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Reviewed by Deborah Stone for Readers' Favorite
Ella by Lisa Flickinger is a new rendition of an old and much-loved story. Ella is the only daughter of a loving father who remarries a woman that treats her stepdaughter as a maid in her father’s absence. In this version, the father is not dead, he has gone abroad on business and is unaware of his daughter’s plight or the fact that he has two stepdaughters, Dru and Egbertha, that have now moved into the family home. Ella has been banished to the attic where she finds escape and the privacy to create a beautiful gown to wear to the upcoming ball. All attempts to contact her father have failed because Adeline, her stepmother, intercepts every letter. As the ball nears, Dru discovers Ella’s secret and steals the beautiful gown she has made for herself. As Ella struggles with the loss of the gown she had created to make herself beautiful and memorable for the ball, she remembers a Scripture from Proverbs that her mother often spoke: “Beauty is vain; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
Thomas, the handsome man delivering a package to Ella from her father, is misled into thinking that Dru is the daughter of his friend. Not finding anything resembling the description he had been given, Thomas is disappointed. He is served tea by what he assumes is the maid, Ella. He is intrigued by her beauty and gentleness. At the ball, Ella meets Thomas again and hopes to convince him to take a letter to her father, but she must leave hastily before her identity is discovered. At another ball, her red slipper is lost as she runs away and Thomas sets out to find the owner of the slipper. He begins with Dru and learns of the deception. Now he is determined to find Ella, still not knowing she is the woman he was sent to meet.
Lisa Flickering’s retelling of this classic story follows the same course as the original, but with the author’s own unique twists and turns added. Variations can be underwhelming, but that is not the case with Lisa Flickering’s version. Lisa has captured the essence of the original Cinderella and added a new depth to the story. There are life lessons to be learned that are not in the original. Imagine a fairytale with faith as a source of strength instead of magic, self-reliance and persistence as a means for accomplishing rather than fairy godmothers, and a spiritual connection as well as emotional and physical that result in the happily ever after. Lisa Flickering’s well written, delightful and inspiring version of the classic tale is one of those books that is hard to put down and you hate to see it end. It’s not just about good triumphing over evil. Lisa Flickinger demonstrates important lessons through each character's journey through the story which is enjoyable, refreshing, inspiring and intriguing while still being familiar.