Monday, July 14, 2014

Book Review: The Stepsister's Tale

The Stepsister's TaleAuthor: Tracy Barrett
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

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.

You are a Halsey. You are the last of the Halsey line, you and your sister. You have much to live up to. Never disgrace the Halsey name.

“She doesn’t feel like a sister. And it’s strange having that man around.”

And where do I go? Jane asked herself. Who will comfort me?

This Cinderella retelling offers a new twist at an all too familiar story. This time we hear from Isabella’s, Cinderella in this story, stepsister, Jane. We get a different perspective in this story; one where “Cinderella” is no longer the poor, pitiful, innocent little girl that we all came to know and love. She is painted in this story as a spoiled rotten child full of vengeance and resent towards her father because he decided to move her way out in the country with no servants and certainly no fancy food and ball gowns. This story will have you feeling sorry for a different character entirely. You might just find yourself feeling sorry for both of Ella’s stepsisters.

The pacing of this book was slow and I kept expecting something more exciting to happen. The most action that I witnessed for a while was the fact that Jane, her sister, Maude, and their mother, were always on the verge of starvation, but the pacing crept along quite slowly. While I loved Jane, I didn’t care too much for their mother. She let the girls be bullied and did not seem to care for them as much as any mother should. I felt so sorry for the girls and I just really couldn’t stand the way that their mother treated them, especially when her new husband is around.

My favorite part of this book was Jane’s character. I loved seeing the story from an alternate point of view and actually feeling sorry for the stepsister and disliking Isabella. Jane was strong and fierce, and did all that she could for her family. I would go as far as saying that Jane was the reason they survived as long as they did. She also showed a taste for adventure and curiosity, which is always nice in a character. I did not dislike this book, but I wish there had been something more to pull me in from the beginning.

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Harlequin Teen in exchange for my honest review***

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