Saturday, November 19, 2011

Book Review: Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley

Title: Bella at Midnight
Author: Diane Stanely
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Middle grade/little YA-ish (fantasy)
Why I read it/how I found it: browsing through the library and it looked intriguing.

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.

This book has some charm to it. It takes a spin on the Cinderella story, and one in a way that I haven't seen before. The parts where Bella is a peasant and growing up are sweet, and when she's taken away from that happy place it's sad. Overall the plotline is interesting and has compelling stakes, and the ending is satisfying to any happily-ever-after lover. The reason that I couldn't completely get into this book was because it shifts first-person POV frequently. And not in a Shiver type of way where it's between two POVs, it's at least eight different characters (and those are the ones I can just think of off the top of my head). I found this unsettling, because I was always jumping not only from head to head, but also story to story. Halfway through the book we leave Bella and the characters she has for new characters, who do end up being her stepfamily, but it's such a transition it shook me up.

Other information: I couldn't find anything more on this book, or a website for the author.


  1. When you said it was a unique angle on Cinderella, I was pretty interested. But the POV situation doesn't sound good for me -- it's not so much that it switches between two POVs in first person, but that there are so many different viewpoint characters. Probably not for me, but I really like the cover. And nice review!