The Cinderella tale is arguably one of the most popular canonical fairy tales in existence. The earliest known version is actually Ye Xian, a 9th century Chinese fairy tale that bears striking resemblance to the versions popular in the West. Charles Perrault released his version in 1867 and the brothers Grimm, their version in 1812. Though Cinderella’s story is still appealing today for obvious reasons, contemporary writers have given the age-old tale their own twist. Whether it is to push into focus the “ugly stepsisters” or the transient “fairy godmother,” modern writers have reworked the tale to better fit the sensibilities of contemporary readers. Below is a list of ten books that play with the fairytale in various ways:
(All synopses are from Goodreads.com)
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 3rd 2009 by Bloomsbury Publishing
When Lucinda Chapdelaine was a small child, her parents left for the royal ball and never returned. Ever since, Lucinda has been stuck in perpetual servitude at her evil aunt’s jewelry store. Then, on the very same day, a mysterious visitor and an even more bizarre piece of jewelry both enter the shop, setting in motion a string of twists and turns that will forever alter Lucinda’s path. In this magical story filled with delightful surprises, Lucinda will dance at the royal ball, fall under the Amaranth Witch’s spell, avenge her parents’ death, and maybe—just maybe—capture the heart of a prince.
Hardcover, 257 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Hoping to escape the troubles in her kingdom, Princess Poppy reluctantly agrees to take part in a royal exchange program, whereby young princes and princesses travel to each other’s countries in the name of better political alliances–and potential marriages. It’s got the makings of a fairy tale–until a hapless servant named Eleanor is tricked by a vengeful fairy godmother into competing with Poppy for the eligible prince. Ballgowns, cinders, and enchanted glass slippers fly in this romantic and action-packed happily-ever-after quest from an author with a flair for embroidering tales in her own delightful way.
Hardcover, 447 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Candlewick Press
Trained in the magical art of shadow-weaving, sixteen-year-old Suzume is able to re-create herself in any form – a fabulous gift for a girl desperate to escape her past. But who is she really? Is she a girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama? Or a lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens? Or is she Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands? Whatever her true identity, Suzume is destined to use her skills to steal the heart of a prince in a revenge plot to destroy Terayama. And nothing will stop her, not even the one true aspect of her life- her love for a fellow shadow-weaver.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 1st 1997 by Scholastic Books
At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent young fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the “gift” of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. Another girl might have been cowed by this affliction, but not feisty Ella: “Instead of making me docile, Lucinda’s curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally.” When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella’s life and well-being seem to be in grave peril. But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery as she tries to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way. Yes, there is a pumpkin coach, a glass slipper, and a happily ever after, but this is the most remarkable, delightful, and profound version of Cinderella you’ll ever read.
Paperback, 372 pages
Published October 3rd 2000 by William Morrow Paperbacks
We have all heard the story of Cinderella, the beautiful child cast out to slave among the ashes. But what of her stepsisters, the homely pair exiled into ignominy by the fame of their lovely sibling? What fate befell those untouched by beauty … and what curses accompanied Cinderella’s looks?
Set against the backdrop of seventeenth-century Holland, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister tells the story of Iris, an unlikely heroine who finds herself swept from the lowly streets of Haarlem to a strange world of wealth, artifice, and ambition. Iris’s path quickly becomes intertwined with that of Clara, the mysterious and unnaturally beautiful girl destined to become her sister. While Clara retreats to the cinders of the family hearth, Iris seeks out the shadowy secrets of her new household — and the treacherous truth of her former life.
Hardcover, 1st Edition, 387 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by Feiwel & Friends
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
Published November 30th 2012 by Rhemalda Publishing
A Cinderella sequel.
Money can’t buy love, but magic isn’t a sure bet either. Cinderella, now officially a princess, finds royal life is not what she once dreamed. When a mysterious elf from her past stirs up long-suppressed passion, Cinderella begins to wonder if there really is love beneath the spell that captured her husband’s heart. But undoing magic can be harder than casting the initial spell, and the results are even less predictable.
Paperback, 193 pages
Published March 6th 2007 by Simon Pulse
Etienne de Brabant is brokenhearted. His wife has died in childbirth, leaving him alone with an infant daughter he cannot bear to name. But before he abandons her for king and court, he brings a second child to be raised alongside her, a boy whose identity he does not reveal.
The girl, La Cendrillon, and the boy, Raoul, pass sixteen years in the servants’ care until one day a very fine lady arrives with her two daughters. The lady has married La Cendrillon’s father, and her arrival changes their lives.
When an invitation to a great ball reaches the family, La Cendrillon’s new stepmother will make a decision with far-reaching effects. Her choice will lead La Cendrillon and Raoul toward their destiny — a choice that will challenge their understanding of family, test their loyalty and courage, and, ultimately, teach them who they are.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 27th 2007 by Simon Pulse
Being a princess isn’t all that….
You’ve heard the fairytale: a glass slipper, Prince Charming, happily ever after…
Welcome to reality: royal genealogy lessons, needlepoint, acting like “a proper lady,” and — worst of all — a prince who is not the least bit interesting, and certainly not charming.
As soon-to-be princess Ella deals with her newfound status, she comes to realize she is not “your majesty” material. But breaking off a royal engagement is no easy feat, especially when you’re crushing on another boy in the palace…. For Ella to escape, it will take intelligence, determination, and spunk — and no ladylike behavior allowed.
Hardcover, 283 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Disney-Hyperion
Wicked stepmother? Check. Evil stepsisters? Check. Miserable life? Check.
Lucy Norton’s life has all the makings of a Cinderella story. Her dad’s always away on business, leaving Lucy with her cruel stepmother and bratty stepsisters. She’s burdened with chores, and has a hard time fitting in at her new school. So when she sees Connor Pearson, the star player on the varsity basketball team, Lucy hopes her destiny has finally changed. With everything else going on in her life, doesn’t she at least deserve to get the handsome prince?
Melissa Kantor’s enchanting novel proves that sometimes the happy ending isn’t quite the one you’d expect. Lucy’s about to discover the truth about finding her real Prince Charming… and finding herself.