At birth, Ella is given the "gift" of obedience, which might not seem so terrible, until someone tells you to hit yourself in the head repeatedly, or commands you to hand over your mother's jewelry. Ella's creative interpretation of some directives is admirably mischievous, and her quest to remove the unwanted curse is a tale worth reading.
This is one of my favorite books. Although echoes of Cinderella are certainly present, this Ella is a much stronger, admirable, worthwhile heroine. The characters are richly drawn, from clever Ella, to a prince with a sense of humor who might be worthy of her, to the selfish stepsisters you love to hate. Please believe that this book is infinitely more sophisticated and valuable than the movie version, which shares the book's name and little else.
"That fool of a fairy Lucinda did not intend to lay a curse on me. She meant to bestow a gift."
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