“‘Perhaps she’s changed.’”
What do you think are the three most important differences between Ella and the original Cinderella tale?
1. Her curse.
2. Her fairy godmother has been with her all her life and is someone who truly does know her well and it makes more sense why she is there
3. The relationship with the prince beginning long before the ball
“That fool of a fairy Lucinda did not intend to lay a curse on me. She meant to bestow a gift.”
What do you think is the worst “gift” Lucinda bestows on anyone during the novel and why?
A tough one to answer, I warrant. I would hate to be in love with someone I couldn’t stand. But having to do everything I’m told? That wouldn’t be hard if those things were good things. But dangerous, evil, sad, terrible, mean, etc. things? That would hurt so many and I think would be the hardest.
“I loved having the power to say yes or no, and refusing anything was a special pleasure.”
How much freedom do you have to disobey orders in your own life? What keeps you from disobeying? If you do disobey, how does that come about?
My freedom is pretty broad. While I could disobey an order at work, it wouldn’t help in the job security. I usually don’t disobey if it’s something I know I should be doing or that needs to be done. If I were to disobey something, it would only be because I felt it wasn’t right or necessary at the time, and I would probably say so right away to the person issuing the order so we are all on the same page.
“I could barely stay seated because of the command.”
Give an example from the book of a positive result of the curse.
Well, she may not have enjoyed finishing school. But she did learn to be a little less clumsy and gained a couple of talents out of it. The biggest positive was probably her mother ordering her not to tell anyone of the curse—that probably saved her life many times!
“‘Nothing is small magic in a moment like this.’”
What do you think is the difference between small and big magic? Give some examples of both. Can you think of real-life situations in which people have power equal to big magic?
Hmm. Well. I think if it's anything in a hurry, then it would be big. And Mandy even explains anything that might be harmful to others when it could benefit you. I like to think of that with praying. I never pray that I would pray I got first place in something, because that's pretty much saying "Please help all those others to not win." Instead, I pray to do my best and be happy with it. I guess big and small magic could be similar. Making Ella win first place at something might keep someone else from getting first when they needed it more. (I know, not an exact example from the book, but I was trying to make it match my own personal example.)
“It was a taste of obedience without an order, and I didn’t like it any better than the Lucinda-induced kind.”
What difference is there between choosing to do good and being forced into it?
No one should ever be forced to do anything. We should always be allowed a choice, our agency. I’d say a lot more, but then this might turn into something religious or political. If you want the religious, you can read my LDS blog. If you want the political, you’d just have to talk to me in person.
“When I opened it, instead of a fairy tale, I found an illustration of Mandy!”
What do you wish your own fairy book would tell/show you when you opened it?
I’m not even going into that. Sorry! :-)
“Char couldn’t see them and twirled me as before, until he got halfway around. Then he set me gently on the floor and bowed at Father and Mum Olga, his buttonless doublet flapping. He was laughing so hard he couldn’t speak.”
What are your impressions of the prince? Compare him with other princes from fairy tales—original or fractured.
I love Char. I think he’s fun, sweet, honest, open, and real. (Not real real, but you know what I mean.) He’s not perfect. I can’t handle perfect. He has his flaws, but they are endearing to him. And I love that he is the one who speaks up first, and does it so humbly and sweetly. He waited for so long, and finally cannot hold back any longer. (Uh oh—is that some Darcy thing? Except Darcy in no way did it humbly and sweetly!)
“‘Your very good friend, Char.’”
In too many fairy tales we (*groan!*) see the love-at-first-site aspect instead of a real relationship being built between the hero and heroine. What do you think about the relationship between the prince and the Cinderella character in this version?
Love it, love it, love it! It’s one reason why this is one of my favorite Cinderellas if not fractured fairy tale. I am a HUGE fan of friendship first (if you haven’t figured that out). So I love that Leving put that into this version.
“I refused to become a princess but adopted the titles of Court Linguist and Cook’s Helper.”
Especially for the linguist of our Book Club: Can you find any patterns in the different languages spoken in the book? Can you find any spelling, punctuation, capitalization, or other characteristic that distinguishes each from the other?
No examples, but I did notice some of the capital letters and such with the ogre language. And I think I saw certain letters being used a lot more with certain languages.
"In that moment I found a power beyond any I’d had before, a will and a determination I would never have needed if not for Lucinda, a fortitude I hadn’t been able to find for a lesser cause. And I found my voice."
What are some times you had to find an inner strength you did not think you had, but which was there when a greater cause called forth its need?
There are more times than I would have thought. Often when it is something related to me emotionally or mentally and I have to be stronger than those so I can put on the happy face and go about my daily business. Once in a while the thoughts or emotions win out. But overall I keep them at bay and make it through the tough times. Sometimes I am even like Anna Leonowens: I fool myself as well!
“‘I’ll work her harder than she ever worked in her life, and give you a fine cook into the bargain.’”
Do parts of this Cinderella version remind you of any other Cinderella versions you have read or seen? Which parts/versions do you prefer?
Honestly, no. I always felt this one stood on its own in originality for an adaptation. There are others that I love, but their stories are quite different from this one. As a whole, I prefer Ella. But there were pieces of Bella at Midnight that I thought very clever and I enjoyed them as well.
“But my favorite was…”
Ella. I’m in her head so much, I can’t help it!
I love after the ball when the prince shows up and how Ella is breaking her curse. One thing I REALLY didn’t like about the differences of the book and the movie.
Favorite story element?
The friendship between Ella and Char. If you’re going for a specific scene, I loved everything between the two of them at her father’s wedding.
Favorite anything else?
I loved the addition of the book. It was a great way to show what was happening elsewhere while still staying in a first person perspective.
“‘Is it terrible?’”
Least favorite character?
I suppose Hattie.
Least favorite part(s)?
The very end of Char’s letter when he declares his love. It didn’t seem like Char. It didn’t even feel like a guy. Maybe that’s me and my inexperience. I don’t know.
Least favorite story element?
Actually, as much as the different languages were neat, they also kept catching me up when I was trying to read.
Least favorite anything else?
I got really annoyed with Mandy calling her “lady” and “sweet.” It didn’t bother me AS much in the print as it did when I listened to the audio.