyone who will listen to her. They’re poor and the only reason they have food to eat most of the time, is because the two daughters (Jane and Maude) do all the housework and tend to the animals.

They make butter and cheese, collect eggs from the chickens, and Jane sews most of their clothing. Their mother is delusional most of the time. She refuses to acknowledge that they are not the rich and important family they had been when the mother was growing up. So she is willfully ignorant that her daughters are basically servants in the home that is falling down around their ears. But the daughters are somewhat helping with that because they don’t bring up anything in front of their mother that would make her face reality.

There are threads of romance in the book, not just for Jane and Maude, but for Ella as well. There is also a bit of ‘be careful what you wish for’ towards the end of the book. I really liked Jane, she was easy to connect with, and I also loved the forest family. Especially Will. There were a number of funny moments in the book, and quite a few references to the Cinderella story, especially where the author was able to put bits in that were done in an amusing way.

My only irk, is that in the beginning when Ella and her father come to stay, there is a scene where Ella is yelling at her step-mother because she took Ella’s mother’s jewels to hold for her until Ella is older (she’s 13 then.) And yet, the family spends the next year or more starving because they have no money to buy food. Where did the jewels go? But other than that, I really enjoyed this retelling and will be buying my own physical copy of it. If you haven’t read it yet, you should!

four-stars

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