Ella Enchanted

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Ella Enchanted
Book cover
Author Gail Carson Levine
CountryUnited States
Genre Fantasy
Publisher HarperTrophy
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover, Paperback) and Audiobook
ISBN 0-06-440705-5
OCLC 39641341
Followed by Fairest  

Ella Enchanted is a Newbery Honor [1] book written by Gail Carson Levine and published in 1997. The story is a retelling of Cinderella featuring various mythical creatures including fairies, elves, ogres, gnomes, and giants. In 2006, Levine went on to write Fairest , a retelling of the story of Snow White, set in the same world as Ella Enchanted. In 2018, Levine published Ogre Enchanted , a prequel to Ella Enchanted.


On April 9, 2004, a movie loosely based on the novel was released. It was directed by Tommy O'Haver and starred Anne Hathaway and Hugh Dancy as Ella and Prince Charmont, respectively. The film received mostly mixed reviews, and was heavily criticized for its changes to the source material. Levine stated that the film is "so different from the book that it's hard to compare them," noting the addition of new characters such as Sir Edgar and Heston, and suggested "regarding the movie as a separate creative act". [2]


Ella of Frell is given at her birth the gift of obedience by Lucinda the Fairy. She is now forced to follow through with every command she is told.

When Ella is almost fifteen, her mother dies, and she is sent to finishing school with two mean sisters, Hattie and Olive. Hattie discovers that Ella does whatever she is told and uses this for herself. Later, Ella's father marries Olga, who happens to the mother of Hattie and Olive. Ella cannot stand this and sets out to find Lucinda so she can reverse the spell.

Ella meets Prince Char on her journey and they help each other while growing to have romantic feelings. When she finds Lucinda, she pleads for her to retract the gift. Lucinda tells Ella to be grateful for the gift, and Ella is forced to feel that way.

Olga, the new stepmother, hates Ella and makes her work as a servant in her own house. Olga, Hattie, and Olive abuse Ella’s obedience while Ella's father is away.

Wanting to communicate with each other, Ella and Prince Char write letters, but she fears her curse could be used against him and be very dangerous for him since he is a prince. Char asks Ella to be his wife, but she refuses in order to protect him. She misleads him into thinking she is involved with someone else. Mandy, the cook, hates to see Ella so hurt and calls Lucinda to tell her to go under the gift of obedience for a while. Lucinda comes back feeling horribly for Ella but is not able to lift the spell off her. Lucinda tells her she can only do it herself.

When Prince Char returns from his travels, a royal ball is held. Ella goes in disguise, with the help of Mandy and Lucinda. At the ball, she dances with Char, who still wants Ella. But Hattie unmasks Ella, causing her to flee, losing one of her glass slippers. Char finds the slipper and goes to her home to demand she marry him. Still concerned for the safety of the kingdom, she finds the strength to refuse his command, thus breaking Lucinda’s spell. Now Ella is able to marry Char on her own accord, and she happily accepts. They live together in his castle, happily ever after.

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  1. Newbery Medal and Honor Books, 1922-Present. Association for Library Service to Children. Accessed on June 29, 2010.
  2. "Gail Carson Levine". Kidsreads.com. Retrieved 2008-11-11.