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Bella at Midnight

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,538 Ratings  ·  471 Reviews
In the little village of Castle Down, in a kingdom plagued by war, lives a peasant girl called Bella. Blessed with a kind family and a loving friend, she manages to create her own small patch of sunlight in a dark and dangerous world. Bella is a blacksmith's daughter; her friend Julian is a prince -- yet neither seems to notice the great gulf that divides his world from he ...more
Hardcover, 278 pages
Published April 11th 2006 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 2006)
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Nicole This answer shouldn't give away any more than what you can read on the back of the book but here is a bit more.
This book is sort of a retelling of the…more
This answer shouldn't give away any more than what you can read on the back of the book but here is a bit more.
This book is sort of a retelling of the Cinderella story but it is changed a lot. The story is told through the eyes of the many characters, each chapter being from a different perspective which really lets you get to know all of the characters. Bella is a young girl who is being raised on a farm with who she thinks is her family. But when a messenger calls for her announcing that her father wants her back Bella's whole story is turned upside down. Living with her new family is difficult and they often mistreat her and shun her. Things grow worse as friendships become broken and war begins to brew.

Overall it is a great book about change, friendships, and family and has a very satisfying plotline and ending.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Jul 18, 2011 Anne rated it it was amazing
I'm going to have to say that Bella at Midnight is now my favorite fairytale retelling. I can't believe I put off reading it for so long! Well, actually I can. The cover is ugly, and the description on the jacket is less than amazing.

At any rate, this is a loose retelling of Cinderella. I had no idea what fairytale this was based on when I picked it up. In fact, that it wasn't until mid-way through the book that I even began to see that there were a few Cinderellaish threads woven into the plot
Oct 05, 2010 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Grades 3+ girls

Bella at Midnight is about a girl named Bella. The story follows her as she grows from infancy to womanhood. She befriends Prince Julian in her childhood, and later must rescue him from being killed because of his brother's plans. Each chapter is told by a different character - a technique that I find adds to the story.

I really enjoyed this book because it is very exciting and fun to read. It took me a while to get into it, but once I did, I couldn't stop reading. Don't be fooled by the 'girly'

Feb 05, 2013 Lauren rated it it was amazing
Shelves: traditional-lit
Isabel is the central character who is unknowingly being raised by a foster family of peasants in a kingdom that has been in war for over one hundred years. She befriends Prince Julian who had the same wet nurse and lives with his uncle nearby. The characters are from four families and face challenges due to differences in class, family expectations, change in position and growing up. The book shows that in the end, it is not class that matters but friendship and self-worth. Also important to no ...more
May 30, 2013 ℒ. rated it liked it
Bella at Midnight started out pretty well, vivid descriptions; a new twist on the usual telling; and even some really connactable characters!
However, despite the great beginning and quick pace of the book, all the problems really happen at the end. Thinking about it, a lot of authors have trouble with this area-either making it to fast paced, sparce in detail, or just becoming overwhelmed and spitting out a complete disaster onto their paper.' Bella at Midnight' was much like these descriptions
Maia B.
Feb 22, 2011 Maia B. rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, fantasy
It's a very easy, fast read. But it's a pretty good book. It's a mix of the classic fantasy novel with an adventure novel. With a little Jane Austen.

I like Bella and Julian a lot, and the humor is really good. The only part I don't like (well, hate) is that Bella's kitten is killed in the scrum at the very beginning. I hate to think of animals being hurt.

The writing style is very apt for the kind of story being told. It's not only intelligent, it also sets the scene almost better than the actual
Aug 15, 2011 Marielle rated it it was ok
Eh. It was alright. It's an interesting re-write of Cinderella, with Bella taking on a more girl power sort of role. I didn't like that the POW kept changing for most of the chapters. And it wasn't just between two or three characters, it was a whole slew of people, and they all sounded the same.
Sep 14, 2014 Ellie rated it really liked it
3.75 stars

So when I was in fourth grade, I read this book, loved it, and then proceeded to forget everything about it, except for a few scattered details, including the title. Then I moved, leaving the library that I'd found the book at. Since I'd forgotten the title, there was no way for me to find the book and reread it. I kept thinking about it on and off, though, until six years later, I had the idea to look on Goodreads for lists of Cinderella adaptations (that this book was an adaptation o
I absolutely adored this book. Though it is a retelling of Cinderella, it is a story of its own. I love that the Fairy God Mother was left out and instead the protagonist decided her own fate with a faith in God, and belief in the truths she was raised with, namely kindness and hard work.

I was halfway through the book before I realized the similarities to Cinderella, and I was thoroughly engrossed in the journey as Bella grows from a peasant child to a beautiful, courageous, yet humble Lady. I
May 25, 2008 Bonnie rated it liked it
Was this supposed to be Cinderella? If so, I totally missed out on that.

The plot is that a girl is born, and her father wants her to go away, since he is mourning the loss of her mother, who died giving birth, so she is taken to a nursemaid in another city, who has just finished nursemaiding the prince. Bella and the prince grow up as friends.

Things become complicated, though, when they have a misunderstanding, and before they can clear it up, the prince is taken away to a nearby country they
This book is one of my favorites and gets all five stars! Here is a summary, it shouldn't spoil any more than what you can read on the back. So sorry if I messed up and it does. Enjoy.
This book is sort of a retelling of the Cinderella story but it is changed a lot. The story is told through the eyes of the many characters, each chapter being from a different perspective which really lets you get to know all of the characters. Bella is a young girl who is being raised on a farm with who she think
Feb 10, 2015 Danni rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, middle-grade
An middle grade medieval tale, with faint whispers of Cinderella. I wouldn't even call it a Cinderella retelling - you won't realize the connection until half-way through the book when her stepsisters and stepmother are introduced.

They are nothing like this: not at all

Her mother dies shortly after childbirth and her father doesn't want her, so Isabel - known as Bella - is raised by a village woman who was previously wet nurse to Prince Julian. The young prince still comes to visit, and grows up alongside
Oksana  *Bookaholic*
Aug 27, 2012 Oksana *Bookaholic* rated it really liked it
This was a cute and easy read. But some things chapped my khakis. Bella was supposed to be Cinderella. Or at least that's what it SAID. I didn't find a lot of traces of that in the story. Also, although this was an easy read, some things were hard to understand. They just happened so fast and suddenly. Otherwise, this was a great read. Not something I'd recommend to an older teen, though. It's easy to get bored. Also, I loved how the story was told from many people's perspectives.
Retelling of Cinderella. Bella At Midnight was a decent read. Bella's whole world is turned upside down when she discovers that she is not a peasant, as she had been raised as, but the daughter of a knight. Her father, who had nothing to do with her until now, suddenly wants her back in his life. She goes to live with him and his wife and is caught up in a plot that requires Bella's godmother, three magical items, and all of Bella's wits to survive and accomplish her goal.
Gail Gauthier
Aug 15, 2014 Gail Gauthier rated it liked it
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 boo
Mar 10, 2010 Anica rated it it was amazing
This was a fun read! I loved how the author crafted the story. I felt like I got a new perspective of how things could have been in the 15th century (women dying in childbirth, royalty, wars, peasants, food, living conditions, clothing, myths, etc).
Jan 08, 2015 Sandy rated it really liked it
Read this again, This time as a "read-with-mom" with my 11 yr old daughter. We both loved it. I loved the interesting historical information. It is a great read aloud with perfect sized chapters.
Rea K
Jan 12, 2016 Rea K rated it really liked it
Pop Sugar Book Challenge: Based on a fairy tale.

I picked this one up because of one of Anne's reviews. And I enjoyed it. Not as much as I enjoyed Ella Enchanted, but Ella Enchanted holds a special place in my realm of books. It's told from multiple POVs, each chapter headed by who's the MC of it, first person all the way, which tended to get a little confusing in spots.
It's based on Cinderella, but loosely. Like, you can see how it's Cinderella (with some of the events) but it's not solidly Ci
Mar 28, 2015 Lydia rated it really liked it
3.5-4...I think...
I liked the writing and was pulled in, but did not like some parts of the plot. I really like this author though!!!
Apr 23, 2012 Ruth rated it liked it
Recommended to Ruth by: Barbara
A play on Cinderella. A bit predictable. Enjoyable for when you need a break from deep thinking.
Oct 27, 2015 Jenny rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult-lit
Bella at Midnight follows a girl named Isabel, who grows up believing she is a blacksmith's daughter but is suddenly yanked back to her real home--she is the daughter of a cruel knight who gave her away after her mother died. In this retelling of the Cinderella story, Bella has to find a way to save her lifelong friend Prince Julian before a conflict with a neighboring country starts a civil war.

I always enjoy a nice fairy tale retelling, and though this story was different than anything I've re
Apr 11, 2011 shayshay rated it it was amazing
This is one of my all-time FAVORITE BOOKS!!!!! This is a must read.
Oct 28, 2013 Spring rated it it was amazing
AMAZING! probably one of the best books EVER!
Mar 31, 2015 Jaina rated it really liked it
Shelves: blogged
This review is also available on my blog, Read Till Dawn.

So, I love The Silver Bowl books (link goes to my review of The Silver Bowl). I've had this earlier book by Stanley on my radar for a while, but it got buried under all the other books that were on my radar (i.e. it fell to somewhere in the middle of the infamous Goodreads "to read" pile). A month ago I made a Top Ten post listing ten books I can't believe I haven't read, and this was right near the top. I requested it right after posting
Captain Awesome
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jenna St Hilaire
Jan 11, 2012 Jenna St Hilaire rated it liked it
It took me a little ways into this book to realize that I was reading a Cinderella retelling. It’s hardly a typical one. It contains neither white bird and tree, nor singing mice; the godmother isn’t magical, and only one of the stepsisters is wicked.

Few stories have been more often retold in modern English-speaking countries than Cinderella, however, and this variant was downright intriguing. Diane Stanley builds her story around the myth of a long-awaited hero known as the Worthy Knight. As th
Lisa Rathbun
Dec 14, 2014 Lisa Rathbun rated it it was amazing
What a delightufl fairy tale retelling! Full of adventure and romance with no objectionable elements. Young readers will have to carefully notice the shift in narrator as each chapter is a different person's point of view. I liked how Alice's chapter - focused on a memory of her father - is followed by her older sister's which is focused on clothing and ambition - a great contrast. I liked the chapter about the stepmother who appears stiff and shallow but loving toward her first husband. The por ...more
Jun 19, 2010 Evy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: ages 9 to 13, depending on skill level
I have read Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley before. I was younger, though, and didn't have the eye for observation as I do now. So, therefore, I didn't notice that it was being narrated by numerous people. I kept wondering why Diane Stanley kept putting each chapter in someone else's perspective and not giving a hint to the reader that she was doing so, when, all the time, she was, but I wasn't paying enough attention to realize that. So, future readers, don't make that mistake as I have.
I re
In many ways, I like the idea of leaving my review with the cryptic: "A well-thumbed favorite." Because that is a pretty good description. There is something charming about this book that belongs to who I am and what I was, especially as a young teenager.

Bella has been raised by peasants, the only family she knows. Life is simple, even her friendship from childhood with Prince Julian. As a fourth prince, he was shipped off as a youngster to live with his uncle and train to be a knight. But sudd
Aug 07, 2009 Sarah rated it it was amazing
In the little village of Castle Down, in a kingdom plagued by war, lives a peasant girl called Bella. Blessed with a kind family and a loving friend, she manages to create her own small patch of sunlight in a dark and dangerous world. Bella is a blacksmith's daughter; her friend Julian is a prince -- yet neither seems to notice the great gulf that divides his world from hers.
Suddenly Bella's world collapses. First Julian betrays her. Then it is revealed that she is not the peasant she believed h
Absolute KEEPER!

I don't believe I have EVER read a retold tale I like better than this one. Thanks JB & HH for recommending it!!

This was absolutely the most delightful retelling of Cinderella I've ever encountered. I loved the way she told the story from many different character's viewpoints. I loved that there was some sympathy for all of them, instead of just the wicked step-mother and fairy godmother usual fare.

Also, one thing I've realized that is missing from EVERY other retold fairy
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Bella at Midnight 5 56 Nov 16, 2013 06:19PM  
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