Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Stepsister's Tale by Tracy Barrett [ARC REVIEW]

TITLE: The Stepsister's Tale
AUTHOR: Tracy Barrett
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Teen
PUB DATE: Jun 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.

Source: Goodreads


“You’ll still be beautifully yourself when that pretty kitten has grown up to be a nice-enough cat and the wildflower has faded.”

I am one to never pass up a chance to read a fairy tale retelling. So it comes to no surprise that I just had to read The Stepsister’s Tale. A Cinderella story told in the eyes of the “wicked” stepsister? This should be interesting.

The Stepsister’s Tale indeed have quite an intriguing opening; how expectations of high society could push a person to deceive and live in denial.

Jane was a receptive character, it’s not hard to feel compassion for someone who refuses to stick to what is expected of her or what society dictates, and choose to do what it takes to take care of her family. I wouldn’t say the same for Jane’s younger sister, Maude, and her mother though. They felt a bit insignificant unless needed, but I can see that there really isn’t much for their characters to do in the story.

Cinderella – or rather, Isabella in this book – was such a spoiled brat! I’ve always come to love and pity our little heroine in the other stories but I had a sudden change of heart with this one. Goodness! I don’t think I have the patience to watch children such as her.

While I find the beginning of the book to my liking, I felt a little skeptical with the middle of the book. It seemed to have gone through a redundant strain of events with not much excitement. Although I understand the need to show the harshness of Jane and her family’s situation, I have to admit it was kind of boring.

I like the interesting twist to the classic fairy tale. I also highly appreciate the fact that another person was set to be the villain in the story – that was new! However, I feel like it was a little short on closure over some details. For one, whatever happened to the King’s lands? Given the scarcity of food for the village where Jane and her family lived, did the people get the chance to thrive again? What of the fairies rumored to be hiding in the woods? Did they truly exist or was that simply a figment of the imagination?

Although I must say I am happy over how Jane’s story has ended, there were several parts left unrequited, which I would have respected a lot more if given some conclusive answers.

*Thank you, Harlequin Teen and Netgalley for granting my request to view The Stepsister’s Tale.

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