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Summary

A stunning and shocking retelling of the Cinderella fairytale from a Carnegie Medal novelist

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?

In Autumn 2020, Jennifer Donnelly will be giving another classic fairy tale, Snow White, a feminist makeover in her new book Poisoned.    

©2019 Jennifer Donnelly (P)2019 Bonnier Books UK

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Highly Recommended

Loved this. The narrator was amazing and the story was brilliant, overall a great listen.

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absolutely brilliant

I hope this ushers in a new wave of more understanding and stronger girls hooked on classic stories from disney. I love this story underneath the one known so well

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  • Anonymous User
  • 29-07-20

Beautiful!

Donnelly understands fairy tales. She knows the gruesome aspects of the originals and I'm glad she didn't sanitise them. Fairies were dark, wild, sharp, powerful creatures not sweet pretty things. Cinderella's stepsisters mutilated themselves, Snow White's evil queen was made to dance until she died in red hot shoes, etc etc. Lovely book and narrated beautifully!