This book makes me cry every time I read the final pages. (No cheating!) Moss Gown is Cinderella meets King Lear set in the Deep South.
“Gris-gris, gris-gris, grine, Who’ll wear my gown so fine?” (pg16)
Candace is banished by her wicked sisters from their plantation home after giving a plain, unadorned answer to her father’s question, where her sisters sought to flatter their father’s vanity.
Candace, who adopts the name ‘Moss Gown’, goes to work at a plantation house where the young Master is going to throw a three-day picnic with dancing.
In the woods, Candace meets the Gris Gris Woman who gives her a magic gown for the ball and instructions to call her name if she needs help.
Of course, Moss Gown (transformed by the magic of the Gris Gris woman) and the young Master meet and fall in love…
For those of you readers who have read King Lear, you can guess the rest of the outcome of the story.
Donald Carrick is the illustrator and while it’s not my favorite (the colors feel dated and the painting style is smudgy), he does have some sweeping landscapes reminiscent of the antebellum period. The gowns especially are lacking in crinoline which makes me think this is definitely pre-Civil War era.