Cinderella Doesn’t Shine in the Stepsister’s Tale

The Stepsister's TaleExplore the other side of the story in Tracy Barrett’s, fantastic alternative telling of Cinderella, The Stepsister’s Tale.

The story is historical fantasy fiction with a strong fairy tale atmosphere. The stepsisters are cast as the sympathetic main characters, with the older sister, Jane Montjoy, leading the family and focused primarily on survival.

Jane is kept busy supporting the illusions of her once-noble mother and trying to keep her younger sister in line. Her mother may claim that noble ladies don’t work, but “hobbies” like embroidery and cheesemaking are the only things keeping their family alive. Jane is a resourceful and realistic heroine, but her journey won’t be easy.

Forces outside of Jane’s control bring challenges that she cannot face alone. Her mother goes to town and comes home with a husband and his beautiful and demanding daughter.

Mysteries in the woods, the strict laws of the king, and the judgement of the refined society  only make things worse. With hints of Robin Hood, the story adds twists on the traditional Cinderella story.  The reader tries to guess which of the clues from the traditional fairy tale will be incorporated next, as everyone wonders about the upcoming ball at the Prince’s castle…


Lissa Staley

Lissa Staley helps people use the library. She is a Book Evangelist, Health Information Librarian, Trivia Emcee, Classics Made Modern book group leader, NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison, Community Novel Project leader, HUSH podcaster, and frequent library customer. She reads a new book every few days, but recently enjoyed Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley.