Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Spirit of God Comes To Cinderella

Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley is another spin on Cinderella, this one with a Christian twist. God is a fact of life for many of the characters, and Heaven is a comforting place for one of the stepsisters, who has lost her own father. We also have a pilgrimage and a little of the Joan of Arc story thrown in for good measure. And, yes, the spirit of God truly does come to this Cinderella.

I found this incredibly intriguing. What also intrigues me is that I don't see much reference to this book's Christian, perhaps medieval Catholic, imagery in other reviews. Am I reading too much into Bella at Midnight because of all my years teaching Sunday school? I think there is a parent population interested in spirituality and bringing religion into their children's daily lives who would like to take a look at this book, if they knew what was in it.

On the negative side (and I usually do have a negative side, don't I?), the interesting aspects of this book don't turn up until well after the mid-point. The story is also told in the first person by many of the characters, who all take a turn in different chapters. This, too, is intriguing. Unfortunately, most of the voices are very similar. The most distinctive belong to the two stepsisters.

Reading Bella at Midnight is a very up-and-down experience. But it's definitely an interesting addition to revisionist Cinderella tales.

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