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But this is Cinderella, after all, and tragedy is inevitable. When a wealthy tulip speculator commissions the painter to capture his blindingly lovely daughter, Clara, on canvas, Margarethe jumps at the chance to better their lot. "Give me room to cast my eel spear, and let follow what may," she crows, and the Fisher family abandons the artist for the upper-crust Van den Meers.
When Van den Meer's wife dies during childbirth, the stage is set for Margarethe to take over the household and for Clara to adopt the role of "Cinderling" in order to survive. What follows is a changeling adventure, and of course a ball, a handsome prince, a lost slipper, and what might even be a fairy godmother. In a single magic night, the exquisite and the ugly swirl around in a heated mix:
Everything about this moment hovers, trembles, all their sweet, unreasonable hopes on view before anything has had the chance to go wrong. A stepsister spins on black and white tiles, in glass slippers and a gold gown, and two stepsisters watch with unrelieved admiration. The light pours in, strengthening in its golden hue as the sun sinks and the evening approaches. Clara is as otherworldly as the Donkeywoman, the Girl-Boy. Extreme beauty is an affliction...But beyond these familiar elements, Maguire's second novel becomes something else altogether--a morality play, a psychological study, a feminist manifesto, or perhaps a plain explanation of what it is to be human. Villains turn out to be heroes, and heroes disappoint. The story's narrator wryly observes, "In the lives of children, pumpkins can turn into coaches, mice and rats into human beings. When we grow up, we learn that it's far more common for human beings to turn into rats." --Therese Littleton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
As with most of Maguire's stories, this is a wonderful alternate telling of a classic. There is no magic, but it's built around the true meaning of love, from acceptance to... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Soul Raider 116
A very intriguing take on the fairytale Cinderella. It's refreshing to see that the evil stepsisters have a story behind them and that they're not the evil snotty stepsisters that... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Just like his other novels, Maguire writes a beautifully fun tale with rich descriptions and a twisted, yet familiar, story line. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rachelle McDonald
This is a hidden gem of a novel. Gregory Maguire takes pieces of Cinderella and builds a powerful story with a cast in which Cinderella is only one of the featured characters. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jerome Loew
Beautifully written, an interesting twist on the standard tale, moving it from France to the Netherlands. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Julie Davis