Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Published in 1997
Recommended Age Group: 8 and Up
Summary: Ella Enchanted is a Newbery Honor Book that begins with Lucinda, a foolish fairy, casting the spell of obedience on Ella shortly after Ella’s birth. Lucinda thought she was doing a good thing but no matter how Ella’s mother and their cook Mandy explained it to her she wouldn’t change her mind. The spell put Ella in a lot of danger all the time. No matter what the command was she had to obey. She would be able to delay the obedience but not for long.
The first disaster happened on her fifth birthday. The cook told her to eat the cake and no matter how she tried to stop herself or how sick she felt she had to eat the whole cake until her Mother discovered the problem and told her to stop. Later Ogres caught her and they commanded her to come to them and not to run away. She was lost to their control until something broke the spell and she was able to use their own tricks to command them. Her two stepsisters had power over her as well. Olive took all of her money and made her count it over and over again. Hattie usually made her do small things but also took a necklace that Ella’s mother wore on her wedding day. Her stepmother made her a servant and she was unable to leave or defy them. She fell in love with the Prince of the land Charmont who liked to me called Char. When she found that he loved her too she was afraid that her curse would be used against her to hurt him or the kingdom. She tried to trick him into thinking she was married and it worked, but not for long.
Mandy, the cook, who also turned out to be Ella’s fairy godmother, told her there was a way to break the spell she just had to find it. Ella believed that Lucinda would take it back if she was found but she didn’t. Ella was finally able to break the spell in the end and was able to live happily ever after with Char and without her stepfamily.
Personal Notes: In the beginning this book wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either. As the book went on it got dramatically better until the end when I didn’t want it to be over. I enjoyed the friendly banter between Ella and Char. I also liked her obedient defiance it reminded me of my own children only they don’t have to obey me. A great book, beautifully written and fun.