The Stepsister's Tale
by Tracy Barrett
Ever since her father gambled away the family fortune and then ran off to die drunk and alone, Jane and her sister, Maude, have trying everything they can just to survive. Their house is literally crumbling around them and their mother's mind is crumbling with it. She insists that they continue to behave like ladies even though they are alone with no servants, no money, and no future.
When Mamma returns from a long journey with a new husband and a new stepdaughter, Jane has only slight hopes that things may get better. When the new man in her mother's life dies suddenly, and it's discovered that he was deeply in debt, the sisters must not only find a way to survive the winter, they must also survive their spoiled new sibling.
With the help of a mysterious family in the woods, Jane may just get her family through the winter.
With the attention of the Prince of the Realm, Jane may just get rid of her spoiled problem.
Final thoughts: Nah. Not worth it. Barrett doesn't seem to have a grasp on the older teen mind, so what's written feels childish and petty. Is Jane 17 or 12? It's impossible to tell, especially when her younger sister reads like she's 6. Who slaps someone just because a comb gets stuck in hair? And how are we supposed to feel sympathy for that slapper? The romance is nice enough and there are some interesting changes to the traditional Cinderella story, but no one comes out sympathetic or even likeable. Even the cover looks like a Gossip Girl book. It's bland overall.
ARC provided by NetGalley.