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Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley
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Bella at Midnight (edition 2006)

by Diane Stanley, Bagram Ibatoulline (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4492223,262 (3.77)8
Member:kaylanovak
Title:Bella at Midnight
Authors:Diane Stanley
Other authors:Bagram Ibatoulline (Illustrator)
Info:New York : HarperCollins, c2006.
Collections:School or Public Library, Fiction, Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Stanley, historical fiction

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Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley

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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
A fun read. I really enjoyed the twists, and even when I thought I had guessed the end, I was proved wrong! ( )
  Shadow494 | Jun 20, 2016 |
This review is also available on my blog, Read Till Dawn.

So, I love The Silver Bowl books (link goes to my review of The Silver Bowl). I've had this earlier book by Stanley on my radar for a while, but it got buried under all the other books that were on my radar (i.e. it fell to somewhere in the middle of the infamous Goodreads "to read" pile). A month ago I made a Top Ten post listing ten books I can't believe I haven't read, and this was right near the top. I requested it right after posting the article, and read it in one day - as soon as I could wrestle it away from my mother, another Diane Stanley fan!

As an earlier work than the Silver Bowl series, you can see that Stanley's writing skills were still developing; the writing isn't quite a crisp as in her later series. However, considering how amazing those books are this really doesn't hurt Bella at Midnight very much. I initially thought the technique of telling the story from so many different POVs, switching every chapter between everyone from Bella to seemingly random people off the street, was clumsy and distracting. I soon realized, though, that the technique fit the story perfectly as all the threads began to weave together into one big, tightly knitted story.

Bella is a very interesting character, especially in comparison with the original Cinderella. Where Cinderella began life with a loving father but no real family outside of that, Bella grew up believing herself to be the peasant daughter of a loving couple. She has two siblings, village friends, and of course her best friend Prince Julian right by her side. When she is brought to her birth father's home to be lonely, abused, and neglected (not to a truly abusive state, but still pretty cruelly), she is homesick more than anything else. She doesn't dream of marrying a prince and riding off into the sunset; all she wants is to be back with the family who loves her. I love this, because at the end of the day it isn't wealth that matters to her: it's people. How can you not love a character with priorities like that? I won't pretend she's going on my list of "most memorable heroines" (if I were making that list, which I'm not), but she's definitely a engaging and sympathetic main character.

This is a fun, humorous twist of a classic fairy tale, one that I'm glad I read but I probably won't be in a huge hurry to reread. If you're looking for a well-written fairy-tale spinoff that messes everything up the time period and the happy ending, then this is most definitely the book for you! ( )
  Jaina_Rose | Mar 1, 2016 |
Sort of another twist on Cinderella. Good for a students to check out a twist of the story, that they probably already know.
  magarcia | Nov 30, 2014 |
Too much of a mish-mash of different fairy tales and character backstory. Part way through I started thinking that the bindery has accidentally inserted signatures from a different book, except the design was the same; eventually the story came together but it was very forced. ( )
  Krumbs | Mar 31, 2013 |
Another twist on Cinderella. This retelling uses multiple voices to tell the story and manages to incorporate the glass slippers, a ball and the importance of midnight in an interesting story. ( )
  SparklePonies | Feb 23, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Diane Stanleyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ibatoulline, BagramIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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For Martha, and for Jim - who introduced me to Kitty-Pair-of-Kitties and the king of the fairies.
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When the message came and I saw it was from Edward, I nearly choked on my plum cake.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060775750, Paperback)

Bella has grown up thinking that she was just a simple peasant girl. But suddenly, Bella's world collapses. First, her best friend, Julian, betrays her. Then she finds out that she is, in fact, Isabel, the daughter of a knight who abandoned her in infancy. And now he wants her back. Bella is torn from her beloved foster family and tries to accept her new life with her deranged father and his resentful wife. But when she finds out about a terrible plot that threatens the kingdom, she sets out on a journey that will lead her to a destiny far greater than she could have imagined.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:59 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Raised by peasants, Bella discovers that she is actually the daughter of a knight and finds herself caught up in a terrible plot that will change her life and the kingdom forever.

(summary from another edition)

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