What if Cinderella’s slipper fit someone else? Jade’s life is boring, but certainly not as bad as Ella’s. Ella has an evil, abusive step-family, while Jade’s family is only determined to marry their daughters well. But when a ball is announced, who should Jade see there but poor Ella in a stunning ball-gown? And what will happen when Jade is mistaken for Ella, and is faced with the decision of a lifetime?
Set in the regency era, the shy, bookish Jade is the youngest of four sisters and has no prospects in life except marriage to whoever will make her an offer. But her daydreams of someday being the heroine of her own story are at odds with her boring life. When the prince asks her to marry him, Jade is faced with the realization that she could do some real good as queen, but the cost to Ella might outweigh any good Jade could do.
I received this book from the author for free. All comments and opinions are entirely my own and this review is voluntary.
This sweet novella was a refreshing take on the classic Cinderella story told from the perspective of another girl attending the ball named Jade. It is perfectly suited for it’s young adult audience, and I know I would have related to Jade a lot if I had read this as a teen.
Jade was definitely a complex character, even though we get only a short time with her, and I think she is very relatable being bookish and introverted, but not without her own strong opinions! I really loved that Jade was a flawed but self-aware protagonist, so that when she was in the wrong – whether it be jealous for a friend’s good fortune or selfish deceit – she was able to acknowledge it and make a change. Her authentic faults confronted with humility was refreshing and a good example to young girls of how to handle difficult situations.
Jade’s quest throughout the story of trying to figure out what she wants our of life, was also very relatable, even set against the backdrop of extravagant balls. First she decides on marrying for books, not for looks, but she soon begins to see that maybe there is more to life than living comfortably and having a personal library to pull from. There was also something in her journey of feeling guilty for her love of books – as if reading is a waste of time – to finding her own purpose grown from that same love.
The Cinderella character, Ella, was very much in the background during the story, which made it fun whenever she did show up. Throughout the novella, Jade has some harsh judgements of Ella, but I think we’ve all had the same thoughts about the Cinderella story: why didn’t she just leave? Jade’s headstrong attitude provided a good contrast to Ella’s meek humility, and showing how we can learn from others who make different choices that we might make, rather than judging them.
“What would have been the point of virtue, if I gave it up as soon as I was tested?”
The twist on the fairy godmother character was also a personal favorite, and the ending was absolutely delightful! It was a quick and easy read, perfect for a beautiful spring day. I give Small Feet four stars for being a refreshing twist on the classic Cinderella story.