Fantasy Book Review: The Stepsister’s Tale

The Stepsister’s Tale by Tracy Barrett

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.

The Stepsister’s Tale is a unique retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale. Told from the point of view of the older stepsister, Jane is the heroine of this story. Jane is a hardworking, caring young lady. And “Cinderella” is a spoiled brat of a child. Jane and her sister are from a noble family who are now poor and destitute. When their mother marries a wealthy widower, they think they’ll be able to turn things around. But he only has debts, and they’re worse off than ever with another mouth to feed and winter setting in.

Barrett’s twist on a familiar story is a believable tale with hints of how the story will eventually be skewed. Don’t expect a fairy godmother or magic, but plenty of drama, heartache, forgiveness, and (of course) a bit of romance. It’s a stirring and sweet story that I wont soon forget.

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