Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
by Gregory Maguire
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?
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.
I must admit at the start of this review that I had a preconceived notion about this book. I did not want to read it and didn't think it would be a book that I would enjoy. It was a book chosen and voted on by my book club and I did not vote for it! This was the first book that I have read by this author so I did not have anything to compare it too...No, I have not read Wicked! I was actually pleasantly surprised that I was pulled quickly into the story and it held my interest through to the end.
This is the story behind the story about Cinderella. It is the adult version of childhood fairy tales. I liked that the story was told from the viewpoint of the ugly stepsisters as you were able to understand them more clearly and their past and present situations. The author has much to say about concepts of being beautiful and ugly. The story was rich with strong characters that were well developed. There were many unexpected twists and turns throughout the story that held my interest to the end. I would recommend the book, especially considering that I wasn't keen on reading it and ended up enjoying after all. I just may give Wicked a try in the future!