Cover Image: The Wicked Sister

The Wicked Sister

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Member Reviews

The Wicked Sister is a reversed retelling of Cinderella.  This was just okay, I was intrigued enough to finish the book but found the ending to be forced and too happy of an ending.
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This is true Cinderella story.  It’s a great take on the fairytale. It shows how your world could change in an instant.  You could be at the whim of someone else. True love does win the day. It was a great read.
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found some parts of the story to be rather clichéd or overdone, there’s perhaps too much winking, and the romance has quite a few references to “warmth” and “sensations,” which gets repetitive. Also, though this isn’t an insta-love story, the eventual jump to love still felt rushed to me, on one party’s part in particular, especially since they both began the story so opposed to marriage.

Still, I very much enjoyed this read, ate it up in one evening,
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When Rella's Papa remarries and brings home his two new daughters, Rella acts sweet. When the adults are not looking she is horrible however. As the girls get older, Rella seems to hate Anastasia more than Beatrice for reasons known only to Rella. After their Papa dies, Anastasia, Beatrice, and Rella must take on more duties of the household to pay the bills. Quickly, Rella portrays herself as the poor abused step sister of the horrendous Anastasia, and everyone believes her. It is not all as it seems, and when Anastasia barely escapes two different near death experiences, it becomes clear that not all is as it seems. 

Val has been ordered to watch over the family of the late Lord Covington, cousin and trusted ambassador to the King. He does not expect to be draw in by the lovely Anastasia, middle daughter of said Lord. Nor does he expect to have to save her life twice in just a few short weeks. As he struggles with his growing feelings for Anastasia, he realizes two vital things: He must tell her the truth of who he is and he must save her from a hidden enemy before its too late. 

My opinions:

This story was mediocre but enjoyable.  I enjoyed the few plot twists, although as the reader, you see who is behind the attacks very early on. I disliked Val intensely. He calls Anastasia "little one" regularly and I find that 'endearment' belittling and insulting. Also a little concerning. If Val sees Anastasia as a child, why does he pursue her affections. Val is also very demanding and conceited, although given his position in the kingdom, that is not necessarily unexpected. I would have preferred a male lead with a bit more compassion and kindness in him and a female lead with a bit more steel in her spine (yes, I know that is cliche for YA, but it works - no one enjoys reading about the lion and the mouse).

The third sister, Beatrice, is more of a background character than I think she needed to be. I would have liked to see a bit more of her character, more of her reactions to Rella's actions, more about her thoughts regarding the lies about Anastasia, and more about her own love story. She ends up with her own happily-ever-after, but with so little mention of it, the reader is left feeling like there is more to be said. 

Those comments aside, the Epilogue almost completely makes up for any lacking elsewhere in the book. Rella has lost everything, but she finds a way to get her revenge in the end and it is fantastic.
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This is my fair and honest review, voluntarily and in my own words, in return for this ARC.  Remember the story of Cinderella??  Well, this is a different twist on that.  Well done.
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This book was a poor retelling/reimagining of Cinderella, with three beautiful sisters, one, blonde and beautiful Rella, born to Lord Covington’s first wife, and her stepsisters, the brunette and beautiful Beatrice and Anastasia, born to Lord Covington’s second wife Lady Evelyn.

When Lord Covington is snot and dies, the family find they are not that well off, and have to let go of the servants and work themselves, they also are driven to sell eggs and produce that they grow in the local village to make ends meet. The brunt of the selling falls on Anastasia, who is the heroine of this story, and a complete Mary Sue. When Rella decides to make Anastasia’s life difficult, Anastasia lets her, she doesn’t try and defend herself to Lady Evelyn or even try and understand why Rella is doing these things, she just carry’s on skivvying for Rella and working to make ends meet. Her mother always sides with Rella, and her sister is so vague and insubstantial in this story as to be entirely redundant, even when she is centre stage, meeting her own Hero, she is ridiculously silly, and just cries rather than try to help or put things right.

When Anastasia chases some boys who have stolen from the stall she literally falls into Val’s lap, and they are instantly smitten with each other - Val is actually Prince Percival, second son to King Alexander of Oldenburg, and he is incognito trying to find out who is causing dissent between Oldenberg and the neighbouring Lichtenburg. He is just Val, a common soldier. While in Covington he seeks out Anastasia and they become closer, he realises something odd is going on, and that perhaps Anastasia is in danger, as possessions go missing, she is followed home, and shot at and injured in the woods. 

Rella’s behaviour escalates, and she is soon paying unsavoury characters to kill her aunt, and ambush and kill Anastasia. Can Prince Val save her, can he make her his bride or will Rella’s plot succeed...

We all know how this will end, and Cinderella is a good plot so I kept reading, unfortunately, there is no nuance, the baddies are bad through and through, the goodies, good, and also too perfect/boring/incurious etc. There are loads of too perfect coincidences, the dialogue is terrible, the writing poor, and the grammar/editing need great amounts of help. For goodness sake the Butler is knighted by the king and inherits an aristocratic estate.

All in all not my favourite.

I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book and all opinions are my own.

Also posted on Goodreads
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I love the cover. 
I love the book. 
I love the story and the ending too. 
I love the author. 
I love the fairy tale romance like no other read book. 
Therefore, for me this is a five star rating too!
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This was a new author for me. The plot and storyline were very well done.  Such a wonderful story. I would definitely try another book by This author.
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I love reading new authors and wanted to explore Virginia Barlow’s writing, The Wicked Sister.  I love ‘fairy tale’ romances and there is a lot to enjoy in this book.  One of my favorite parts was the ending, not to give it away, but the way the ‘tale’ is handed off is unique and interesting.  

The love and care of the hero, heroine, and most of their family is special.  I just had trouble connecting with a not too smart heroine who allowed her step-sister, Rella, to pull her along with fear and bullying.  The reasons for ‘going along’ with Rella just did not seem credible.  And, why was everyone so completely fooled by Rella?  Did not make sense.

The relationship between Val and Anastasia seemed more lust than growing romance.  I did not get that ‘feeling’ of true development of love.  Val did take great care of Anastasia when she was hurt, but something was just off in their beginning connection.

I think Ms. Barlow has promise as a writer.  Maybe this should have been a novella rather than a full book helping it to not seem so contrived.  I began to think of Rella as the wicked energizer bunny who just kept coming and coming!  Please take my review with a grain of salt as I believe everyone needs to form their own opinion.
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