Sixteen-year-old Griselda and her father have a secret—fairy sight, a trait punishable by death. Her world is upended when her father is killed, her mother remarries, and her new stepfather dies of illness.
Griselda must grapple with her scheming stepsister, the burden of fairy sight inherited from her father, and a pair of fairy-blessed slippers.
A young-adult fairy story, GRISELDA RELLA is a reimaging of the Cinderella story, by Charles Perrault, with the heroine and adversary characters reversed.
Smarter and more cunning than she first appears, Cynthia knows there’s a secret, but Griselda does all she can to keep it from her. Despite her best efforts, the danger of the “catch a fairy, make a wish” nursery rhyme makes Cynthia’s greedy dreams come true. Griselda, a tough 16-year-old, is a unique, engaging character who isn’t afraid to get dirty and can’t seem to act like a lady even when she tries. Steele smartly upends reader expectations: in this telling, Griselda doesn’t meet the prince at a ball, but has known him her whole life, growing up as best friends. It becomes quickly apparent that if they married, it would be Griselda saving him—and the kingdom—from himself, a refreshing spin.
Griselda’s relationship with the fairies, and their importance to ensuring crops, flowers, and every other living thing grows, gives the story added depth and could have easily been enough to make it stand out, but Steele adds an abundance of interesting twists: readers soon realize Griselda isn’t Cinderella—it’s her stepsister, and the Cinderella-equivalent character turns out to be selfish and mean. Readers will love the twists, and though some questions are left unanswered, this will be a favorite version of the classic tale.
Takeaway: A captivating fairy tale retelling with a refreshing twist and relatable lead.
Great for fans of: Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted, Brigid Kemmerer’s A Curse So Dark and Lonely.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
Think you know the whole story of Cinderella? In this imaginative retelling of the famous fairy tale, your head will spin off its shoulders. Griselda Rella merges classic fantasy with classic fairy tales in one delightful, mind-bending story. The characters are epic, the world-building sublime, the narration sucks you in, and the writing the best I’ve seen.
The story/plot grabs you from the first page. I hadn’t read ten pages before I was all in on the story. The plot is original yet familiar. I liked the author’s twist on the fairy tale.
The world-building is epic with some amazing techniques. Everyone who reads fantasy will see something to like in this story. The author creates a world based in reality but seeped in magic. My fantasy heart loved every moment reading. I honestly didn’t want to stop reading.
The characters are relevant, colorful, and distinct. I especially liked Griselda. Poor girl, she’s been through such a rotten time. But she manages to overcome it all. Her strength is what I adored most.
If you binge-read fantasy books and fairy tales, you’ve found your next read. This book rocks!
GRISELDA RELLA, by Lee Renwick Steele, released on February 22, 2023.