Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Retro Review - Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix

TITLE: Just Ella
AUTHOR/EDITOR: Margaret Peterson Haddix
INFO: Hardback, Fiction, 185 pages
PUBLISHED: Simon & Schuster, 1999
ISBN#: 978-0-689-821868-7
HOW'D I GET IT: Purchased it

FROM THE COVER/PUBLISHER:  Like every commoner in the land, Ella dreams of going to the ball and marrying Prince Charming.  But after she is chosen to marry the prince, life with the royal family is not the "happily ever after" that Ella imagined.  Pitiless and cold, the royals try to mold her into their version of a princess.  Ella's life becomes a meaningless schedule of protocol, which she fears she will never grasp.  And Prince Charming's beautiful face hides a vacant soul.

Even as her life turns to misery, the stories persist that Ella's fairy godmother sent her to the ball:  How else could the poor girl wear a beautiful gown, arrive in a coach, and dance in those glass slippers?  But there is no fairy godmother to help Ella escape the deadening life of the castle.  Can she do it on her own?

Margaret Peterson Haddix's reconstruction of the Cinderella legend without the magic - how a commoner could have married the prince - is a story as richly fascinating as the classic tale.

MY TAKE:  I have always enjoyed the Cinderella tales - never wanted to be her, but liked the story.  This is an interesting take on the classic as Ella isn't the normal simpering princess type.  This Ella was a strong female who wasn't afraid of hard work and wasn't afraid to make use of her brain.

There were several interesting characters introduced such as Mary, a young servant (reminds me of the mice in the original) and her instructor's son, Jed.  I don't want to give the storyline away, but this version of happily-ever-after is much more satisfying to me because Ella gets her head straight and stands up for herself.  It's a good, quick read with a much better message for young girls - you don't have to wait for a Prince to save you - do it yourself!


WHERE TO BUY IT:   Just Ella



  1. sounds nice, I'd sure like to read a cinderella story.

  2. It's a cute story. Thanks for stopping in!


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