All The Ever Afters: The Untold Story Of Cinderella’s Stepmother by Danielle TellerAll The Ever Afters: The Untold Story Of Cinderella’s Stepmother by Danielle Teller

All The Ever Afters: The Untold Story Of Cinderella’s Stepmother

byDanielle Teller

Hardcover | May 22, 2018

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In the vein of Wicked, The Woodcutter, and Boy, Snow, Bird, a luminous reimagining of a classic tale, told from the perspective of Agnes, Cinderella’s "evil" stepmother.

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.

Lyrically told, emotionally evocative, and brilliantly perceptive, All the Ever Afters explores the hidden complexities that lie beneath classic tales of good and evil, all the while showing us that how we confront adversity reveals a more profound, and ultimately more important, truth than the ideal of "happily ever after."

Title:All The Ever Afters: The Untold Story Of Cinderella’s StepmotherFormat:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.21 inPublished:May 22, 2018Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062798200

ISBN - 13:9780062798206

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Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Fairy Tale Turned On Its Head Thank you to Edelweiss, William Morrow and Danielle Teller for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Rating 3.5 stars There are always two sides to every story and “All The Ever Afters” wants you to hear Cinderella’s evil stepmother’s perspective. Was she always evil? If not, what could have made her that way? Time to hear the tale that leads from Agnes Vil-de-Loup’s early life until her happily ever after. We are first introduced to young Agnes at the age of nine when she is sent off to work in the laundry. Even from a young age, we can see that Agnes keeps a sharp eye out for any opportunity to improve her situation. While at the manor she is given the task of cleaning up the master, as he is nothing more than a drunken slob. She manages to make an impression on Sir Emont. How fortuitous that after her first husband dies, she manages to come under his care again and become a nurse to his young daughter. How fortuitous a second time that after his wife dies, Agnes has made herself so indispensable that he cannot do without her and is cajoled into marrying her. From laundry girl to owning an alehouse to marrying a highborn, Agnes had a knack for improving every situation she found herself in. True, she was hard working and cannot be blamed for trying to elevate her station in life. At this time, being a female meant that you had no agency and she was often at the mercy of men or those above her. Several times she was stripped of everything she had worked for and had to find the strength to get back up again and make a better life for herself and her daughters. But don’t be fooled, she has a mean streak. If you come for what’s hers, be sure that she will take vengeance. I really enjoyed the first part of this novel. The premise that the tale of Cinderella that you have heard all these years is simply gossip, with facts exaggerated and embellished upon each telling, is delicious food for thought. Was Ella simply a spoiled brat? I love turning things on their head and examining it through a different lens. What if Charlotte, just by having darker skin, was not ugly but simply a victim of racism. There isn’t a woman alive who doesn’t understand being held to an unattainable standard of beauty. If Matilda was scarred, would she not seem ugly and scary to some children. And really, is anyone sawing off toes to fit into shoes? Danielle Teller had me for most of this journey, but there was a noticeable lag halfway through the novel. Although beautifully written, with descriptive and detailed language, somehow the emotion and investment in the characters was lost. I found myself flipping through each page, not eagerly, but rather just to get to the end. I noticed that I wasn’t rooting for Agnes anymore and found the tone changed. I wasn’t buying into Agnes’ perspective. It made me feel like I was reading someone’s journal who wrote it with the idea in mind that someone was going to read it and they wanted to be shown in the best light possible. It made me shift back to believing that the original story of Cinderella was probably true. I will finish off with a warning that there were some scenes that had mature sexual content. They were in no way offensive and very appropriate to the story, but I was thinking that I would use this in my classroom. I do a fairy tale unit and often do it in a way that challenges the way we think and encourages the students to explore different perspectives from the various characters in the tales. So I only mention it because in my school, it wouldn’t be appropriate. That being said, there are parts that I would love to use as a jumping off point, I’m just not sure how to do it without referencing the text. Overall, I found this book enjoyable. It was original in thought and made you think outside the box. Rather than relying on magic and fairy godmothers, you are presented with a story of a real woman who has lived a full, if not trying life and came out the other side. Teller has a gift with words, her writing is beautiful. She subtlety and thoughtfully comments on important issues like class, racism, feminism and others. I really look forward to reading from her in the future. Does Agnes get her happily ever after? Well, you will just have to read the book to find out!
Date published: 2018-05-28

Editorial Reviews

Sometimes you’ve only heard one part of the story. Cinderella’s famously maligned stepmother, Agnes, gets to tell her own side in this clever take on the fairy tale.”