A Love Story

Young Adult - Mythology/Fairy Tale
126 Pages
Reviewed on 07/04/2019
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Author Biography

Born in 1960, author Gina LoBiondo grew up loving faerie tales. Not surprisingly, Cinderella was her favourite. She began writing stories of her own when she was 13 and continues to do so today whenever time and ideas allow. In 2008 she formed Nephthys Publications and in 2011 published her first book Pegasus – A Dragon’s Tale, an eleven-time book award winner. Other books by her include Button Nose the Sad Little Bear (winner of six awards), Cinderella – A Play in Two Acts and Pegasus – Another Dragon’s Tale (to be released soon). Gina enjoys reading, writing, listening to old-time radio programmes and watching classic silent films.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Cinderella: A Love Story by Gina LoBiondo is the retelling of the classic fairy tale with beautiful illustrations. Ella’s father Charles and her mother Marie loved her dearly, but that changed when Marie died suddenly. Ella was very young so Charles thought it was best to marry again and give Ella a mother’s love. However, that plan backfired when the woman he married didn’t treat Ella right. She and her two daughters made Ella’s life a living hell. Ella’s only reprieve came when Charles was home; otherwise, she lived a positively miserable life. However, that all changed when the king decided to throw a ball in honor of the prince and invited every eligible lady to the festivities. While her step-mother banned her from going, help came in the most unexpected of ways. There are no fairy godmothers in this tale, but Ella had a savior who promised to be with her no matter what.

While the bones of the story remain the same, the author has given a nice spin to the plot to make it a lot more heartwarming. The illustrations were a nice touch to the story and I am sure children will love that as their parents read them the story or as they read it themselves. The little original changes made to the story made it less bleak and more emotionally stable. I prefer her father not to be dead and her having a guardian angel rather than a fairy godmother. The narrative is perfect for storytelling, the pace is good and the chapter length is great for the targeted audience. I enjoyed Cinderella: A Love Story by Gina LoBiondo and I’m sure readers of all ages will enjoy it as well.

Deborah Stone

In Gina LoBiondo’s version of Cinderella, Ella’s father does not die, but her life is just as miserable as if he had. The wicked stepmother and stepsisters, "the Ladies Three", are still around and up to no good as expected. Cinderella is mistreated and serves as a slave to her new family and dreams of a happy life as she remembers how it used to be. When it’s time for Cinderella to go to the ball, which lasts two days in this version, her fairy godmother is a surprise to her and to the reader. As usual, happily ever after still comes, but with some new twists. Ella shows her kindness and generosity to those who have abused her as she and Prince Andrew prepare to wed. And what becomes of the evil stepmother? You will have to read Cinderella: A Love Story to find out.

Cinderella: A Love Story by Gina LoBiondo is a unique and interesting retelling of a favorite classic. With the bones of the original story intact, this version offers a new perspective and unexpected events that add to the charm as we revisit the familiar characters. Gina LoBiondo transforms this lovely classic into a familiar yet new story. Maintaining all of the key elements, she has managed to introduce new elements that change the story without altering the integrity of the original. It is difficult to take something so well known and loved and add your own spin to it, but Gina has managed to pull it off. This is a charming story that the reader is sure to enjoy.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Cinderella: A Love Story is a work of fiction by Gina LoBiondo. Fairy tales hold a special place in the hearts of young and old alike. These fanciful tales never tarnish from each retelling. Ella was a special girl who was much loved by her parents. But her mother passed away when she was young, and her father remarried a woman who was evil to the core. Vera brought two spoiled daughters with her, and the three vowed to make Ella’s life miserable. The story, so often told, takes the reader to the prince’s ball, a fairy godmother (who in this case happened to be something of a surprise), and the magical attraction of love at first sight and the determination of one prince to find his true love with the single glass slipper that will only fit one girl’s foot.

Gina LoBiondo’s young people’s novella, Cinderella: A Love Story, takes young readers on a fascinating retelling of this sixteenth-century classic. Complete with the combating forces of good and evil and the endless possibilities of magic and romance, this story has everything its classic original had and more. I rather like the change in the plot that deviates slightly from the original but with excellent results. It demonstrates the family bond of love with flair. The illustrations are an added bonus and help move the story along. This is a tender retelling that will capture the hearts of young readers who love the happily-ever-after type of fairy tale. This sweet story is full of charm and compassion. A beautiful retelling for all ages.

Edith Wairimu

Cinderella: A Love Story by Gina LoBiondo is a creative reimagining of the classic fairy-tale. In the beginning, Cinderella lives in a beautiful home with loving parents. After she turns five, the family experiences a heartbreaking tragedy. Despite the loss of her mother, Cinderella does not lose her optimism and together with her father, they try to move forward. The bond between father and daughter grows stronger each day until the father makes a terrible decision. He marries a tyrannical, devious woman who is hiding shocking secrets. Together with her cruel daughters, they move in and turn the glowing Cinderella into a lowly maid. But Cinderella’s hopes of getting married to a handsome prince resurface when she remembers her mother’s promise to always be with her.

In Cinderella: A Love Story, Gina LoBiondo includes original descriptions of the characters and their backgrounds. As a child, Cinderella is hopeful and surrounded by love. Her mother’s presence is also a focal point in her life. The story explores her father’s experiences and the reasons for his inability to intervene and save her from her callous stepmother. I loved that the story also includes the prince’s background and incorporates humor in its dialogue. In addition, it contains colorful illustrations that show the book’s scenes. Cinderella’s mother's role and her influence on the outcome, in the end, are other imaginative additions to the story. Cinderella: A Love Story by Gina LoBiondo is a delightful coming-of-age story with an inventive storyline.

Susan Sewell

A young woman's life changes when she wishes on a star and the gods hear her plea in the fairy-tale retelling Cinderella (A Love Story) by Gina LoBiondo. Little Ella's life of love and devotion changes suddenly and drastically when her widowed father remarries. Years later, Ella is estranged from her father and is nothing more than a glorified maid to her stepsisters and stepmother. Always hopeful, Ella is determined to see the best in any situation, though, as the years pass, her hope is dimming. When a royal announcement sets the kingdom aflutter, Ella can't help but feel excited. The Prince Royal is looking for a wife. Only, Ella's stepmother points out that Ella is far from eligible - she's just a servant after all. After the family leaves for the Royal Ball, Ella is left alone. Shattered, she wishes on a star as her beloved mother taught her to do long ago. Help comes to Ella from an unexpected source; her deepest desires are about to be realized. Can Ella stay true to herself and, in doing so, win the love of the man of her dreams?

Cinderella (A Love Story) by Gina LoBiondo is a beautiful young adult love story of faith, hope, and believing in the impossible despite how things appear at the moment. I appreciated how the author, Ms. LoBiondo, portrays Ella as a loving, thoughtful person. She does not try to change herself, even for the man she loves. The story is empowering and touching, proving that love can come in many forms and true love never dies. This book will delight readers ages 12-16 and everyone else who loves the original story of Cinderella.

Sarah Scheele

Cinderella: A Love Story is a cute fairytale retelling by Gina LoBiondo. Set in the kingdom of Orynx, the story starts with Ella’s parents; her mother Marie, who married very young, and her father, Charles. After Marie dies and her father remarries, Ella’s life goes from paradise as a much-loved daughter with a huge doll collection to a slave in rags. Her stepmother, Vera, deeply resents how happy Ella used to be and deliberately sets out to be hard on her, using her two spoiled daughters as puppets. But will a king’s unwelcome command, which forces his handsome young son to choose a bride, help turn things around for Ella? And she sorely misses her mother—is it possible her mother misses her too?

This humorous little book has a narrative voice that is exactly reminiscent of how old fairy tales were written, which lends it a great deal of authenticity. It makes a nice quick read for anyone who loves to collect and read fairy tales. Cinderella: A Love Story adds some intriguing touches to a familiar classic, including Cinderella’s father as a central character present throughout the story, which I liked. Gina LoBiondo achieves great success in making it always feel light-hearted as you know everything will turn out right through magic and revelations that surprise the characters. The witty conversations and interesting additions such as a scheming valet, a ghost, and a pair of stepsisters who reform quite nicely make it a worthwhile reading experience. It has just enough familiarity that it never disappoints and just enough originality that it pleasantly impresses at the right times.

Frances Oda

Enjoyed the book! Gina has a creative and an imaginative mind which made this book so captivating. Can't wait to read it to my granddaughter.

Lyn Belcher

This is a wonderful re-telling of a beloved story, but with a sweet, heart-warming twist. A must read from a talented Author. The beautiful illustrations by Donna Sterpe gives life to this charming story. A story to delight all ages.

Ashley Nestler

Cinderella – A Love Story is an elegant and original take on the classic fairytale. Gina Lo Biondo creates a new cast of characters that explore grief, stepfamilies and starting anew.

Cinderella has long been one of my favorite fairytales, and I was more than thrilled to read Gina Lo Biondo’s re-invented tale. To my delight, Cinderella – A Love Story surpassed my expectations and has become one of my new favorite adaptations of the story.

Lo Biondo’s changes to the classic tale were settle in that they remained true to the original tone, but they provided originality that created a unique retelling. My favorite change that Lo Biondo made was switching out the fairy godmother with the spirit of Cinderella’s deceased mother. While Cinderella’s father is present in the story, he is frequently working and Cinderella becomes prey to her stepmother and stepsisters. Cinderella grieves for her mother, and presenting her mother as her savior in the spirit form is a heartwarming addition. I found the love story between mother and daughter to be the highlight of the novel, and it had me swooning. The family love presented in the novel was a welcome change, and I appreciated Lo Biondo’s vision.

The accompanying full-color illustrations included in the novel are beautifully hand-drawn and well placed to help the reader picture the story and entice younger readers. While the novel is intended for younger readers, I found it extremely enjoyable, and I will happily read it again and again. If you are a fan of Cinderella, I heartily recommend Gina Lo Biondo’s Cinderella – A Love Story.

Dennis De Rose

Gina Lo Biondo is a consummate storyteller. When she weaves a story it is tightly knit, leaving no stone unturned. While this is considered a children's tale, Gina's version is probably best read by children over the age of 12. There is one very minor swear word and the subject of infertility is brought up. Adults will enjoy the story as well.

Gina Lo Biondo takes great pains to describe the characters in the story; Ella, her mother Marie, her father Charles, the Prince, her step-mother Vera and her two pathetic daughters are fleshed out very well. Gina's description of each segment of the story paints a vivid word picture, something that many writers are unable to do no matter how hard they try. The reader should feel he or she is in the story, like a fly on the wall. I sat next to Ella on her bed. I stood just behind her when her mother visited her, keeping her promise that she would be there when Ella needed her most.

Gina has a flair for creativity. She knows how to do it up right, with colored photos of herself, her mom, her pets, her niece and her illustrator. The hand-drawn illustrations are heart-warming and well placed. The covers, front and back, are eye-catching and easy to read. The read is easy on the eye thanks to choice of font and fewer words on the page. Keep writing Gina, I enjoyed the story immensely.

Lu's Reviews

The plot is very similar to the original: Cinderella's life changes once her father remarries and her step-mother turns out to be an evil woman.

There are a few twists, such as the Fairy Godmother is actually the ghost of her mother, and her father does not die. He gets divorced in the end.

This is a chapter book and there is quite a lot of character development. The illustrations are handmade and colorful.