by Carolyn Turgeon
Published by Touchstone Release date : August 6th 2013
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
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What if Rapunzel was Snow White’s evil stepmother?
From the author of Godmother and Mermaid, The Fairest of Them All explores what happens when fairy tale heroines grow up and don’t live happily ever after.
Living in an enchanted forest, Rapunzel spends her days tending a mystical garden with her adoptive mother, Mathena. A witch, Mathena was banished from court because of her magic powers, though the women from the kingdom still seek her advice and herbal remedies. She waits, biding her time to exact revenge against those who betrayed her.
One day Rapunzel’s beautiful voice and long golden locks captivate a young prince hunting in the forest nearby. Overcome, he climbs her hair up to her chamber and they fall into each other’s arms. But their afternoon of passion is fleeting, and the prince must return to his kingdom, as he is betrothed to another.
Now king, he marries his intended to bring peace to his kingdom. They have a stunning daughter named Snow White. Yet the king is haunted by his memories of Rapunzel, and after the mysterious death of his wife, realizes he is free to marry the woman he never stopped longing for. In hopes of also replacing the mother of his beloved daughter, the king makes Rapunzel his queen.
But when Mathena’s wedding gift of an ancient mirror begins speaking to her, Rapunzel falls under its evil spell, and the king begins to realize that Rapunzel is not the beautiful, kind woman he dreamed of.
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I am not all that familiar with Rapunzel. Set aside her long hair and that she lives in a tower, I don’t exactly know this tale. I felt like I had the upper hand because I didn’t have ANY expectations. Which in this case was a good thing.
First of all; lets discuss the writing. It was fantastic! She did a remarkable job taking these two fairy tales and weaving them together; making it unique and fascinating. I love how it’s in “story form”. Rapunzel is telling us her life story through writing.. I still felt very connected to her though, despite this. The story is over 15 years– but it was so smooth and wrapped up all that time between very well. It was slow going at first, I admit, but those small details in the beginning are crucial to the story. If you are familiar will either of these stories, you start to associate the characters with WHO they are/will be. Some predictable, yes– but there are quite a few twists as weaved in as well. One in particular made my jaw drop.
I often felt bad for Rapunzel. Her life was not easy her first years–or at all really– and was often heartbreaking. From the very beginning, I was wholly invested and rooting for her. She’s not necessarily “evil” but I still felt like I was rooting for the villain. She was so bitter and angry and these emotions slowly ate at her and transformed her over time. The powers in her hair (which I honestly don’t know if this is a “Rapunzel” thing or not) while interesting, would be a terrible burden to bear. Knowing what everyone was thinking ALL.THE.TIME. and smiling to your face to boot. This was a HUGE part of her bitterness and anger. Can you even imagine? Aside from that, she was pretty vain. But her beauty was the one thing she could basically count on. If that makes sense.
I loved how the story ended. It’s open-ended enough for you to use your own imagination on how everything else plays out. It’s not a happily ever after ending, but it isn’t a “bad” ending either. And it took a completely different direction then when it started. You think you know how things will play out– but you really don’t.
Overall- Beautifully written, entertaining and just good. I really liked it! I recommend it.