What really happened after the clock struck midnight?
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.
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….
the handsome prince to the evil stepsister, nothing is quite as it
seems in Tracy Barrett's stunning retelling of the classic Cinderella
Having reimagined Greek classics in novels like King of Ithaka and Dark of the Moon, Barrett offers a provocative inversion of the tale of Cinderella.
Halsey Hall—the once-magnificent home of Lady Margaret Mountjoy and
daughters Jane, 15, and Maude, 13—has been falling apart since the
girls’ father squandered the family’s money and drank himself to death.
With their mother in denial, Jane and Maude have been handling numerous
household responsibilities like chopping firewood and tending to
animals, making them tan and strong, but not proper ladies to present to
society. When Lady Margaret suddenly remarries and presents her
daughters with an entitled and haughty new sister, 13-year-old Isabella,
conflict is inevitable. Barrett cleverly upends traditional notions of
happily ever after—rather than Cinderella’s usual trajectory of rising
from the ashes to marry a prince, for Jane, Maude, and their family,
salvation comes through hard work, realizing the futility of clinging to
a long-dead illusion of nobility, and embracing a “lowered” station in
life that truly allows them to live. Ages 14–up.
— PW★Starred review
Despite the singular title, this clever
and sensitive retelling of “Cinderella” takes the viewpoint of the
supposedly evil stepsisters and turns the story inside out.
Jane and her sister, Maude, live in serious poverty after the
death of their handsome but alcoholic father, who wasted the family
fortune. They live in their decaying mansion with their mother, who
still insists that ladies do not work, although Jane and Maude toil all
day, chopping wood, cooking and gathering food from the woods. When
their mother returns from town with a new, supposedly rich husband and
stepsister, Isabella, conditions worsen, as Ella refuses to lift a
finger. When her father also dies bankrupt, the girl sulks by the cold
fireplace, playing with the cinders, leading to a new nickname:
Cinder-Ella. A royal hunting party brings the prince; beautiful Ella
tells the aristocrats of her evil stepmother and sisters. Smitten, the
prince holds a ball—but Ella may not find the fairy-tale ending she
hopes for….Barrett tells her story straight, painting a picture of the
sisters’ poverty that rings true. She includes the major elements of the
fairy tale but gives them realistic rather than magical origins, naming
Ella’s pony Mouse, for instance. Highly imaginative as well as insightful, this outstanding revision has the power to entrance and provoke thought. (Romance. 12-18)
— Kirkus★Starred review
A brilliant and innovative retelling of a classic that gives entirely new meaning to the term “Cinderella story.”
— Ruta Sepetys, New York Times bestselling author of Between Shades of Gray
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