When I first signed up to do a blog tour for Ella, a new novel by Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee, I was a little skeptical about another Cinderella retelling. I had read a retelling just a couple months back, and it was flawless. I doubted this book could measure up.
Well, I was wrong – really wrong. I was literally sad every time I had to put the novel down. I would have read it all the way through in one sitting if I had had the time, because it truly drew me in.
My readers know by now that I analyze books very carefully, and am also honest to a fault in my reviews. I honestly have no constructive criticism for Ella at all. I loved it from beginning to end.
Let me tell you why:
- Ella had many of the same elements as the original Cinderella story, but it was also quite different. There was no Fairy Godmother, and I can’t tell you anything else, or it will ruin the story. Just trust me – there are delicious twists and turns.
- I absolutely loved the main character, Ella. She was a character to look up to – one you would wish to emulate. She worked tirelessly, she kept her promises, she was humble, and she was loving. She never gave up, was courageous, and had hope for her future.
- I was just as much in love with the character of Will, her childhood friend. The story wasn’t told from his perspective, but it didn’t matter, because the author painted his thoughts and feelings through his nonverbal, verbal, and physical communication. It was brilliant.
- There were so many religious elements woven into the book, even though God was never specifically mentioned. Forgiveness, compassion, charity, mercy, humility, sacrifice, strong family ties…I could go on listing these Christ-like virtues. I loved these elements, and was strengthened by them.
- I had empathy for the antagonist. Some of my most favorite novels help me see the humanity in, and feel empathy towards, even the darkest of people.
- There was a very special phrase used throughout the book, that whenever said, made me smile and think fondly of Ella’s dear father.
- The chemistry between two characters in the book was intoxicating. Click To Tweet I felt every blush, every touch, every intense stare like they were my own, or directed at me. It takes a very talented writer to pull this off well, especially when those moments are restrained.
- I cried like a baby from the last chapter through the epilogue. A book that can make you care about the characters and their fates enough to make you cry openly is a work of art.
I could keep going telling you what I loved about Ella, but maybe the best course of action now is to read it yourself. You can find it here.
This is how Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee described Ella to me:
“Ella is a realistic, historical retelling of the classic Cinderella story with a few twists. 🙂 The resilient yet reserved Ella has no magic, mice, or fairy godmothers to help her. Instead, she must find within herself the courage and strength to overcome tragedy, discover her self-worth, forgive, and open her heart to the patient and selfless nature of true love.
Ella is YA fiction, but is intended for women of all ages. I wrote it mostly for moms who don’t have a lot of time and want to read something uplifting and sweet and meaningful.”
Her father made a book trailer for Ella. It will mean more to you after reading the book, so watch it before to get your interest, and after, to touch your heart once again.
I hope someday to have a daughter with whom I can share the simple, yet profound messages found in this magnificent novel.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
About the author:
Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee was born the fourth of seven children to a family of avid readers, movie quoters, and sports fanatics. She graduated with a degree in English from Brigham Young University in 2004. She is a mother of five rambunctious, adorable boys and while you read this, she is probably folding laundry . . . or should be.