Book Review: The Stepsister’s Tale by Tracy Barrett

18722882 I have been such a bad reviewer lately and I don’t even have the fun excuse of the World Cup as an excuse like Eddie does! Just work and life getting in the way of doing the actual reviewing. However, I have been reading so I’m jumping back in.

I love fairy tales and getting a retelling of Cinderella is always exciting to me. In this version we follow Jane and her sister’s noble family who is basically struggling to make it. Jane is responsible for almost all of the household chores and feels like she is what is keeping the house from falling down around them. Then suddenly their mother comes home married to a rich man and toting his spoiled daughter, Ella, to the house.

Ella’s been spoiled by her father and has no idea how to do any work which rub sisters Jane and Maude the wrong way. At the same time the sisters have always been criticized for their lack of polish and looked down on by their noble peers. So without fail the three girls do not get along which causes much chaos in the newly joined households. When Ella’s father dies suddenly things only get worse all around and Jane doesn’t know how they will survive it all, especially when it appears he wasn’t exactly telling the truth.

What I liked the most about this book was the way the author painted each character. In fairy tales most characters are black and white and in this the author did a great job of making them not nearly so straight forward. Even Ella who could easily have one very clear and spoiled side has multiple facets and throughout this book we get to see many of them. Jane is definitely my favorite character in this retelling though. She was a sensible and clear headed YA character and those are few and far between.

There is also a kind of side story that happens a little later in the book with the forest people who have been displaced from their homes. This part of the story did have a direct tie in to Jane’s story and brought some romance elements to the story. It just didn’t jive with the rest of the pieces of the book as well to me. But overall this was a good retelling with the characters shining as the best part.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

3.5 Stars

~Melinda

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