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by Rae D. Magdon
This is an interesting re-imagining of the Cinderella story that features the two step-sisters as important characters, second only to Eleanor herself. It takes place in an imaginary kingdom like the original, but with a stronger political intrigue. It's brutal in places and the personalities of the two step-sisters are well-developed. What I didn't know when I picked up the book is that the author is known for writing lesbian fiction, which puts a different spin on things.
In this re-imagining, the step-mother doesn't appear to be the problem. One of the step-sisters even appears friendly, at first. The other one, however, has a rather nasty disposition to say the least. The writing itself is excellent, but the plotting has some holes. The story overall has a more realistic feeling to it than the fairytale, yet possible ways out of Ellie's predicament weren't explored.
There's more abuse than I felt comfortable with in various ways. I was more bothered by the outright cruelty than any of the sexual aspects, but there was far more of that than I like to read about. I don't care if it's gay, straight or anything else, I'm just not into erotica and adding abusiveness doesn't help.
Scoring according to quality rather than my personal reading preferences. If the plotting were better, the writing and character development would score very high.