Cinderella Is Not All She’s Cracked Up To Be
Move over Cinderella, that stepsister you so easily convinced us was EVIL, has a different take on you and your daddy. In The Stepsister’s Tale, Tracy Barrett turns the Cinderella fairy tale on its ear by changing the point of view. Barrett, an intelligent writer, well versed in the classics, has long been interested in how “our point of view colors our perception of events.” Indeed.
When Jane Mountjoy tells her story, we feel the dirty reality of the poverty she lives in with her sister and deluded mother. As in so many gothic tales, the house itself is a primary character. The past, the ruin, the burden are all very real, yet the social delusions do more damage than the reality. The sisters must do all of the heavy work, while their mother, Lady Margaret, fantasizes that real ladies mustn’t lift a finger.
Into their dingy, desperate world arrives hope in the form of Lady Margaret’s new husband, the tall, balding and supposedly wealthy, Harry and his spoiled daughter, Isabella. Their hope is dashed of course as the tale unfolds under Barrett’s careful eye. The house is hopeless, the woods are dangerous and the social norms are cruel. Fortunately, unlike in fairy tales, Barrett’s characters grow and change in this richly developed story.
Tracy Barrett was born in Cleveland Ohio, grew up in New York State and taught Italian, Women’s studies, English and Humanities at Vanderbilt University before resigning to pursue writing full time. She has “a husband, grown daugher and son, and old Jack Russell terrier and a new puppy!” Barrett currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee. The Stepsister’s Tale is her 20th book.
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