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Always Ella: The Stepmother's Story

The beautiful and headstrong Victoria Noble has lofty dreams for her life, but none of them involve being wicked. Despite her humble existence as a maid at The Seaside Inn, she intends to marry a wealthy man. This hope is challenged when Henry Blakeley, a kind-hearted wanderer, enters her life and sees in her every admirable quality she yearns to actually possess. As Victoria attempts to balance her desires for wealth and love, tragedy strikes, sending her running into the arms of Alden Knight, an intriguing and affluent gentleman.

Navigating the complexities of the upper class as well as motherhood to her willful twin daughters is more difficult than Victoria ever imagined, especially when she finds herself suddenly alone. All hope seems lost until a widowed Henry reappears in her life with his own angelic daughter, Ella. Victoria believes her dreams are finally coming true, only to have them shattered, leaving her heartbroken and reluctantly dependent on Ella's kindness and humility. Years later, amidst the excitement and commotion of a royal ball, a hardened Victoria is forced to confront her past choices and their consequences.

Told from the perspective of the “wicked stepmother,” this poignant and realistic Cinderella retelling explores the power of forgiveness and honor, as well as the intricacies of family relationships. Victoria Noble's journey through love, loss, and motherhood is a powerful reminder that the path to redemption is never walked alone.

Other Fairy Tale Retellings by Jessilyn Stewart Peaslee

Reserved yet resilient, Ella Blakeley lives with her cruel stepmother and stepsisters, without hope of escape until the day Prince Kenton announces a ball that changes everything. Even without mice, magic, or fairy godmothers, Ella might discover a life that's better than she ever dreamed. This intricately woven twist on a Cinderella story is an enchanting book you won't be able to put down. 

Will Hawkins is just a simple stable boy. How can he ever hope to woo Ella, his once-wealthy childhood friend who is stubbornly independent, especially when his competition is the prince? Without any magic or fairy godmothers, Will must show Ella that he is her true prince charming in this perspective twist of the Cinderella story. 

Princess Rose’s fiery temper has kept every potential suitor away—until now. After being spurned and humiliated for the last time, the princess forces every eligible man in the kingdom to present a gift to her under pain of death. The man who brings her the best gift will be chosen as her husband.

When Corbin is summoned to present his gift, he hopes that his simple offering will keep him safely overlooked. All he wants is to return to his quiet life as a common blacksmith, away from forbidding castles and beastly princesses. But love works in mysterious ways, and it all starts with a rose...

A violent storm. A sleepless night. A test.

Emma Widmore has longed to return to her childhood home since the day she was forced to leave it after her father’s death. Widmore Manor represents every hope Emma has ever had and every person she has ever loved. When she feels drawn back to Widmore Manor on a stormy night, she is granted refuge by the one person she is sure would still know her after all these years. But when James Atwood—heir of Widmore Manor and Emma’s childhood friend—shows nothing but suspicion, Emma’s hope falters. After hearing rumors of a test—a standard—that other young women have failed, Emma worries that she, too, will fail. As Emma seeks to understand this test, she must be reconciled with her past and learn what being home truly means.

JESSILYN STEWART PEASLEE loves fairy tales and bringing them to life. Her debut novel, Ella, was awarded the Silver Quill by the League of Utah Writers, and her third novel, Finding Beauty in the Beast, was awarded the Gold Quill, both in YA Fiction. She loves encouraging youth in their writing and in achieving their dreams, and has visited schools throughout Utah and surrounding states. Jessilyn graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in English. She grew up in Southern California in a family of avid readers, music lovers, movie quoters, and sports fans. She now resides in Utah with her amazing science-teaching husband and their five hilarious, incredible boys. As you read this, she is probably folding laundry . . . or should be.

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