Cinder-bratty-ella: The Stepsister’s Tale by Tracy Barrett


Disclaimer: I do not own the lyrics to “I Want It Now” which belongs to Warner Brothers. Also, I received an ARC  copy of this book from NetGalley.  It did not effect my opinion of this book.

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.

Source: GoodReads

Yes, I read another Cinderella retelling.

I can’t help it.  Fairytale tellings are like my weak point in YA.  Luckily, this one was a lot better than the last fairytale retelling I read, Cinderella’s Dress.

I actually enjoyed reading The Stepsister’s Tale, but it did have some problems.

The plot I thought was nice.  It wasn’ t very action pack.  And some might call it, I dare say boring, but it worked for me.  The story is really, more or less, character driven.  And I did like the development you saw with the character Jane.  So much, that I was able to avoid yawning at the constant drudgery that is farm chores.

The main character really was the best thing this book had going for it.  Jane felt like a real character.  She wasn’t ridiculously perfect, but she wasn’t unlikeable either.  Though, I have to say for an evil stepsister Jane wasn’t that evil.

In fact, she was really the Cinderella character (in my opinion) of the novel.

Who had ugly written all over her, on the hand, was Cinderella.

Dear lord.  As well developed as Jane is, the Cinderella character is hardly realistic.  From the book, I’m guessing she’s suppose to be about fourteen tops, but she seemed like she was about six to be honest.

It was ridiculous. That’s how I can only describe it.  Don’t believe me.  Here’s an example (paraphrased) of a conversation that Cinderella (know as Isabella) would have with her father:

Isabella: Daddy, I want a pony.

Father: Of course, darling.

Isabella: A pony driving a pumpkin colored carriage and pretty mirrored shoes and…I want a bean feast

Father: Oh, one of those.

Isabella:  Cream buns and donuts and fruitcakes with nuts….

Okay wrong movie, err…boook…you know what I mean. I think Veruca Salt is the inspiration towards this character.  She i sjust horrible.  And her quick turn around towards the end of the novel, just doesn’t do it for me.  You can’t make up all the shit you did the first ninety-five percent of the novel.

I’m sure…but no.

Besides, Isabella another issue I have with this book is how everything is suddenly resolved.  While I liked the overall slow pace of the novel, I felt like the end was a bit too sudden. There was so much building and then it just stops.  Suddenly.

As for the romance in the book…meh.  It was okay.  Definitely not overpowering.  But I didn’t get the thrills from it.  The good news though is it’s not really a main plot point of the book.  It’s more or less an after thought.

In a weird way, this book felt more middle grade than YA and I would’ve been fine with it if the characters were middle grade age.  But they weren’t.  These were all ladies of marriage age-though it sort of disturbed me how Maude (who was twelve in the novel) was marriage age.

Overall though, I thought there were some nice twists to the Cinderella tale.  I just wish…I don’t know…I just wanted more.

Overall Rating: B.  This one works.  But it could’ve been better.  However, I do recommend it with some reservations.



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