DNF Review: The Stepsister’s Tale by Tracy Barrett

DNF Review: The Stepsister’s Tale by Tracy BarrettThe Stepsister's Tale by Tracy Barrett
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 272
Published by Harlequin Teen on June 24, 2014
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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.
one-star

I love fairy tale retellings. Love them. I have 100% drunk the kool-aid for The Lunar Chronicles. I was charmed by Entwined by Heather Dixon. I also have great affection for Harlequin Teen, especially on NetGalley. I cried through most of the new Disney Cinderella movie that came out this earlier this year. So you would think that a Cinderella re-telling told from one of the step-sister’s POV would be perfect for me, right? How could it go wrong?

Too bad it was boring as all get out.

Full disclosure: I DNF this sucker at 40%. Because nothing was happening. Nor had anything really happened in that 40% that prompted me to keep reading.

So the story follows Jane, one of the not-so-ugly stepsisters. Their family is really poor. And really hungry. Jane milks the cow a lot. Mother brings home a new husband and a stepsister for Jane and her actual sister Maude. They continue to be very poor and very hungry. Jane milks the cow about ten more times. Poor, hungry men come to fix their roof. Everyone continues to be poor and miserable. Jane milks the cow again. We spice things up a bit by eating mushrooms for dinner instead of cheese or eggs. Yet again, Jane finds herself milking the cow. New husband randomly dies. Jane continues to milk the cow. Everyone is still poor and hungry.

I am not even exaggerating. There was sort of maybe the beginnings of a romance between Jane and a boy named Will who was not even remotely interesting.

Is it too much to ask to have some conflict in a book?

I suppose if you’re looking for something very calm, where almost nothing happens, you might enjoy this. The first chapter was very promising, but then we entered a sort of limbo where each chapter felt exactly like the first and the story went nowhere. I hear there’s a ball near the end, but I don’t care enough. I know how Cinderella ends. A retelling has to capture my interest to make me forget how the story ends, or at least, keep me interested in HOW the story is different from the original.

Or, you know, be interesting just in general.

If you like reading about people milking cows, this is the books for you.

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