All the Ever Afters
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.”
"As in the best literary inversions (e.g., Gregory Maguire's Wicked), Teller demonstrates the flaws and fine points of characters on both sides." -- Washington Post "[A] charmed debut [....] Teller pulls off the spellbinding trick of turning an easy-to-hate character into a strong and conscientious female lead." -- Publishers Weekly "Teller's reimagined tale. . .stands out among the best. . . . Fairy-tale aficionados will adore Teller's complex, touching retelling of this classic story of womanhood, perseverance, and familial love, in which she strikes an ideal balance between familiar and fresh." -- Booklist (starred review) "Teller's novel is a powerfully written rendition of the Cinderella story... Tells a complex tale of a love that forms through patient nurturing and by just being present." -- Book Club Babble "Teller woos readers into taking a better, more open-eyed look at a character that's been maligned for centuries, one with strength and who's worthy of stunned sympathy." -- Guam Daily Post "A fascinating reimagining of the original tale. . . .Readers will feel empathy for Agnes, consider various misunderstandings and think twice before labeling her as wicked." -- Associated Press 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." -- New York Post
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