Keep reading for YOUR chance to win this great book!
Check out today's brand-new guest post with author Carolyn Turgeon
on the genesis of FAIREST OF THEM ALL!
Stay tuned in March! Carolyn Turgeon is now editing Faerie Magazine, and the March issue will feature fairy tale stories from Joanne HArris and Kate Forsyth (Author of BITTER GREENS, and interviewed earlier this week!), an interview with Maria Tatar, and a Rapunzel poem from Mary McMyne!
Mark your calendars for FEBRUARY 24th. Carolyn's publisher is doing a secretive ONE DAY SALE on nook!!!!
Ohhh, what will it be!?
A U T H O R T R A I L E R:
This review first appeared at A Backwards Story on
April 2, 2013 during Fairy Tale Fortnight.
Last year when THE NEXT FULL MOON debuted, I was lucky enough to meet Carolyn Turgeon. She whispered secrets about how she was working on a book about Rapunzel that had an unexpected twist: Rapunzel grows up to become Snow White's Stepmother. What a stunner! I immediately wanted to know more, and I'm so excited to share my review of that book, FAIREST OF THEM ALL, with you now. One thing I love about all of Turgeon's books is the way she mixes fairy tales in new, innovative ways. There's heart, there's motivation, there's...humanity. Fairy tale characters are more than just sweet, kind souls who live Happily Ever After. There's betrayal and heartache, too, just like in real life, and this infusion makes Turgeon's books more realistic to me. I talk a little bit more about this element when discussing GODMOTHER and MERMAID in a guest post I wrote during the inaugural Fairy Tale Fortnight. Turgeon's books, as with the vast majority of fairy tale retellings, are period pieces, yet hers have a more historical feel than many others I've read.
It amazes me to see how different Turgeon's books are from one another, yet how easy it is to point her tone out from everyone else's. I could do it blindfolded. GODMOTHER features magical realism and leaves you questioning so much, MERMAID features a dual POV from not only The Little Mermaid's very own mermaid, but the human princess destined to marry the prince. Even THE NEXT FULL MOON is unique, revolving around the Swan Maiden's daughter as she begins following in her mother's footsteps. Now, with FAIREST OF THEM ALL, readers are treated to a tale of love and heartache as the story of Rapunzel is turned on its head and twisted together with Snow White in a way you wouldn't expect. There's also a twist that brings in an additional fairy tale toward the very end of the book, but it's very blink-and-you-miss-it, and since it's at the end and a secret, I obviously can't say anymore on the topic.
It's very easy to sympathize with Rapunzel, who falls instantly for the traveling prince she can never have. She's grown up sheltered by Mathena Gothel her entire life, safe in the knowledge that Mathena saved her from a mother who didn't want her, carrying only for her rapunzel-addiction. She mixes herbs and plants alonside Mathena for women wishing to forget heartache, looking to terminate a pregnancy, increase fertility, etc. She never realizes that Mathena is more than she says, harboring deep secrets of her own. When Prince Josef visits and meets Rapunzel, the attraction is instant. Mathena forbids them from seeing one another again and locks Rapunzel away in the tower, but the prince comes back and climbs her hair. When he leaves again, he gives Rapunzel both a child and the knowledge that he's destined to marry another woman. There is no happiness for her. When she later loses the baby, Rapunzel falls into a deep depression. Over time, she learns to live again, and then the day comes when Josef returns. His Queen has died and, having never forgotten Rapunzel, he returns to ask her hand in marriage. But court life isn't what Rapunzel envisioned it would be, especially when every time she looks at her lovely stepdaughter Snow White, she sees the face of her dead rival, a woman she had a hand in killing...
As with all of Turgeon's books, there are twists and turns and unexpected surprises that no reader will see coming, try as one might. There were realizations that left me reeling in ways both familiar and unexpected, having previously seen the way Turgeon likes to be twisty in both GODMOTHER and MERMAID. Fans of either books will be pleased with FAIREST OF THEM ALL. There's even more to savor this time around, because there's so much motivation. I love the backstory of a villain as much as the next person, but I never envisioned a villain who was formerly a heroine, craving nothing more than her own Happily Ever After. And the way destiny is ultimately shaped works in a fashion similar to MERMAID in the fact that it's a mesh of both the original fairy tale and a deviation of the author's own imagination. We understand so much about the woman destined to become Snow White's Stepmother, see what makes her tick, why she thinks and feels the way she does. Most of all, we emphasize with her, root for her, sympathize as we watch her heart break.
And that's really all I can say about FAIREST OF THEM ALL without giving too much away!
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