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Bella at Midnight

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’s revealed that she is not the peasant she believed herself to be: She is Isabel, the daughter of a knight who abandoned her in infancy.  Now he wants her back. Torn from her beloved foster family, Bella is sent to live with her deranged father and his resentful new wife. Soon Bella is caught up in a terrible plot that will change her life–and the kingdom–forever. With the help of her godmother and three enchanted gifts, she sets out on a journey in disguise that will lead her to a destiny far greater than any she could ever have imagined.

Recognition & Awards

School Library Journal, Best Books of 2006; Booklist, Editors’ Choice 2006; Book Links, Lasting Connections of 2006; Book Links, Best New Books for the Classroom; Book Sense 2006 Summer Children’s Picks List; New York Public Library, Books for the Teen Age for 2007; Anderson’s Bookshop Mock Newbery List, 2006; Nominee for the Texas Bluebonnet Award, 2008; Nominee for the Georgia Book Award, 2007-2008; Nominee for the Utah Beehive award; Nominee for the Arizona Grand Canyon Reader Award, 2009; Nominee for the Rhode Island Children’s Book Award; Starred Review, Booklist; Starred Review, School Library Journal; Starred Review, Kirkus.


“Stanley has brewed a magical elixir that will warm the hearts of readers who like their adventures set in medieval worlds, and who appreciate a bit of a love story as well. . . More than a reworking of the familiar, this is a 21st-century fairy tale, thoroughly enjoyable in its own right.”

—Starred review, School Library Journal

“What raises this above other re-created fairy tales is the quality of the writing, dotted with jeweled description and anchored by the strong values—loyalty, truth, honor. Stanley helps readers understand nobility, not in the sense of aristocracy, but as it signifies dignity and decency.”

—Starred review, Booklist

The “story runs in a clear, sparkling new stream. . .  Stanley deftly spins her various threads into a gossamer narrative that shimmers both brightly and darkly. . . Once begun, it will be hard to put down.”

—Starred review, Kirkus

Bella at Midnight
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