The Stepsister’s Tale
author : tracy barrett
pages : [hardcover] 272
favorite character : will
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 don’t think that I’ve ever read a Cinderella retelling from a stepsister’s point of view, though I have frequently heard about them. I wasn’t sure how this one would be a new take on the classic tale but was eager to give it a go when I saw it at random in the library. To be honest, it was sheer luck that I saw it was a fairy tale retelling, because when I saw the cover I immediately wanted to put this back on the shelf. I know, I know–don’t judge a book by its cover. I’m assuming the one young woman on the cover is supposed to be Jane, our main character. Probably. But it looks nothing like her. The whole premise of the story is that she lives in poverty and looks nowhere near as glamorous as she should, according to her family name. I’m a sucker for any fairy tale retelling so I knew I’d give this a shot, despite the unfortunate cover.
To be honest, I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up. While The Stepsister’s Tale did have some interesting ideas to it, none of them were executed in the right way. Actually, the story ended up being pretty boring. There would be good scenes, ones that would get me excited about the story again, and then it would drag. Nothing would happen to further character development–in fact, at the end, some characters seemed to spontaneously change their attitudes for no real reason or motivation from what I could see. And it wasn’t that the book was monotonously predictable; obviously, knowing Cinderella, any reader has certain expectations of where the story will go. I knew that. I just didn’t enjoy myself on the familiar fairy tale ride.
I still feel disappointed with this book because I feel like the characters, who were fairly interesting, weren’t enough to save the story. I needed a little oomph to invigorate the plot, something that never happened. If the book hadn’t been so short, I’m not sure that I would have been able to finish it.
I don’t think that I’ll be recommending this book because I have many other fairy tale retellings that I would recommend over this.