In a big old house, Ashgirl lives huddled deep in the protection of an ashy hearth. With her mother dead and her father away, she lives with her stepmother and two stepsisters. When the invitation to the ball arrives from the prince, Ashgirl finds the strength to go with the help of her friends, some of whom come from expected places. When she gets home, Ashgirl realizes that in order to regain the fleeting happiness she found in the arms of the prince, she must fight the monsters who have slithered and insinuated their way into her heart and mind. She must believe in herself for others to do so.