Jul 10, 2014

Review: The Stepsister's Tale by Tracy Barrett

Title: The Stepsister’s Tale
Author: Tracy Barrett
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: 6.24.2014
Pages: 272
Genre: Young Adult, Retelling
Series: N/A
Source: ARC from publisher

Rating: 4 ½ Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
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.

This is one of those books I went into a little curious about, but ultimately got swept away in a fantastical fantasy world. THE STEPSISTER’S TALE is truly a fairytale for more grown up people, and Tracy Barrett does a brilliant job of bringing the storied tale of Cinderella to life in a whole new way.

I’m a huge fan of de-villainizing a villain. I love seeing a character typically written off as bad become reformed and a heroine. Jane is just such a character. Seeing the humanity of Jane, of seeing the conditions she was growing up in while her mother was simply more and more disillusioned, was heartbreaking.

I think the true brilliance of Barrett’s writing is that while she has completely twisted the Cinderella tale I knew as a child, she is still able to keep the reader entranced with that childlike wonder and purity of a story that drew me to fairy tales in the first place. The magic is still very much here (not the talking/sewing mice, although she does make a nod to several characters in brilliant ways), but it’s a grown up magic.

I started this book the afternoon I got it in the mail and finished it the same evening. It is a fast, cleansing read that I cannot recommend enough. Flowing prose and fantastic narration drive this original plot to the very end.

Buy: Amazon


  1. This book sounds so good! I love any fairytale retelling and I also love when an author can humanize a villain. It's always so interesting to me to see how the "bad guy" got the way they did.

  2. I've seen mixed revise bout this one, I'm glad you liked it though. I usually love re-tellings :

  3. And I'm sold! I love fairy tales, especially when they're re-imagnined with a twist. Well, assuming that twist is done well, and this one sounds like it is.



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