Synopses & Reviews
Is this new land a place where magics really happen?
From Gregory Maguire, the acclaimed author of Wicked, comes his much-anticipated second novel, a brilliant and provocative retelling of the timeless Cinderella tale.
In the lives of children, pumpkins can turn into coaches, mice and rats into human beings.... When we grow up, we learn that it's far more common for human beings to turn into rats....
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.
God and Satan snarling at each other like dogs.... Imps and fairy godmotbers trying to undo each other's work. How we try to pin the world between opposite extremes!
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.
"There was a time, long ago, when Cinderella was simply a children's tale in which good triumphed over bad, pretty over ugly, pumpkins and mice over carriages and footmen....Now, the story has much more depth. Gregory Maguire has applied his devilish writing style and vivid imagination to the story of the glass slipper, and, in doing so, turned this simple tale into a Gothic saga of 17th-century Holland." Fort Worth Morning Star-Telegram
"Highly absorbing...Maguire's precise, slightly archaic language...sweeps readers through this mysterious and fascinating story." Booklist
"[An] engrossing story...endearing and memorable." Boston Herald
"[An] arresting hybrid of mystery, fairy tale, and historical novel."
Detroit Free Press
"A tale so movingly told that you will say at the end of the first reading, 'Its been a long time since Ive read a book this good."
The acclaimed author of Wicked
conjures up a fresh perspective on the timeless tale of Cinderella in this provocative, superbly written story about the true meaning of beauty. Line drawings throughout.
Gregory Maguire proves himself to be “one of contemporary fictions most assured myth-makers” (Kirkus Reviews) with Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, his ingenious and provocative retelling of the timeless Cinderella fairy tale. Perhaps best known for his dark and breathtaking Oz series The Wicked Years — including the novel Wicked, which inspired the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical — Maguire is a master at upending the ordinary to help us see the familiar in a brilliant new light.
About the Author
Gregory Maguire received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Tufts University. His work as a consultant in creative writing for children takes him to speaking engagements across the United States and abroad. He is a founder and codirector of Children's Literature New England, Incorporated, a non-profit educational charity established in 1987. The author of numerous books for children, Mr. Maguire is also a contributor to Am I Blue?: Coming Out From the Silence, a collection of short stories for gay and lesbian teenagers.