[Book Review] Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister

Confessions_of_an_Ugly_Stepsister_coverTitle: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
Author: Gregory Maguire
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy tales
Published: November 1999 by HarperCollins Publishers
Source: Borrowed from a friend

WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT?

Here’s a description from the publisher:

We all have heard the story of Cinderella, the beautiful child cast out to slave among the ashes. But what of her stepsisters, the homely pair exiled into ignominy by the fame of their lovely sibling? What fate befell those untouched by beauty . . . and what curses accompanied Cinderella’s exquisite looks?

Extreme beauty is an affliction

Set against the rich backdrop of seventeenth-century Holland, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister tells the story of Iris, an unlikely heroine who finds herself swept from the lowly streets of Haarlem to a strange world of wealth, artifice, and ambition. Iris’s path quickly becomes intertwined with that of Clara, the mysterious and unnaturally beautiful girl destined to become her sister.

Clara was the prettiest child, but was her life the prettiest tale?

While Clara retreats to the cinders of the family hearth, burning all memories of her past, Iris seeks out the shadowy secrets of her new household–and the treacherous truth of her former life.

Far more than a mere fairy-tale, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister is a novel of beauty and betrayal, illusion and understanding, reminding us that deception can be unearthed–and love unveiled–in the most unexpected of places.

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[Book Review] A Tale Dark and Grimm

A_Tale_Dark_and_Grim_coverTitle: A Tale Dark and Grimm
Author: Adam Gidwitz
Genre: Fairy tales, Fantasy
Published: October 2010 by Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
The publisher rates it as suitable for ages 10 and up
Source: Purchased from the bookstore

WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT?

Here’s a description from the author’s website:

Come on in. It may be frightening, and it’s certainly bloody, but, unlike those other fairy tales you know, this one is true. Once upon a time, you see, fairy tales were awesome.

In this mischievous and utterly original debut, Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm–inspired tales. As readers follow the siblings through a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind (and beyond) the bread crumbs, edible houses, and outwitted witches. Fairy tales have never been more irreverent or subversive as Hansel and Gretel learn to take charge of their destinies and become the clever architects of their own happily ever after.

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