Stepsister – Jennifer Donnelly

When did beautiful and good start to mean the same thing?

Stepsister examines this question in a delightfully fresh continuation of the classic story Cinderella. Isabelle, the middle stepsister is not beautiful but she is daring, brave, competent, loyal, and clever. This long list of useful and worthy traits were overlooked in the traditional version of the story. Stepsister also uncovers the completely believable and rational motives for the sisters behaviour towards Cinderella. I love the way this book make the unlikeable villain of the traditional story into a character to cheer for. It’s a wonderful example of how every person is just trying to do the best they can and perspective is what judges the actions.

Stepsister is a fast moving book, with interesting, well developed, characters and a strong plot. I stayed up past midnight to finish it.

This beautifully written story is presented in third person, past tense. Mostly narrated through the eyes of Isabelle, but with a few chapters narrated by Fate, Chance or the Fairy queen. A theme of forging one’s own path despite prejudice wove neatly into the plot.

I think this novel would appeal to anyone looking for a fresh take on a classic fairy tale told through they eyes of a strong heroine.

Five out of five coffee beans

Written by Jennifer Donnelly

Published by Hot Key Books

reviewed by C. Baker