Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Review: "The Stepsister's Tale" by Tracy Barrett


Title:The Stepsister's Tale
Author: Tracy Barrett
Genre: YA Fairytale Retelling
Pages: 272
Publication Date: June 24, 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.

 Fantastic!/ Highly Recommend
I received this copy for review from Netgalley.

What a pleasant surprise!

My expectations for this book were based on previous experience with fairy-tale retellings for the Cinderella story that focused a little too much on the romance. Tracy Barrett took the story and turned it into a glowing retell that read more like a historical fiction and had me sitting back in my chair and thinking "I never considered HER feelings."

Truly Ms. Barrett has done something very interesting with "The Stepsister's Tale" by asking the reader to look at BOTH the perspective of Cinderella and the "ugly" stepsisters. Though Isabella (Ella. Cinder-Ella) is quite infuriating at times the author seems to be reaching out very subtly and asking us to consider the psychology of this young woman who has lost her mother and has been yanked out of the only life she has EVER known to live with a new step-mother and two girls she has nothing in common with. On the other hand you have two sisters who are thick as thieves with their mother when all of the sudden two new people enter the picture with no clue how to love or handle the sisters. As children do (their ages in this story range from 12-15) they jump to constant conclusions about each other and live within the realm of "I'm right and she's wrong" just enough to really rile each other up.

Misunderstandings abound.

Since the story is told from the eldest stepsister's point of view the reader has the pleasure of being as confused as she is regarding the behavior of her new sister. Jane's perspective of Ella is based on feelings of contempt for a younger girl who can't do anything to assist in the family's struggles, and in truth just adds to the misery. In the long-haul the reader begins to see Jane's views shift as she realizes her misunderstandings one after another.

Aside from masterfully crafting the set up for a lesson in judging others, Ms. Barrett has done an amazing job creating "The story that sparked the legend", a very harrowing version of a fairytale that could very well have happened.

My only qualm with this work was that there were some slow bits that seemed to drag, especially during the end of the book when the chase was on for Isabella after she escaped the ball.

I will definitely be reading more of Tracy Barrett's books in the future. 

Until Next Blog, 

Read On!

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