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” (From Goodreads)
Thank you TLC Book Tours and William Morrow Books for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own.
I rate this book a 4 out of 5 stars.
I originally only planned to review this on my Instagram account, but I didn’t think that allowed enough room for all of my thoughts.
This book was very thought-provoking, lyrical, and so exquisitely written. It was full of spectacular word choice. It was a re-telling of one of my most favorite Fairy Tales, and it was written for adults (younger people will love it too). It gave some very thorough insight into “The Wicked Step-Mother’s” side of the story, and for me (being part of a blended family) it was totally realistic and relatable.
I really enjoyed this story, I truly did sympathize with Agnes, she experienced some pretty terrible things growing up, from leaving her family, to becoming a laundress, to being taken advantage of, to becoming pregnant, and forced into marriage, to lose everything and ending back up a servant, and so much more that I cannot mention as I do not want to spoil it for you readers.
While I did not agree with the way Agnes treated her children, compared to how she treated Ella, it was a very common occurrence with blended families. One parent tends to over compensate so another child won’t feel left out, or disliked by the other parent. I liked how the author brought in a real life occurrence and brought it into this story, to show the readers why Agnes had treated Ella poorly, and why Agnes felt it was justified.
I was sad to see this book come to an end, the only negative that I can say is, I wish that there was more time spent showing the relationship between Agnes and Ella from her youth up until she married Prince Henry. I felt like it was really only a matter of a few chapters that we got to read about them. But in that same breath I also understand that it was supposed to be Agnes’s story and not Cinderellas.
I do look forward to reading more of Tellers writing. I am going to be a huge fan of hers, I am sure.
I was a candle that had never known a flame, and now that the flame was lit, I softened and glowed in a way I had not known was possible.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR- Danielle Teller (formerly Morse, née Dyck) grew up in Canada, where she and her two brothers were raised by the best parents in the world. As a child, she was a bookworm who dreamed of being a writer, but she chickened out and went to medical school instead. In 1994, she moved temporarily to America, and she has been living temporarily in America ever since.
Danielle attended Queen’s University during her undergraduate years, and she 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, where she investigated the origins of chronic lung disease and taught in the medical intensive care unit.
In 2013, Danielle quit her job to pursue her childhood dream of being a writer. She lives with her husband, Astro Teller, and their four children in Palo Alto, California. She is currently working on her second novel.