Title: Cinder and Ella
Author: Melissa Lemon
Published: November 2011
By: Bonneville Books
Opening line: If you drink water and breath air, then you have heard the story of Cinderella. And, if you drink water and breath air, you have heard it...wrong.
Closing line: And there, out of he stump of the tree that had once been cut down by her eager knight, Ella would find ... a willow sprout.
After their father’s disappearance, and their mother's heart is broken Cinder is forced to look after her family. She leaves home for a servant job at the castle to help bring money into the family home. While she is away her sister Ella runs away from home because her own mother doesn't even recognise her anymore and she can't cope with the demands of her other two sisters. But soon enough there is a mission to find Ella to return her to the kingdom and to the Prince who is dark and dangerous.
I thought, like many others, this book would be a retelling of the classic Cinderella, but other than the name there is not much else in common with the original fairytale. The story became an original tale within itself. There was no fairy godmother or glass slipper or pumpkins, instead we have knights, an evil dark Prince and soul trees. I found the first half of the book a little slow and the other two sisters, Katrina, Beatrice really annoyed me however, Beatrice did grow on me in the end. There wasn't much character development as the story really became about Ella and her fight to save herself and the kingdom.
I did like the relationship between Ella and her knight, Tanner, and the scene where he stays awake for hours clearing her soul tree of the prince's weeds really does pull at the heart strings. I love how they grow as characters but I wish others would have been given the same chance.
I just wish the first half of the book had been more like the first half and I would have loved for the soul trees to be part of the story more and explored further. I would recommend this book if you are looking for something completely different, just be prepared for a slow start.