October 20, 2006

Bella at Midnight

By Diane Stanley
Rating: 3 3/4 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

In this interesting remake of Cinderella, Bella (Isabel) is the child of a knight and a merchant's daughter. Her mother dies and her father is disinterested, so Bella is placed in a village with a wet nurse who is but a peasant. Until she turns 13, she is never told that she is anything else but a member of her peasant family. During her childhood, she is a close friend to Prince Julian, who also happened to have been nursed by the same woman as Bella and remains attached to her. But when she turns 13, her real father sends for her, and Bella joins his household. As we know, he has remarried, and Bella meets her stepmother and 2 stepsisters, one of whom is a lady-in-waiting to the queen. Bella is more or less ignored by her new family until the day her stepsister tells of a plot she overheard to end the truce with a neighboring country--a plot that would mean certain death to Prince Julian. Can Bella save her prince? The story is told from many points of view, including Bella, the prince, her stepmother and stepsisters as well as a few other characters. An original take on an old story, which makes it fresh and interesting. Thoroughly enjoyable.

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