Title: The Untold Story of Cinderella’s Stepmother
Author: Danielle Teller
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: May 22, 2018
Source: TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "We all know the story of Cinderella. Or do we?
rumors about the cruel upbringing of beautiful newlywed Princess
Cinderella roil the kingdom, her stepmother, Agnes, who knows all too
well about hardship, privately records the true story. . . .
peasant born into serfdom, Agnes is separated from her family and forced
into servitude as a laundress’s apprentice when she is only ten years
old. Using her wits and ingenuity, she escapes her tyrannical matron and
makes her way toward a hopeful future. When teenaged Agnes is seduced
by an older man and becomes pregnant, she is transformed by love for her
child. Once again left penniless, Agnes has no choice but to return to
servitude at the manor she thought she had left behind. Her new position
is nursemaid to Ella, an otherworldly infant. She struggles to love the
child who in time becomes her stepdaughter and, eventually, the
celebrated princess who embodies everyone’s unattainable fantasies. The
story of their relationship reveals that nothing is what it seems, that
beauty is not always desirable, and that love can take on many guises."
My Two Cents:
"All the Ever Afters" turns the story of Cinderella's evil stepmother on its head. What if she, Agnes, wasn't really evil? What if she was just the victim of being misunderstood and over taken by rumors that got more than a little out of control? Reading like historical fiction more than fantasy or any other genre, this book gives us more insight into a beloved fairy tale.
This story doesn't just focus on Agnes' interactions with Ella but it gives the story of the beginning of her life and her rise from a servant girl to catching the eye of a wealthy man who will change her life. In its own way, Agnes' story feels like a fairy tale. We see how the events of her early life shape who she is later on.
I really liked that the author chose to give a historical fiction feel to the book. Not only is HistFic my favorite genre but I liked that the author chose to give it a little more realistic point of view than your typical fairy tale. I thought that this also lent to the idea that Agnes' reputation was caused by a bunch of rumors and misunderstandings. In this book, Princess Ella has a sort of magical quality about her but Agnes' retelling seeks to show that even the most beautiful things can be skewed by misunderstandings.
The narrative does get a little bogged down in explaining in some parts but overall, this was a great take on a beloved, well-known story!