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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Sculpting Fables: An Ancient Cinderella Time Travel Retelling by Rachel Huffmire introduces Rhodopis, who is a slave. She is bullied by the daughters of her Greek master and dreams of freedom so that she can help others by easing their burdens. When Bleue, a time traveler from the future appears to help Rhodopis gain her freedom, she finds it difficult to leave her other slave friends behind. These include Aesop and his wonderful stories. What follows is a Cinderella-like tale of the poor slave girl who attracts the attention of the Pharaoh’s handsome son, the young man every single girl in the kingdom desires. Rhodopis even managed to lose one of her slippers, a work of art embedded with glass beads, at the festive event, much as Cinderella lost her glass slipper. There are so many profound Cinderella connections.
Rachel Huffmire’s Sculpting Fables is a fable worthy of Aesop’s legendary archive of stories. The plot follows two related tales: Rhodopis’s story in the past (1324 BCE, Egypt) and Bleue’s story that begins in the future (2070 AD) before she travels back in time to help Rhodopis. Most of the account concerns Rhodopis, as she is the main protagonist - the ancient Egyptian Cinderella. The characters are well-developed and the historical detail of ancient Egypt is well researched and presented with care. Dialogue is compelling and engaging. Readers will be anxious to follow Rhodopis’s journey into freedom and they’ll be cheering her on as she tests the waters in her new life. For anyone who loves a good Cinderella story, this is a fascinating read, a classic fairy tale in its own right.