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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.
I love fairy tales but this book was not what I expected it to be. I bought it, after seeing the Broadway musical Wicked, along with Wicked/Son of a Witch. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Alysa
I enjoy reading more adult versions of childhood stories and this one did not disappoint. I like how there isn't an implicit "good guy" or "bad guy". Read morePublished 1 month ago by Twin 2
I have read this book 3 times over the yeears and it seems better each time.Published 2 months ago by Hannah Yakin
A good read but I thought the ending was rushed. As always Gregory Maguire gives a unique take on our classic stories.Published 2 months ago by Deborah Harmon
Reading this story of Cinderella makes the fairy tale much more believable. It's theme of beauty provides fodder for the human condition and makes for some thoughtful reflection. Read morePublished 3 months ago by glenda the good witch
The first book I read by Gregory Maguire was Wicked and I have read most of his books since then. Confessions of an ugly Stepsister was a very interesting take on the Cinderella... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Nikole Johnson