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The Fairest of Them All: A Novel Paperback – August 6, 2013

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Original edition (August 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451683782
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451683783
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #374,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Turgeon . . . imaginatively combines murder, revenge, sex, magic, and other genre tropes into a dark and twisted fairy tale.” (Publishers Weekly)

"Turgeon incorporates a sense of melancholy that adds an enormous amount of depth and sympathy. . . . Rapunzel's . . . absolute devastation at a shocking discovery ring[s] true, adding a layer of realism to the magic-sparked tale. Lovers of fairy tales will enjoy Turgeon's fresh take on classic stories." (Library Journal)

"The connection Turgeon makes between the two familiar fairy tales brings out the humanity in the 'wicked queen' of the Snow White story, making the reader see how she came to be who she was. Fans of fairy tales and paranormal romances will both enjoy this magical little tale." (Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm for Shelf Awareness)

"Intricate, inventive, and charged with magic. Carolyn Turgeon masterfully clears the mists of fairy tale and legend to reveal the complex humanity that lies beneath the stories of Rapunzel and Snow White." (Eleanor Brown, New York Times bestselling author of The Weird Sisters)

"I loved this unexpected spin on the story of Rapunzel, a strong-willed devourer of hearts. Be careful, she just might take a bite of yours." (Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet)

"Magical, mythical and totally original, Turgeon's haunting story of Rapunzel and Snow White unfolds like a waking dream, with prose that shimmers like cut diamonds. About love, longing, and loss, it turns the fairy tale into something as provocative as it is profound." (Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and Is It Tomorrow)

"Forget everything you know about fairy tales filled with glamorous princesses and happy endings. In Carolyn Turgeon's skilled hands, characters that have long been the bedrock of literature come to life, revealing their all too human desires, and a mesmerizing, hidden darkness. Her body of work is already substantial and growing, which is good news for readers everything. Fairest of Them All will move her into a larger sphere, worldwide. I loved this book from start to finish." (Jo-Ann Mapson, author of Solomon's Oak and Finding Casey)

“Turgeon reimagines two fairy tales to produce a lush, dark yarn. Her steadfast vision reveals the shadow and light battling in each of the characters’ hearts.” (Margaret Dilloway, author of How to Be an American Housewife)

“There are fairy tale princesses like Rapunzel, who are lovely and compassionate and kind. And there are fairy tale villainesses like Snow White’s stepmother, who are ambitious and clever and wicked. In Carolyn Turgeon’s brilliant retelling, however, good and evil are combined to create a fairy tale anti-heroine who could break your heart – and then eat it.” (Alisa Kwitney/Sheckley, author of Token, Flirting in Cars, and Moonburn)

The Fairest of Them All possesses the spirit of all great fairy tales—filled with brave hearts, twists of fate, and incredible transformations. Carolyn Turgeon honors the traditional stories of Rapunzel and Snow White yet intertwines their lives in a way that gives the tales, as well as both women, new dimensions. The dark, sensual magic at work in this book will allure readers right to the shocking, beautiful end.” (Ronlyn Domingue, author of The Mapmaker’s War)

“How very lucky we grownups are to have Carolyn Turgeon’s fairy tale to captivate us. What a joy to be delighted again by witches, princesses and Kings – now all fleshed out and psychologically complex and compelling. Under Turgeon’s deft hand, Rapunzel’s and Snow White’s tale is as beautiful as it terrifying. Enter into this enchanted forest and be enthralled!” (M.J. Rose, author of The Reincarnationist)

"To call Carolyn Turgeon’s The Fairest of Them All a retelling doesn’t seem quite accurate. This story of Rapunzel and Snow White may feel as familiar as it is thoroughly innovative, but it reads like an original – like the real story. Turgeon has managed to peel back centuries of dressing and sweetness and lace that have been heaped upon these characters. She has plucked them from their perfumed clouds, and returned them to their primal form, to the unique women they were once, before their fairy tales diluted them. In gratitude, they sing from the pages, all full of suffering and longing and ferocious intellect. This is the Rapunzel I have always wanted to know." (Jeanine Cummins, author of A Rip in Heaven)

"I love all of Carolyn Turgeon's novels, and this is her best yet. Sensual and captivating, The Fairest of Them All follows the life and loves of a classic fairy-tale villain – the Wicked Stepmother. We gain sympathy for this devil, as the novel fathoms the depths of her vanity and her history of heartbreak. I was ready to follow this magical story anywhere it took me, and it was full of surprises and delights every step of the way." (Timothy Schaffert, author of The Coffins of Little Hope)

About the Author

Carolyn Turgeon is the author of Rain Village, Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story, Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale, and the young adult novel The Next Full Moon. She is the editor of Mermaids, a special-edition annual magazine, and teaches writing in the low-residency MFA program at the University of Alaska at Anchorage. Find out more at and

Customer Reviews

This book keeps you guessing to the end.
She has her very own twist on the Anderson fairy tale and I loved every word.
C. Bender
So when I read this synopsis I knew I had to read this book.
Kaytee (Flirting with Fiction)

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Ward on August 12, 2013
Format: Paperback
4.5 Stars

'The Fairest of Them All' is a mesmerizing fairy tale retelling that answers a curious question: What if Rapunzel was Snow White's evil stepmother? We are all familiar with the fairy tales and these two famous women, but what if they were connected in a way nobody has ever known before?

This was a captivating and enchanting novel that I couldn't put down. Fairy tales and retellings are pretty popular right now, but this one stood out for me. I loved the idea of mixing two fairy tales together - Rapunzel and Snow White - and playing out what would happen. Like most, I have never considered the possibility that these two could be related - let alone Rapunzel being Snow White's evil stepmother. I was instantly curious about the plot and dying to see what would become of the story. What the novel gave me far exceeded any expectations I may have had and then some. The narrative is told from Rapunzel's point of view, and begins when she is just a teenager. We get an inside look at her life at the tower and how she helps heal those around her - although she always dreams of something more for herself. I loved getting to know this famous girl by listening to her thoughts and seeing her daily life. She was a wonderful character - kind, strong, smart, devoted, and beautiful. As the book progresses, we see Rapunzel's character mature, grow, and then change as she falls in love with the prince (who becomes king) and when she ascends the throne as the new queen (and there's magic!). I both loved and hated seeing her character grow and change - it made the story both sweet and heartbreaking. Since it's told from Rapunzel's POV, you get to see what really happens behind the scenes on her side and things aren't as simple as you would think.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By shelfishness on December 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
The Fairest of Them All by Carolyn Turgeon is a masterful blend of fairy tales and tells the full story of Rapunzel. The golden-haired beauty was rescued from neglectful parents by Mathena, a witch (or healer as she prefers to be called), growing up in an abandoned palace tower in the forest. Raised to understand the power of herbs and potions, Rapunzel doesn't realize her own magic until a young man wanders into the forest near the tower; smitten almost immediately, it is not long before she realizes that she has fallen for the prince of the nearby kingdom. After Mathena forbids Rapunzel to attend a palace party, the prince sneaks back to the tower, climbs up Rapunzel's hair, and has a magical moment. Quickly, however, Rapunzel realizes through her magical hair that despite the prince's affection for her, he has been promised to a princess from another kingdom because she will ensure peace between the kingdoms.

Over the years, Rapunzel tries to forget about the prince as he marries, becomes king, and has a beautiful daughter named Snow White. One night when one of the queen's ladies-in-waiting comes to the tower, though, her feelings for the now king are renewed, and when Mathena makes a toxic tea for the queen, Rapunzel doesn't protest. Soon after the queen's death, the king comes back to the tower to ask for Rapunzel's hand in marriage. While Rapunzel is thrilled, she is ill prepared for the gossip, the resentment, and the secrets of the palace. Rapunzel grows to love Snow White and adores the king, but realizes that she has few friends in the palace. After failing to provide the king with a male heir, Rapunzel grows miserable, a feeling which is compounded as other secrets unfold.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Suzi Hough VINE VOICE on October 25, 2013
Format: Paperback
Rapunzel lives in the forest with her adopted mother, an herbalist/witch known throughout the kingdom for her abilities to get rid of unwanted babies or create love spells to draw a husband back to his wife. The young woman is the greatest beauty in the land, and her long, golden hair has magical properties that allow her to access the thoughts and feelings of anyone who touches it. When the song of the king happens to find her, they instantly fall in love, and after one glorious afternoon together Rapunzel is convinced they belong together. The prince, however, returns home and marries the woman he is betrothed to, while back in the forest Rapunzel carries his son in her womb. However, after a few years the prince – now a king – loses his wife, and he seeks out Rapunzel once more. Their love is as strong as ever, and she happily agrees, vowing to become a great queen and stepmother to the prince's daughter...a beautiful, bright girl named Snow White.

"The Fairest of Them All" is quite enchanting. Based on two traditional fairy tales, it seamlessly combines the two stories into one narrative full of suspense and drama. Rapunzel is the narrator, and her growth from innocent nymph of the woods into a beautiful but kind-hearted stepmother and finally to reviled queen that demands Snow White's heart to devour is storytelling in its purest form. Turgeon really digs deep into the inherent darkness of fairy tales, and looks beyond the “happily ever after” to uncover what happens after the prince finally captures his princess.

This was done in a very realistic way. When Rapunzel arrives at the palace of the king for the wedding, she is shocked that he doesn't immediately greet her.
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More About the Author

Carolyn Turgeon is the author of five novels: Rain Village; Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story; Mermaid; The Next Full Moon, her first children's book; and The Fairest of Them All. She's also the editor of Faerie Magazine.

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The Fairest of Them All: A Novel
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