I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Stepsister's Tale by Tracy Barrett
Published by Harlequin Teen on June 24th 2014
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.
The Stepsister’s Tale is the type of twisted tale that I enjoy. Taken from the point of view of Jane Montjoy, a girl who has been told she is a lady, but has been milking cows and tending to their household for years. The story of Cinderella is re-imagined. Isabella is a surprise that arrives home with their mother one day, along with a man, who Jane and her sister Maude had never met. Her mother had remarried while she was away to a widower. The transition is hard, as the two sisters are used to hard work and Isabella is a delicate little lady who scoffs at the girls even when she tries to be friendly. There’s a lot of ‘getting off on the wrong foot’ going around, but then Isabella’s father dies and things take a tumble for the worse for everyone.
I’m fond of different view points in fairy tales and I love how Ella is not the poor picked on little girl like she is in the stories. The harsh reality of losing money while still trying to hold onto your pride is one that rings throughout the novel. Jane’s mother grasps onto stories of when she was young and wealthy, of the balls and the love of her life. The cruel reality is that not all men are perfect and her fortune was gambled away.
When the prince comes to visit while he is hunting through the woods, he spies Isabella and they share a dance. This one moment leads up to a tirade of incidents that include a ball. One in which it is obvious to Jane that the person the prince is looking for is her stepsister. But there’s so much more to this book than the usual story line. Jane herself has a love interest, a proud boy who lives in the forest and they tend to mess up when they are together. He assumes she lives in a big house and must have lovely comforts. She thinks he doesn’t like her and would rather not spend time with her.
I really loved Jane, she was awkward but starting to fit into what her daily life required of her. She wasn’t beautiful but was pretty enough to grab your attention. I liked her narration and her down to earth attitude. Overall, I just really enjoyed this book. I love twisted tales and this one really struck a chord for some reason.
A great retelling of Cinderella, a bit dark and sad but really well written.