What better way to end the week than with a book tour for a new fairytale retelling?
Thanks to William Morrow and TLC Book Tours for the free copy in exchange for my honest review!
ALL THE EVER AFTERS – Danielle Teller (out now!)
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.
Lyrically told, emotionally evocative, and brilliantly perceptive, All the Ever Afters explores the hidden complexities that lie beneath classic tales of good and evil, all the while showing us that how we confront adversity reveals a more profound, and ultimately more important, truth than the ideal of “happily ever after.”
My Thoughts: 5/5 stars!
While horror and thrillers make up the bulk of my reading, I will always have a soft spot for fairy tales and their retellings. There’s something about seeing a new spin on the characters and stories we love that keeps that genre so interesting and refreshing to me. I think my favorite is when we get a glimpse into the villains and their backstories. ALL THE EVER AFTERS by Danielle Teller follows the Evil Stepmother from Cinderella, and we get to see what Cinderella was really like before taking her crown.
Everyone knows of the hardships that Cinderella grew up with, and as word makes it around the kingdom of what their cherished new Princess had to live through, questions arise. Agnes, her stepmother, begins to write down her story. Not only her life story, but also her life with Cinderella growing up, and how everything isn’t always as it seems.
Agnes was forced into servitude at a young age, and even after escaping it she ends up back in the same situation. Throw in having a baby at a young age, she worked hard to support herself and her two daughters. Her newest job was being a nursemaid to a newborn girl, Ella, who would soon become her stepdaughter.
Teller does an amazing job weaving this story and giving depth to all of these characters. You feel empathy towards Agnes and her daughters – never thought you’d be hearing that about the “evil” stepmother and stepsisters! This is why I will always read retellings, the portrayal of good and evil all depends on the perspective of the story, and this makes you reevaluate what you thought you knew about Cinderella.
I can’t wait to see what Teller will come out with next and I would highly recommend this to anyone that loves Cinderella, retellings, or to whoever wants a good summer read!
About the Author:
Danielle Teller received her medical training at McGill University, Brown University, and Yale University. She has held faculty positions at the University of Pittsburgh and Harvard University. In 2013, Danielle pursued her childhood dream of being a writer. She is the author of one book of nonfiction, Sacred Cows: The Truth About Divorce and Marriage, and has written numerous columns for Quartz. She lives with her husband, Astro Teller, and their four children in Palo Alto, California. All the Ever Afters is her first novel.
Where to Purchase a Copy: