The Stepsister's Tale by Tracy Barrett
Release Date - June 24, 2014Publisher Website - Harlequin Teen
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 272 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
What really happened after the clock struck midnight?What if Cinderella's stepsisters weren't so wicked? What if her stepmother wasn't either? Was the handsome prince all he really appeared to be? This well thought out, and smart twist on the classic Cinderella tale shows that perhaps you only think you know the story.
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 writing had a classic fairytale feel to it. It brings to mind Once Upon A Times and Happily Ever Afters. It fit the tone of the novel perfectly, but sadly, it kept me from connecting to the characters. Jane is the driving force behind the novel as so much of it is her experiences and emotions. It's a quieter story, one that is not filled with action, so it relies heavily on it's characters. A connection to Jane is, therefore, crucial and sadly something that never happened for me. Perhaps writing in first person, and having Jane tell her own story would have suited this novel better. I wasn't invested in their outcome, and that impacted how I felt in the end.
The nods to the classic tale will delight Cinderella fans. All the big imagery from the original is there. Part of this story's charm is finding these nods. The magic, the glass slipper, and the pumpkin carriage are all there in some capacity (just to name a few). Many of these come with a twist that served to honour the source but also make the story something completely the author's own. The care, and feeling the author put into the story is evident, and her love of the Cinderella story shines through the pages.
In a twist from the original the focus is on the bonds of family. Family both blood related and not. The loyalty we all feel towards our family, and the complexities that make up these relationships. Having the romance take a smaller role allowed the story to be seen from a different perspective. This novel looks at what makes a family, and what family means, and the Cinderella tale is richer for it. This aspect is perhaps my favourite part of the novel because of the stark difference it made.
A mostly delightful twist on the classic Cinderella tale. One that focuses on family and friendships rather than the romance. While I may not have fallen completely in love with this fairytale, there is still plenty to be spellbound and captivated by.