I am delighted to share my review for Step Sister by Jennifer Donnelly. I won a copy of this book from Readers First so my huge thanks to them.
As a child I loved fairy tales, especially Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm. They told of magical adventures and whisked me off to far away lands to meet all sorts of people and beasts. Step Sister is the story of what happened after Ella was found to be the owner of the glass slipper.
‘In an ancient city by the sea, three sisters – a maiden, a mother, and a crone – are drawing maps by candlelight. Sombre, with piercing grey eyes, they are the three Fates, and every map is a human life . . .’
Stepsister takes up where Cinderella’s tale ends. We meet Isabelle, the younger of Cinderella’s two stepsisters. Ella is considered beautiful; stepsister Isabelle is not. Isabelle is fearless, brave, and strong-willed. She fences better than any boy, and takes her stallion over jumps that grown men fear to attempt. It doesn’t matter, though; these qualities are not valued in a girl. Others have determined what is beautiful, and Isabelle does not fit their definition. Isabelle must face down the demons that drove her cruel treatment of Ella, challenge her own fate and maybe even redefine the very notion of beauty . . .
Cinderella is about a girl who was bullied; Stepsister is about the bully. We all root for the victims, we want to see them triumph. But what about the bullies? Is there hope for them? Can a mean girl change? Can she find her own happily ever after?
This is the story of Isabella, one-half of the “ugly sisters”, the other being Octavia. I was really interested to see how or where the author would go with this story. The author took a route that included Fate and Chance, it wasn’t the story I thought it would be. Instead, it was so much better than I could imagine.
I immediately got the fairy tale vibe as I started this story, and I was so glad of that. I think it is important to have this as it follows on from such a famous one. The main focus is Isabella and I learned of her childhood and growing up. More importantly, I discovered what the turning point was in her life for her to turn ugly.
The way the author portrayed the character and showed things from Isabella’s perspective was interesting and became very compelling. Instead of the flippant, high-maintenance and demanding girl instead, I found someone very different. A girl who so much wanted for her mother to be proud of her. A girl who was expected to become someone she didn’t want to be. A girl caught in an endless circle.
As this tale unfolded I was drawn deeper into the lives of the sisters. The story made me think about them in a different way as a new light had been shone on them. The author has given the sisters something different and for me, it worked really well. There was more of a feminism flare to the story, and as this strain started to make itself felt the fairy tale started to fade. There is still the magical feel but it just feels more grown up.
If like me, you still like fairy tales then Step Sister is one you should really take a look at. It has darkness that has been balanced with the various other threads of the story. For me, this version of what happened after is very good and makes for brilliant reading.
It has strong characters, a wonderful storyline and gives great escapism. It gets a Definitely Recommended from Me!
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be great 🙂 xx