Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Book Review: All the Ever Afters

I absolutely LOVE re-tellings of classics so when I saw this one in reference to Cinderella, I absolutely HAD to review it. 

All the Ever Afters - Danielle Teller

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.
If you are a fan of Cinderella, you absolutely need to have this one in your library. When we read the classic version the step mother is painted as this horribly mean and cruel person, set to ruining Cinderella's life and tries to put her ugly step daughters ahead at all costs. She's painted as a villain, one nobody could possibly like. 

Then we have this book, that changes everything. 

It starts with the step mother as a child, Agnes is born into a poor family and upon the death of her mother during childbirth, she's sent to live at the manor and basically be a servant. She has no other choice, her family cannot feed her and that's just what you did. So she's like eight to ten years old, sent off into the world to become a laundry girl and her life of servitude begins. She lives a fairly harsh, cruel life being subjected to all kinds of things a young girl shouldn't experience and the treatment today would make you blanch. 

Turns our that Elfilda (Cinderella) is kind of a moron and she's almost portrayed as maybe not having all her wits about her. She isn't anything like the movie version in fact, she's painted in a light that makes you feel sorry that the step-mother was even left with her to begin with and her marrying the prince was the best thing for everyone. 

I'm telling you that this books does what the movie Maleficent did for her, makes her likeable and makes you feel sorry for her in ways you couldn't imagine. 

There is SO MUCH I want to talk about with this book but I can't because it kind of gives it away. I will tell you that if you like classic stories, you need to add this to your list because you will not be disappointed. The book reads quickly, it has short chapters, but it's written so well that you don't want to stop. Your heart breaks for Agnes and you become #teamvillain in ways that even Disney couldn't do. I will say that this is even OK for teenagers to read, my 12 year old is reading it now. It would even make an interesting assignment for middle or high school students to do a comparison of characters between the movie and this book. So many possibilities with this one! 

And this cover is everything. It's so pretty, it looks stunning on my shelf. *sigh* You can find this gem on Amazon but also the HarperCollins website, too! 

1 comment:

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

It does sound like a pretty good book