The Stepsister's Tale by Tracy Barrett was released in late June. I haven't read it yet but have been familiar with Barrett's work since she published Anna of Byzantium fourteen years ago. I have a paperback of that book on my shelf and handed it to my niece to read this summer.
I've met Barrett a few times at the Southern Festival of Books here in Nashville. She retired a few years ago from Vanderbilt University where she was a Senior Lecturer in Italian. Now she is focused on writing books and has several to her name, including ones inspired by Sherlock Holmes and mythology. This is her first foray into fairy tales.
I say all of this because the cover is rather generic and sways into the self-published book appearance. That's popular right now with mainstream publishers for some reason. I know many readers judge books by their covers, especially these days in the self-publishing world. Barrett doesn't fall into that camp. Her new book is published by Harlequin Teen and sounds intriguing. I am not against self-publishing, as we all know, but I do try to distinguish books that are traditionally published from those that are being published in new ways to help those who care about these things when choosing their reading.
What really happened after the clock struck midnight?
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….
From the handsome prince to the evil stepsister, nothing is quite as it seems in Tracy Barrett's stunning retelling of the classic Cinderella tale.
"Cinderella has bad manners, and, presto, Tracy Barrett reinvents the fairy tale-a magical book to devour late at night under the covers, flashlight in hand." -Maria Tatar, Chair, Program of Folklore and Mythology, Harvard
About the Author
Tracy Barrett writes both fiction and nonfiction set in the ancient and medieval past, as well as contemporary novels, for middle-grade and young-adult audiences. Her titles include the popular Sherlock Files series, as well as the award-winning Anna of Byzantium, Dark of the Moon (starred review, Kirkus), King of Ithaka (starred review, SLJ), and others. She loves traveling, and speaking to groups of students, teachers, and librarians.