At her birth, Ella of Frell was given a foolish fairy’s gift—the “gift” of obedience. Ella must obey any order given to her, whether it’s hopping on one foot for a day or chopping off her own head!
But strong-willed Ella does not tamely accept her fate. She goes on a quest, encountering ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, fairy godmothers, and handsome princes, determined to break the curse—and live happily ever after.
If you haven’t read Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (HarperCollins) go find a copy and read it right now! That’s an order (see, if you were Ella you would have to obey). Ella Enchanted is absolutely enchanting. I can’t believe, I hadn’t read it before now.
How would you like having to do absolutely everything you were told? From the ordinary (“Pick up your socks!”) to the ridiculous (“Take a long walk off a short pier!”). No matter the order, you would have to do it. Thanks to a fairy’s “gift”, Ella has no choice in the matter. But her unfortunate circumstances sure make for a wonderfully funny and touching story! My favourite order was Ella’s father unwittingly telling her to run off and bump into some else—so, of course, that’s exactly what she must do. Poor Ella.
Ella quickly climbed into my list of favourite heroines. She is kind-hearted, spunky, stubborn, funny and obedient—although she’d rather not be that last one, and who could blame her? I would be friends with Ella in a heartbeat! All I wanted was for her to be happy and find a way to break her curse.
But of course something—or, more specifically, someone—is standing in her way: her stepsister Hattie. Ooh, how I detest Hattie! If ever there was someone who deserved to be thrown into a slop pile it would be her (but then I would be sorry for the pigs…). Hattie discovers Ella’s need to be obedient early on, even though she doesn’t understand why Ella must obey. She uses this knowledge to take advantage of Ella and make her miserable. I tell you, there were times I wanted to reach into the story and squash Hattie like a bug, especially when she comes between Ella and her love, Prince Charmont!
The romance between Ella and Char is incredibly sweet and swoon-worthy. In fact, the whole story is a delicious blend of magic, mishaps, romance and laughs. I will definitely be picking up more of Levine’s books. If you enjoy fairy tales, magical mischief, and happily-ever-afters, then you will LOVE Ella Enchanted. That’s not an order. It’s an inevitability.