Ella by Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee
Paperback, 240 pages
Published November 10th 2015 by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 5 Stars
Reserved yet resilient, Ella Blakeley lives with her cruel stepmother and stepsisters, without hope of escape—until the day Prince Kenton announces a ball that changes everything. Even without mice, magic, or fairy godmothers, Ella might discover a life that’s better than she ever dreamed. This intricately woven twist on Cinderella is an enchanting book you won’t be able to put down.
I must admit--my favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast, but Cinderella is a very, very close second. I love the idea of someone rising up from where she's been forced to be in a positive and selfless way. This retelling is one of the best I've read and one of my new favorites.
One thing that's tricky with retellings is to stay close enough to the original that the reader is engaged, yet put enough twists and spins on it to make it unique. Ms. Peaslee masters that quite well. The familiar elements are there--a motherless girl with a father who dies, a mean stepmother and stepsisters, a prince, and a ball. However, in this version, the reader really gets inside of Ella's head and sees her reasons for doing (or not doing) what she does.
I found myself connected to Ella almost from the start. She's a hardworking, loyal girl with a great attitude and personality. Ella has two good friends, Jane and Will, who each play important roles in the story. The characters are all very well done.
There isn't a fairy godmother, yet the story still worked well in that aspect. The major twists come towards the end and I wasn't sure just how it would all end, but I was very, very pleased with how it did. I read this book in a day, as I just couldn't get enough. This is a clean read, appropriate for all ages. I'm excited to see what Jessilyn Peaslee comes up with next!
About the Author:
Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee was born the fourth of seven children to a family of avid readers, movie quoters, and sports fanatics. She graduated with a degree in English from Brigham Young University in 2004. She is a mother of five rambunctious, adorable boys and while you read this, she is probably folding laundry . . . or should be.