All the Ever Afters
Book Feature - All the Ever Afters by Danielle Teller
HBL Note: After seeing my cousin perform in Wicked on Broadway, I've LOVED hearing the back stories of fairy tales. I still haven't read Wicked by Gregory Maguire who just came out with a new book called Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker which also sounds amazing. I have so many fond memories of attending (and performing in) the Nutcracker each year for Christmas. It doesn't really feel like the Holidays until I hear the Nutcracker music. So when I heard about All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella's Stepmother I got pretty excited. What girl didn't grow up hearing the story of Cinderella and her evil stepmother? At the time, she was my favorite princess (as an adult, of course, I take issue with fairy tales.) I love the idea of giving the "evil" stepmother some context, because we know in real life, people aren't just good and evil. Every character and person has their flaws but they have their redeeming qualities, too.
From the Publisher:
In the vein of Wicked, The Woodcutter, and Boy, Snow, Bird, a luminous reimagining of a classic tale, told from the perspective of Agnes, Cinderella’s "evil" stepmother.
We all know the story of Cinderella. Or do we?
As 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. . .
A 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.