Sarah Price wonders if there really is a happily ever after.
“And they lived happily ever after…”
Sigh. Isn’t that the ending that we all want for our lives when it comes to romance?
Of course, as adults (cough cough), we know that no one lives happily ever after. Following the walk down the aisle comes adjusting to life with our new partner, arguments over what position the toilet lid should be left (DOWN in ALL cases!!!), and who takes out the garbage, walks the dog, unloads the groceries, etc.
But, as readers, we all still long for that happily ever after ending.
Maybe that’s why I love to write. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve written love stories. My mind would reel with the possibilities of how two people could meet and overcome obstacles to fall in love. Today, as a permanent 23-year-old…well, maybe I’ll bump that to 29-year-old…not much has changed. I still love reading fairy tales — whether it’s Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, or even Pride and Prejudice! Okay, so maybe Jane Austen is not technically a fairy tale, but it has all of the elements.
On May 29th, my book Ella, An Amish Adaptation of Cinderella was released. As a writer, there is nothing more exciting than the release date of a new novel. As an author, there is nothing more terrifying! For months — sometimes years! – I have worked on a novel that will soon be in the hands of thousands of readers around the world. They will meet my characters and read my words. Will they love it as much as I do?
I speak for myself only when I say that having my readers fall in love with my characters is my #1 goal when I write to publish. In Ella, I had the added stress of recreating a story that is so familiar to most readers AND have the story set within the Amish community. Being very familiar with the Amish culture and religion (I was born into a Mennonite family and actually spent years living on an Amish farm as a tenant), I always feel confident in the accuracy of my portrayal of the Amish society. But to fit Cinderella into such an austere way of life?
That, my friends, is the challenge that I both love and fear. When I retold Jane Austen’s novels, I thought it would be very hard to overcome those obstacles. I mean let’s be real here. The high society of England in the 1800s is very unlike the Amish, right?
Wrong. There are amazing similarities. The unwritten rules. The gender roles. The way of life. They are actually very similar. But to do the same with a fairy tale?
In the beginning, it was hard to come up with a realistic storyline. I couldn’t have magical fairy god mothers, helpful mice and birds, and (gasp) a glass slipper. And yet I found ways to weave those into the story. As for humor, there are comedic scenes which wasn’t too hard to do, given that I had two jealous and spoiled stepsisters to work with. Prince Charming was easy, too. Even the Amish love a good romance, although it is usually without the pre-marital physical aspect of love. Instead, it is emotional and psychological which, to me, is just was romantic…if not more so.
The bottom line is that fairy tales DO exist. We only have to look beyond the “thereafter” – toilet seats, dog walking, garbage removal, etc. – to find romance in everything we do. And even if the story is set in the Amish community, romance is alive and well, just there for the readers who are intrigued to see how Cinderella would have managed if she had, indeed, been Amish!
In Sarah Price’s heartwarming Amish version of this best-loved fairytale, a hardworking, overlooked young woman is rewarded in unexpected ways …
“Be kind and have faith.” Ella Troyer strives to abide by her mother’s final words, although life in the small Amish town of Echo Creek isn’t always easy. Her new stepmother, Linda, treats her coldly, and her two stepsisters, Drusilla and Anna, delight in gossip and laziness. After her father’s death, Ella’s stepsisters are free to attend youth singings while Ella stays at home to manage the household chores, rarely seeing another soul. Until one day, while running an errand, she has a chance meeting with a young Amish man from a nearby town.
Drusilla and Anna are full of admiration for charming, affluent newcomer Johannes Wagler, and Linda hopes to ensnare him as a husband for one of her girls — while keeping Ella out of the way. As for Hannes, he longs to catch another glimpse of the mysterious young woman who can sing so sweetly and bake the most delicious pie he’s ever sampled. Now, with a little help from some unlikely sources, Ella dares to hope she might find her heart’s dearest wishes — for love, family, and a home of her own — coming true at last …
Sarah Price always knew that she wanted to be a writer. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, she now writes full-time from her thirty-acre horse ranch in Archer, Florida where her daughter, Cat, trains wild mustangs. The simpler pace of life living on her farm in northern Florida reminds Ms. Price of her upbringing in a Mennonite family as well as the many years that she spent living among the Amish communities in Pennsylvania beginning in 1978 until she moved to Florida.