So I was trying to figure out how to review the beginning of Mansfield Park as it is a little different from her other books. It is more like Sense and Sensibility with a bit of a backstory on the three sisters, Fanny’s mom and aunts.
The more I thought of it, the more it made me think of a fairy tale opening, I mean you have three sisters that only one marries well-it kind of made me think of the folktale The Three Sisters, Cinderella, One Eyes, Two Eyes, and Three Eyes, etc. So that is how I am going to treat this-like a fairy tale.
Our story starts many years ago (thirty to be exact): Once upon a time there were three beautiful girls: a Miss Ward, a Miss Maria Ward, and a Miss Frances Ward. These ladies were lovely, but unfortunately:
The second sister married first, and had the extreme luck to catch the eye of a Baronet, Sir Thomas Bertram, of Mansfield Park. The two married and she became Lady Maria Bertram.
Lady Bertram exalted in her success, a lady! Such an elevated status was a beautiful thing to behold!
Her family were in sweet felicitations over the event as well, especially her older and younger sister who hoped that such a marriage would also give them their own happily ever after. Unfortunately, this is not that type of story.
The other two of these sisters were so unlucky that nothing ever succeeded with them, the eldest, Miss Ward, after six years was finally able to win a husband, a Reverend Norris. He was friend of her brother-in-law, Sir Thomas Bertram, and having no fortune, Sir Thomas kindly bestowed the living and parsonage of Mansfield-so that this sister was cared for all her life.
The youngest sister, no less pretty, had the worse luck of all. She married a “lieutenant of marines, without education, fortune, or connexions[sic],” and became Mrs. Price.
Sir Thomas would have easily done all he could to have helped his brother-in-law (as pride made him wish all in connection to him were of an upstanding position), although his profession was something that he had no easy hand involved in.
But alas, before any such things could have been put into motion, a terrible and destructive row was set up betwixt the sisters. The eldest sister had a thorny heart and her temper was not easily assuaged. She immediately sent forth the most powerful soldier in her arsenal-an angry letter. Lady Bertram thought no longer of her sister-out of sight out of mind-except that Mrs. Price was spurned on by the missile and fired off one of her own.
And as it goes, the sisters were locked in bitterness and the bonds broken betwixt them.
Eleven years passed by and the Prices went further and further into poverty. The Prices had fallen into such poverty that Mrs. Price was faced with the decision of whether to swallow her pride or continue the separation.
Mrs. Price had lived a disheartening and dark life. “A large and still increasing family, an[sic] husband disabled for active service, but not the less equal to company and good liquor, and a very small income to supply their wants…” With every passing day she grew more unsure what to do next, how to survive.
She became pregnant with her ninth child, and with this child was born a renewed hope, and she sent a missive to Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram, full of “contrition and despondence, such a superfluity of children, and such a want of almost everything else, as could not but dispose them all to a reconciliation.”
Mrs. Price hoped and prayed they would take one of her sons, any of them and raise them in a wonderful fashion. But instead the choose the eldest girl?
The eldest girl, Fanny, was a lovely and sweet-natured girl. Kind, humble, quiet. Mrs. Price was puzzled at first as why they choose her, but eagerly sent the child on her way.
The new child was quiet, scared, unsure. She would often tuck herself away in the chimney corner to sit quietly.
Her two eldest cousins, Tom and Edmund, were seventeen and sixteen. Tom, the eldest, ignored her, while Edmund looked upon her kindly as any sixteen year-old would look upon a ten year old. The two younger, female cousins were a different story. Maria, thirteen, and Julia, twelve, did everything that they could to make her unhappy. The poor girl, Fanny, bore everything patiently and dared not complain to any.
It is time for our annual animated film pick! This year I am going with:
Most Romantic Moment #9
Sleeping Beauty (1959)
I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE Sleeping Beauty. It was my favorite Disney film and she was my favorite princess.
I could go on, but let’s proceed with the review.
After the King and Queen have longed for a child for so long, they are finally able to conceive. All are happy except, an evil fairy Maleficent. She curses the child to die on her 16th birthday after touching the spindle of a spinning wheel.
The fairies are able to save her by having her not die, but fall asleep. They then decide to take her away and hide her, in the hopes of outwitting Maleficent’s curse. There they live in a tiny cottage and try to forgo magic to act “normal”.
Maleficent hasn’t been able to find her and as the end of Aurora’s birthday draws closer she is more determined than ever. Prince Phillip, Aurora’s childhood betrothed, is out riding on horseback when he hears Aurora’s voice and follows it. The two meet, and Phillip falls in love with Aurora, who is actually the only Disney Princess to not fall in love at first sight but is uncertain though willing to meet up again.
However, the fairies reveal she is the princess and spirit her away to the castle before she can talk to Phillip. Through this Maleficent has finally tracked her down and sets upon her evil trap. She has Aurora fall into her 100-year-old sleep and captures Prince Phillip so he can’t wake her up.
Will the fairies be able to save her? Or is she stuck in endless sleep?
Most Romantic Moment: I Will Go Through Anything For You
So originally I was thinking about posting the Once Upon a Dream song but I was looking at a some pics I used from a previous post and realized, out of all the Disney princes I think Phillip goes through the most for his princess. I mean he wants to marry her, and if he can’t because he is a prince he has already decided that he would gladly give up the throne.
When the fairies come in and let him out of the prison he is kind of weirded out like what’s going on, but all he hears is that the girl he loves is in trouble and he springs into action. Fighting demon creatures:
Having to push through a field of thorns:
And even fighting an evil fairy turned dragon by the powers of hell:
I mean at any time he could have turned back or gone home saying this relationship is too hard. They are asking too much of me. (Lord knows that guys in this modern time who go through a lot less say stuff like that.) But he doesn’t give up. He doesn’t stop trying. He does everything he can to save her.
Day 25) Y is for Young: Choose a junior or Young adult book
My Fair Godmother (My Fair Godmother #1) by Janette Rallison
I first came upon Janette Rallison when I stumbled upon her book, All’s Fair in Love, War, and High School (Pullman High #2). I thought the story was hilarious, fun, the characters were fun; i.e. I just LOVED it!
I then went on to stalk her work and reading anything published that I could get my hands on: Just One Wish; My Double Life; It’s a Mall World After All; My Unfair Godmother; How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend; Fame, Glory, and Other Things On My To-Do List; Revenge of the Cheerleaders; Playing the Field; and Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Free Throws.
But out of all of these, my favorite was and still is My Fair Godmother.
Now you all know I like fairy tales,
I mean I have already reviewed I think four retellings. And this book is the ultimate: you get a combo of two fairy tales, magical creatures, princes, funny situations, and just all around a fantastic book.
Yes, even though I’m heading into adulthood more than “young adult”; I still read this book like every three months. I just can’t get enough.
Chrysanthemum “Chrissy” Everstar wants to attend Godmother University and go from “fair” to full. For extra credit she was sent to the Delano family in Herndon, Virginia the 21st century. There she is to figure out which Delano sister is in need of her services and assist them.
She starts with no-nonsense, older sister Jane. Jane is logical, intelligent, and doesn’t care about clothes, looks, or boys.
She is interested in one boy, Hunter, and he approaches her one day, but it turns out that he is dating her younger sister, Savannah.
Jane is upset but then begins to believe that Hunter does like her and rationalize that everything he does means he really loves her.
But when that moment is shattered she begins an attack on him for hurting him. She gets a makeover, flirts, and does all she can to get other boy’s attentions.
She succeeds in getting his attention and the two date, even though he hasn’t broken up with Savannah.
I mean seriously, you are her sister!!! You should know better.
Anyways, after that heartbreak, Chrissy turned her attentions towards Savannah using her magic to give both sister a happily ever after full of handsome princes, beautiful gowns, and a renewed bond.
Yes, in the words of my algerbra II math teacher: “You are not passing this class unless you show you work. Even of the answer is correct I need to see how you came to the answer or you will fail.”
Professor Goldengill, admissions, is not taking that for the full answer. Before they let Chrissy in, they want the whole story, not part of it. They ask the leprechaun who was assigned to assist her, Clover T. Bloomsbottle, but he isn’t helpful in his information either. Only one thing left to do, call in the memory elves.
They go in and get the real story.
After Savannah Delano blew her money on the perfect prom dress and spent all that time bringing out Jane’s beauty; her boyfriend dumps her.
And not just dump her, but dump her for her older sister!
Understandably, Savannah is upset and doesn’t make the best decisions. She starts with the normal post-boyfriend phases. Eating sugar:
Getting back and her sister by hiding her stuff
And by buying a bikini (something her parents have forbidden her to wear) to wear to the big pool party. She hopes to capture the interest of someone else and maybe get Hunter back in the process.
To rub the salt in the wound, Hunter and Jane are trying to fix her up with Hunter’s friend Tristan.
Tristan is nice, but having your ex who dumped you for your sister and then try to fix you up is just too painful and embarrassing.
At the pool party, Savannah removes her contacts for fear of losing them or ruining them with chlorine getting in her eyes. She goes swimming and has the most mortifying night; losing her top, going in the men’s room on accident, etc. After that she is done with life and everything.
Enter Chrissy, Savannah’s fair godmother, here to grant her three wishes. Chrissy a gum chewing, bubble headed, heel wearing godmother. Not your usual grade.
Savannah is given a contract to sign and told that until her wishes are fulfilled she will be cursed with having to tell the truth or else snakes and toads and such will come sliding out of her mouth.
Savannah agrees and tries to figure out what to wish for, this popping out of her mouth:
“I just wish that somehow my life could be like a fairy tale. You know, with a handsome prince waiting for me at the ball, and that somehow when I meet him, everything will work out happily ever after.”
Wish #1: Cinderella
Savannah finds herself sent back to a medieval time and as Cinderella. There she has to serve two evil stepsisters and a stepmother.
Forced to do backbreaking labor for months that she has no skills or knowledge of doing before. Everyday she calls for Chrissy, but gets no answer.
Then Prince Edmond, Prince Hugh, and their sister stop by the house when passing through and in need of lodging for the night. There Savannah sees the handsome prince destined for her, is actually nothing but a big jerk.
She continues to call and call with Chrissy finally answering. Chrissy has sent Savannah long before the ball to learn her lesson. Savannah, however, doesn’t want this and makes a new wish.
“I just…um…I want to feel beautiful and loved, and although I like the idea of having a prince, he has to be more than just handsome and rich. He has to be nice and kind…”
Wish #2: Snow White
Savannah now finds herself as Snow White living with seven dwarves. Apparently Snow White isn’t the brightest bulb of the bunch as the dwarves treat her like an imbecile.
And Savannah can’t do anything to show she is intelligent as she doesn’t know their names, doesn’t know how to make bread, doesn’t know how to make soup, and doesn’t know the people in the town.
After a truly embarrassing scene where she tries to outwit the tale of her poisoning to only confusing a harmless widow with the witch’s change of appearance:
She then tries to convince the group she is from another time as Chrissy won’t return her calling her and she doesn’t know what else to do. They don’t believe her and plan to do some bloodletting to remove the crazy.
Chrissy finally comes and Savannah makes her third wish.
“I don’t want to be in some medieval fairy tale. I want to live back home with my family. When I said I wanted a prince, I didn’t mean somebody from history or the pages of a storybook. I meant that I wanted that type of guy, but I wanted him from my own day and age. I want a boyfriend who is nice, kind-and handsome too, but that’s not the most important thing. As I’ve thought about Jane and Hunter during my time here, I realized that the problem was that he never liked me, he just liked what I looked like. He always wanted someone who was more like Jane and when they met, well, it was just bound to turn out that way. So I want someone who is loyal and has integrity-but most important I want a guy who likes my personality…And okay, I admit that in the past I haven’t applied myself in school like I should have, but I’m turning over a new leaf, so I want a guy who is smart too. And I want this guy to go to prom with me.”
Savannah is thrilled to be home again, to her it has been months (one week there equals one hour in our time) but the family thinks she has just been in her room for hours; Chrissy’s magic not perfect as it should be as if no time has passed like in Narnia. And after being forced to eat medieval food, she pigs out and enjoys modern living.
But then Savannah goes to school and hears Tristan is missing.
She starts to suspect what might have happened, with Chrissy confirming it. Chrissy has sent him back to the medieval time that Savannah was in. He has to become a prince or else he can’t come home again. Savannah tries to wish him out, but can’t as she has used up all her wishes already.
She tries to get help from Clover, setting up a leprechaun trap, but he will only help is she promises to send him and his gold back to Ireland.
Ugh! My life!
She agrees, and Clover points out that in the contract she can oversee her wishes. Therefore Chrissy can send her back to that time so she can aid Tristan. Savannah returns her prom dress and uses the money to buy a costume dress to wear, along with paying the postage to send Clover back. But before leaving she uses all her knowledge of the times to pack items that she can use to barter and will help them: aspirin, spices, costume jewelry of glass, silverware, etc.
She also makes Jane promise to mail the package for her as she has no time to waste.Eventually Chrissy answers her and Savannah finds herself back in time.
Wish #3: Turn Tristan into a Prince
When Tristan meets her he is less than happy, having spent about five months in medieval times due to her wish. Savannah explains she didn’t mean it, and she had just gotten cheated on and dumped for her older sister. This softens Tristan.
She shows Tristan the items she brought and he explains what must be done in order for him to become a prince. He needs to kill a cyclops, a dragon, and defeat a mysterious black knight.
The next day he goes to get fitted for armor, while Savannah runs into a wizard. There she trades some items to get a potion switching elixir. If she kisses anyone or is kissed (or licked by an enchanted animal) she will find herself trading enchantments with that person (or animal). This becomes increasingly hard as she finds herself falling for Tristan, but unable to share about her curse or show her feelings as she can’t get the enchantment to become a prince. She’ll never be able to go home!
Savannah calls for the black knight, and ends up getting him to kiss her, swapping his invincibility for her only being able to tell the truth. She then tries to help Tristan fight the cyclops, making a mess and having to be rescued.
Not in this case.
However things get even more complicated when Jane and Hunter arrive (having opened the box and striking a deal with Clover), the Princess wants to get rid of Savannah, both Princes appear to be fighting over her, and it turns out that she is still living out her Cinderella and Snow White wishes. This means not only does she have to go to the ball, where Edmond will fall for her, but Snow White’s stepmom is still trying to kill her.
Will Savannah be able to save Tristan and get back home? Or will she be doomed to spend the rest of her days in Medieval Times?
I love this book so much and think it is the penultimate for any fairy tale fan. I also just love Tristan, he is beyond the perfect guy.
If only he were real:
So yes, go to your local library or bookstore and pick up your copy today!
Day 24) X is for X: Choose a book whose author has an X in their name
I couldn’t think of anything, of any name that had an X in it. I decided that I would just shelve it for now and come back to it later.
But then the days passed and we grew closer and closer to the 24th and I had no idea what to pick.
But then my friend returned my book Beastly,by AleX Flinn, that I had let her borrow. I looked at it and I knew!
This was the book I was going to use for my X.
Beastly (Kendra Chronicles #1) by Alex Flinn
So I don’t know exactly how I stumbled onto this book. But I read it, loved it, and then went on to read everything else Flinn wrote.
Flinn is a master teller at taking fairy tales and rewriting them in modern times with youth audiences and characters.
Now I read this years ago, a few years after it was published and just absolutely loved it. Then I heard the movie was coming out based on it, and tracked that film; so excited to see it on the screen and dragging two of my friends with me. But then I saw it:
It was horrible. I did not like it one bit. They just cut the heart and soul of the book leaving a shadow of what it was. The book was much better.
Now when I first read the book I had only previously seen Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and read the tale it was based on. Since then, I have seen a few other things and I have noticed that Flinn pulls from both La Belle et la Bête
And the Beauty and the Beast TV show from the ’80s.
In fact one of the characters is called Lindy in the book and Linda Hamilton played “Belle” in the TV show. Coincidence? I think not. Plus the way he looks, the way he protect Lindy, havoc on the subway, etc.
Well that’s enough of that, let’s check out the book.
No, not that Mr. Anderson. Anderson as in Hans Christian Andersen.
So then we flashback to how our Beast, became a beast.
Part 1: A Prince and a Witch
Kyle Kingsbury is a freshman at a private school, Tuttle, and the son of the very wealthy news anchor, Rob Kingsbury. Kyle is a perfect dreamboat, utter perfection in height, looks, etc.
But while the outside is a treat, how he acts is the exact opposite.
All he cares about is his looks and popularity, hurting and being cruel to others around him. This year they are getting ready for homecoming and have their election for freshman Prince, of which Kyle is nominated. As they start voting, one person speaks out.
Kendra Hilferty is not what most would call beautiful. She has a strange green hair, is rather plain, and dresses in black “gothish” type clothing. She is upset about how this contest is all about looks instead of who they are, telling Kyle he is ugly where it really counts.
Kyle is angry over what Kendra said so he decides to play a trick on her. He invites her to the Homecoming dance, all the while planning on going with his real girlfriend, Sloane, and roasting Kendra.
She’ll get what’s coming to her.
When Sloane hears that Kyle will be going with Kendra, she is livid, but Kyle calms her down when he tells her about his “joke”. Kyle doesn’t really like Sloane, she’s really annoying and bratty, but she is the hottest girl and after tonight is going to let him come to her house while her parents are out…well as long as he brings an orchid.
Kyle goes home and tries to talk to his dad, but he doesn’t care. Kyle doesn’t have a mom as she left years ago and has never tried to contact him. His dad is super shallow and only cares about himself and his needs, never thinking of his child or the example he is setting.
That night Kyle is ready to go to the ball, dance I mean (I’m reading too many fairy tales), when it turns out his maid Madga didn’t buy the orchid but bought a single, white rose. Sloane is furious about there being no orchid and refuses to have the rose. However, there is a scholarship student taking the tickets who exclaims over its beauty. Kyle gives it to her, the only genuine, nice thing he has ever done.
When Kendra arrives and discovers what he has done she tells him he will pay for what he has done and will be as ugly on the outside as he truly is on the inside.
She’ll get what’s coming to her.
Kyle is upset, and scared, but continues to do what is expected as Prince of Homecoming. But at twelve o’clock that night Kendra appears to him and reveals she is a witch, and Kyle is turned into a beast.
Part 2: The Beast
When Kyle’s father discovers the transformation, he carts him all over the United States to see what they can do. But nothing can change him.
He cuts his hair, it grows back. He slices his skin, it instantly heals. Kendra gives him a magic mirror that allows him to see anyone he wants, and she uses it to “call” him throughout the book. Nothing can destroy him, and nothing can change him back except if he could find someone to love him in this bestial form. And he has two years, because of his gift of the rose, to find it or be stuck as a beast forever!
And this is what I don’t like about the film. They just give him a bunch of tattoos, but that isn’t as hard to love as something that doesn’t even look human. Plus they cut out how long he has to be a beast, removing his first year of angst, anxiety, and depression and being pushed apart from the rest of the world.
Part 3: The Castle
Yes, Kyle’s father can’t stand the sight of him and ships him off to an old brownstone in Brooklyn which has old windows that can’t open and no one can come in and see him. He sends Magda to take care of him and things to amuse him.
Kyle decides that he is no longer Kyle. After careful consideration, he chooses Adrian as it speaks of his new nature. He tries to find love online, but Kendra warns him that won’t work.
After deciding he will spend the rest of his life alone, he blackmails his father into providing him a tutor. The father complies, but selects a blind tutor, that way no one will hear of what his son is.
Will, the tutor, comes into Adrian’s life and he and Magda become his only friend, besides those who also have been transformed that he IMs. This is really interesting as they follow what occurs in those stories too.
Adrian discovers that Will used to have sight, but lost it as he aged. Magda had a family, but they weren’t allowed into the country so she is alone now. Adrian calls Kendra and works a deal that if he finds his love to break the spell, Kendra will grant the wishes of the others.
Adrian begins to read and study as he has nothing else in his life.
Something else he does with his time is watch people from his former life and school. One day he looks up the girl he gave the rose to, Lindy. Lindy is from a poor neighborhood and is a scholarship student. Her father is a drug addict and pusher, and she tries as hard as she can to take care of him. She spends as much time as she can reading, the library being her refuge.
Part 4: The Intruder in the Garden
One night everything changes. Adrian hears a crash and discovers that someone is trying to break into the house.
He goes to protect it and threatens the man with police. The man, in fear for his life, offers to trade his daughter for his life. He shows Adrian a picture and it is Lindy.
Adrian is horrified that he would do such a thing, but accepts as he wants to protect her and has hope that maybe she is the one to break the spell.
Lindy moves in, and things do not go according to Adrian’s plan. Lindy is furious and wants to leave. Will at first feels the same way, but after meeting her father agrees with Adrian’s solution.
After giving him a lot of time, Lindy starts to come around as she is just as lonely. At first she is weirded out by Adrian’s appearance, but as their friendship grows she begins to enjoy being around him.
Part 5: Time Lapses, Autumn and Winter
Adrian begins to care more about Lindy’s feelings than his own desires to have the curse broken and gets his dad to rent them a place in the country where they are freer to roam and hangout. He also decides to release Lindy from her commitment to stay with him, and she decides to remain there.
However, one night Lindy says how she is worried about her father and Adrian shows her the mirror. When she looks into it, she sees her father, sick and shaking. She leaves to go take care of him and promises to return.
Months pass and no Lindy.
Adrian starts to become depressed and decides that he will be a beast forever.
They move back to the brownstone and still no Lindy.
Adrian watches her in the mirror but she never comes to him. All have given up hope except Magda, who keeps encouraging Adrian. It comes down to the final day and still no Lindy.
Then at night Adrian hears Lindy scream and looks her up in the mirror. She is being held up for money owed by her dad. Adrian takes off in the subway, not caring who sees him, but going to her aid.
When he arrives, the other pusher is so freaked at his appearance he shoots Adrian, who continues to run at him tossing the gun aside and saving Lindy. As Adrian starts bleeding, Lindy says the words he has always desperately wanted to hear:
Instantly, he is transformed into Kyle again.
Part 6: Happily Ever After
The police come and after they deal with that mess they return to the brownstone. When they get there it is revealed that Magda is really Kendra.
She too had to serve a sentence and Kyle’s breaking of his spell has allowed her to return home to her family. Will’s eyes are healed and three pick up their lives; Will teaching at Tuttle and Lindy and Kyle attending. They continue to live at the brownstone, a happy family, with Kyle being a better person.
In the end we hear from the chat group how each has completed their own journey, some with happy endings and others with ones that were not quite what they expected.
Let me just start with this, George you will be missed.
So as this book is about true and false love, I decided to go with the song that has been on the radio nonstop, Last Christmas by Wham!
I love Wham! I’ve been obsessed with them for a looong time. This isn’t my favorite by them, for the longest time I didn’t even like this song; but after hearing it on the radio constantly I grew to really love it.
It was written by the late, great George Michael and tells the tale of someone giving their heart to someone, only to have it broken as they were unfaithful.
But luckily they find someone to give their heart to that will protect it.
It has been extremely popular and been constantly redone by other artists. Wham! is my favorite, not just because I love the band, but because it is nice to hear the broken heart from a guy’s point of view instead of always a woman.
Day 8) H is for Happily Ever After: Choose a novel that is a retelling of a Fairy Tale
So you all know how I feel about fairy tales:
And besides fairy tales, I like to read retellings of them. So out of all the ones I read and have ever read I had to think, which is the best one. So I thought and thought and thought…
And then it came to me…
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
When I was younger I loved going to the library (still do).
I used to go and look through the stacks for the next books I wanted to check out. I would go down the rows and pick whatever stood out to me, along with the book I would read all the time, ThePhantom of the Opera. I was obsessed with The Phantom of the Opera and would check it out, return it, then check it out again in an endless cycle.
My mom didn’t like my obsession with The Phantom of the Opera as she is not a horror fan.
So she also roamed the stacks and tried to find something, anything else, for me to read that wasn’t dark. I don’t know where or how she found it, but after I picked out as many books as I could take:
I ran into her. She wanted me to leave The Phantom of the Opera behind as I had just read it, and wanted me to try out this book, Ella Enchanted. She had read it while waiting for me and thought I would like it. I didn’t want it as I wanted what I had picked out.
We argued for a while and then reached a compromise, I would check out The Phantom of the Opera but had to check out and read Ella Enchanted. I agreed, but secretly thought I wouldn’t like it, even if it was based on a fairy tale; and I loved fairy tales (still do).
But then I read it!
And I had this reaction…
I thought it was absolutely amazing! I loved it so much I went on to read her other books: The Princesses of Bamarre, The Fairy’s Mistake, Cinderellis and the Glass Hill, The Princess Test, Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep, For Biddle’s Sake, The Fairy’s Return, and Fairest. Levine is amazing in how she rewrites fairy tales and breathes new life into them.
This story is a retelling of Cinderella but not one of those average ones that film companies throw out year after year; this one has curses, ogres, elves, quests, fairies, obstacles, etc. It is amazing!
And then they made the film of it…
They ruined it! All the amazing things and hard work, and all the challenges she has to work through tossed out for a silly comedy?!!
The book had heartbreak, real emotion, pain, suffering, while having comedy, and fun; and the film was a stupid facsimile.
I mean they only had two things in common: Ella’s curse and the name of all the characters. Everything else was completely wrong. I was so mad I started yelling in the movie theater. That film is crap and deserves to be destroyed.
But this book is AMAZING! And I think everyone should read it!
If you recall from the original tale of Sleeping Beauty, or the film, fairies were invited to births and would bestow gifts on the new babies.
Ella is visited by the fairy Lucinda and given the “gift” of obedience. Lucinda called it a gift, but it is really a curse as Ella must always find herself at the will of others, forced to do whatever she is told.
Her mother and their cook, Mandy, tried to intercede for her but nothing could change Lucinda’s mind. Ella was stuck.
Ella’s mother was a lady who married Sir Peter, a merchant. At first, to win her heart, he came off as kind but he really only cares about money and having his way. Luckily, at Ella’s birth he was not there but off trading, or else he would have seized upon the gift and used it to have his way always.
When Ella was a young girl she told her friend about the curse when they were playing games. Her friend immediately seized upon it and commanded all kinds of things, only stopping when punched in the nose.
After that, Ella was commanded to never tell anyone about it, but that command didn’t matter. She knew not to trust anyone so easily again.
How the curse works is that if Ella is given any command she must follow it. Failure to comply makes her very ill, in pain, nauseous, and feeling as if she will shatter into pieces. As soon as she begins following the orders, she is okay again.
The problem with the curse is not only that she must follow any order given, such as kill yourself, is that the curse does not recognize sarcasm or jokes, and she must follow every letter of the command. Very dangerous indeed.
But Ella is no one’s willing puppet.
Instead of making me docile, Lucinda’s curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way unnaturally.”
When given commands, even harmless ones that were just for her own good, Ella would do her best to fight back. Asked to bring something, she would only take part of it. Asked to do something, would only do half or find some loophole to work around it. Did all she could to fight back against it.
When Ella was fifteen, she and her mother became extremely sick. Mandy gave the two unicorn soup, but instead of drinking it with the unicorn hairs in it, Ella’s mother removed them. Because of this Ella became well, but her mother died.
The funeral comes and Ella is heartbroken. She makes a mess of herself and is told to go off until she can be calm. After crying her soul out, she notices that one person remains. The Prince.
Prince Charmont introduces himself as Char and tells Ella how he enjoyed meeting her mother in the past. He tells her the stories his cook has heard from Mandy about Ella, and walks her back to her father.
Back at the house Ella meets Dame Olga and her two daughters; Hattie and Olive. Dame Olga is after her Sir Peter as he is extremely wealthy and she wants to increase her wealth and power. Hattie and Olive are annoying, boring, and just want to eat and talk about money.
Later that night, an upset Ella questions Mandy about her fairy godmother. Her mother was going to tell her when she was older, and Ella wants to see her to get her help. Mandy reveals she is the fairy godmother. She only does small magic, and her soup should have cured her mother but she removed the unicorn hair. After that, there was nothing else she could do. She can’t take her curse away either, but one day Ella will be able to break it herself.
Ella’s family line are the friends of the fairies. They all have a drop of fairy blood in them, which doesn’t give them anything different except for unusually small feet.
Sir Peter is not the fatherly type, as anything that doesn’t have a monetary ching doesn’t interest him. He wants to send Ella away somewhere, but she wants to stay. But nothing she can say will stop him.
Mandy has nothing she can do and promises that Ella will have fun meeting different school girls and making new friends. She gives her a fairy tale book that is magic! And a Gnomish necklace that belonged to Ella’s mother.
Before Ella leaves, she heads off to the zoo to visit all her favorite exotic animals: the dragons, birds, centaurs, etc. She runs into Char and the two spend a fun afternoon together. As they walk further toward the ogres, they come upon a baby gnome.
Ella tries to help the gnome, using the gnomish she imitates from the exotic birds. Char looks around for his parents, but the real danger lies in the ogres. Just by looking at you they know your secrets. As Ella holds the baby, the ogre commands her to come to him and give him the child.
Luckily Char commands her to stop and they find the gnome parents. Gnomes can see into the future, and one gives Ella a glimpse:
Gnomes do not see detail. What you wear tomorrow, what you will say, are mysteries. I see outlines only…Danger, a quest, three figures. They are close to you, but they are not your friends…Beware of them.”
They next day she is off to finishing school, going with Hattie and Olive. After being together for a few minuets, Hattie discovers that Ella must follow every order given. She doesn’t know why, but that doesn’t stop her from lording over Ella.
Hattie takes everything from Ella; her money, jewelry, and food. And when they get to school it gets no better. No matter how hard Ella tries, Hattie always has the power.
The teachers make it no better as they are as bad as Miss Michin in A Little Princess. Ella does all she can to fight back their commands, constantly trying to keep herself from becoming a puppet.
Ella has only two bright spots in her day. One is the magic fairy book that not only presents a new tale every time you open it, but also gives letters from her friends and those she cares about. One night she reads a letter from Mandy that Char caught her a centaur and is training it for her. He is extremely upset that she was sent away as he thought Ella was perfect the way she was.
The other thing that goes better for her is that she befriends an Ayorthaian girl, Areida. None of the other girls like her because she is poor, but she and Ella become the best of friends. One night, Hattie decides she doesn’t like this glimpse of happiness. She commands Ella to stop being her friend.
Ella looks in her book as she contemplates what to do. In it is a note from Dame Olga to her daughters, one from Char about his ogre hunting, and then a letter from her father that he will be visiting a giant’s wedding in the hopes of seeing a fairy, and getting a fairy gift to trade. Ella sees this as the perfect opportunity and decides that she will run away from school and go to the wedding to try and get Lucinda to get rid of her curse. Before she goes she steals Hattie’s wig.
Ella heads out to the giants, trading her wig with a baker for bread. She is told that the giants aren’t too far off, but as she travels the journey is longer and longer. She then comes upon elves with spears.
She tells them who she is, Sir Peter’s daughter, and they invite her to dinner. She shares her book with them and afterwards they show her their elfin products. Elfin made objects look as if they are alive, and are extremely valuable. They end up giving Ella one, as they like to give their gifts to those who love them.
The net day she sets off with an Elfin pony and is told it is only four days to the giants. Unfortunately, her luck turns.
Ella is captured by Ogres. They have eaten her pony and want to eat her next, but luckily she vomits, making her too “sour” to eat. She hopes to leave, maybe if they bind her she can go, but the ogres know her story. They just command her and she is stuck.
But Ella has one other option. She has been studying languages at school and learned how to speak ogreese. She tricks them into falling asleep, a small win but what to do next?
As she contemplates, she sees a vision of knights coming. But they aren’t a vision, they are real! It is Char. They try and capture the ogres, but are only able to when Ella charms them again and puts them back to sleep.
After a wonderful reunion, Char sends her on her way with one of her knights. He promises that he won’t be gone long and hopes to see her again soon.
They get there just in time for the wedding. The knight heads back to the ogres, and Ella sits watching for the fairies. They arrive, but before Ella can talk to Lucinda, she grants a horrible gift to the Giants and disappears.
She is upset, but at least there is food.
As she is eating she goes to talk to the other two normal fairies, but then Lucinda reappears. Ella tries to talk to her about the fairy gift, but Lucinda just commands her to to be happy, and Ella runs off looking for Sir Peter to get more orders.
Sir Peter has sold land that didn’t belong to him and will have to pay for this with all his money and then some. He tries to marry Ella off to Edmond, Earl of Warwick. To make sure things flow right, he feeds her special mushrooms to make her extra attentive.
What a jerk
It works as she fawns over him and he is interested in her hand in marriage.
The next day, Ella has a horrible hangover and feels stupid about what happened. But luckily, the Earl has lost a lot of his lands and is too poor for Sir Peter; no marriage. But what’s worse, Sir Peter is to marry Dame Olga.
Hattie and Olive will be her step sisters.
The wedding happens in the old castle and Ella tries to hide from her family and the fairy Lucinda. Luckily it is a masquerade and she has a mask to hide her identity. She sits through the ceremony and takes off as soon as she can.
She runs upstairs into a room, when she is come upon by Prince Char.
They skip the ball and search the castle for secret passageways and rooms, having a reunion. They stop at a garden shed where they open a bench and find glass slippers. Char puts them on her.
Then Char asks her to dance.
Afterwards, they decide to slide down the bannister. The second time the two run right into Ella’s confused parents.
Afterwards, things go bad. Dame Olga finds out that Sir Peter is poor. She decides that Ella will be a servant in their house as soon as Sir Peter leaves.
Hattie is upset that the prince likes Ella and punishes her.
Char is going away to the neighboring country and wiill be gone for a while. He stops to see Ella before he goes, but Hattie imprisons her in her room.
After that Ella lives out every day a servant, doing the worst and most horrible tasks. She writes to Char, and the two develop a beautiful relationship. Char is a dream come true, although he does have his faults. When his opinion is lost it is lost forever.
But we all have our faults, if the person was a perfect person with nothing wrong with him, then he’d be as bland as a saltine.
As they write Ella falls in love with Char, and her dream comes true when Char asks her to marry him.
Ella wants to say yes, but she can’t because of the curse. It would be too dangerous, so she writes as Hattie and refuses the prince; her heart breaking at every moment.
There’s real love there. She cares more about Char’s happiness rather than her own and would never risk his life.
She tells Mandy, and Mandy decides that Lucinda really needs to be stopped. She calls her in and they make an agreement: Lucinda will be a squirrel for three months and then an obedient child for another three months.
She’ll get what’s coming to her.
Ella holds on to the hope that in six months Lucinda will take the curse away and she can marry Char.
The night before Lucinda is to com,e Hattie tells Ella that the Prince is coming back and is holding a masked ball. The ball will last for three nights and the Prince is rumored to pick his wife there.
Ella is ecstatic. She has hope again to win Char back! Lucinda comes that night and says that she regrets everything and would love to take everything back. But Lucinda won’t, as she is done with “big” magic.
Ella is heartbroken, but she is planning to go to the balls. She won’t talk to him, she will just sit and watch.
They take the dresses saved from her mother, refashion them, and all is ready except is rains, a pouring rain.
Saddened at this, she wishes that Mandy would do magic, but Mandy refuses. She calls on Lucinda who gives her a pumpkin carriage, mice turned into footmen ands she is off to the ball.
She sees Char and stays as far away as she can. But she ends up being unable to hold out and talks to him. She tells him she is Lela and they spend a lot of time together, so much that they fall all over again for each other.
But Hattie, not to be undone, removes the mask she wears
And it is Ella.
She hurries home as fast as she can, and they try to leave, but the Prince and entourage arrive. Char asks Ella to marry him.
Dame Olga says yes, as that will give her power and money; Olive says yes as that will give her money; Hattie says no as she wants him for herself. Char tells her to say yes. Ella wars within herself, what should she do!
She knows that saying yes would be death of them, she practically splits apart in two; but then she refuses! She refuses!
After she let’s it all out, after she has finally broken the curse: she tells Char yes.
They get married and live happily ever after; with Ella finally being able to make choices: good and bad, she finally is in charge of her own life.