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review 2018-09-05 19:20
Not the Cinderella story that you know...
 All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella’s Stepmother - Danielle Teller

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~BOOK BLURB~

All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella's Stepmother

Danielle Teller

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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.

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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Take the story of Cinderella and take out all the fantastical elements and you'll have an idea of what this story is about.  This is not fantasy…it's more like historical fiction.  This is all the harshness and unfairness of the medieval times with a Cinderella twist.  Told from the point of view of Agnes…the so-called wicked Step-mother.  Her story is decidedly poignant and I totally empathized with her.  Despite having some slow spots in the beginning, I thoroughly enjoyed this, and by the halfway point, I was totally invested. 

 

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~MY RATING~

4.2STARS - GRADE=B+

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 4.2/5

Main Characters~ 4/5

Secondary Characters~ 3.8/5

The Feels~ 4/5

Pacing~ 3.5/5

Addictiveness~ 4/5

Theme or Tone~ 4/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 3.5/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 4.3/5

Originality~ 4.7/5

Ending~ 4.5/5 Cliffhanger~ Nope.

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Book Cover~ It's okay…

Narration~4 for Jane Copeland, was admirably done.

Setting~ Some sort of Shire and a royal court, it was hard to decipher.

Source~ Audiobook (Library)

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text 2018-08-22 16:55
Reading progress update: I've read 49%.
 All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella’s Stepmother - Danielle Teller

Wow, this book is actually hardcore surprising me with its complexity. I guess I just expected your standard "retelling" with a few things changed and really the overall story mostly intact. Teller has me stunned though, because this book has me feeling things I honestly wasn't ready for.

 

Who knew I'd actually want to hug the "wicked stepmother" and the "ugly stepsisters"? If this ends strong, I think this might be my favorite book so far this year.

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review 2018-06-11 23:06
All The Ever Afters
 All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella’s Stepmother - Danielle Teller

Agnes is the third daughter born to a serf in an English village. When she is still a child she is sent to work at Aviceford Manor in town as a laundry apprentice. The laundress she works for simply gives Agnes all the work there is to do. While things seem hopeless Agnes cuts out a place for herself and chooses to work wisely instead of hard. Through her intelligence and cunning, Agnes finds her way up in the world to serve the abbesses mother, Lady Wenslock at Ellis Abbey. While at the abbey, Agnes is wooed by the messenger, Fernan and becomes pregnant. Together, they are sent away and Fernan is ordered to care for her. Agnes once again creates a better life for herself by learning how to brew. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Agnes is once again forced back to Aviceford Manor as a servent, this time she is an adult with children of her own and she is able to be a nurse to the master's daughter, Elfida or Ella as everyone calls her. Still endeared to Sir Emont, Agnes soon finds herself as Ella's stepmother. Ella proves a wistful child, lost in her own mind and intentions and is given anything she wants by her father. Agnes tries her best to temper Ella with hard work and life lessons like her own daughters, but Ella's beauty and station in life eventually get her everything she wished for. 

Set within history and the confies of women's roles, duties and expectations at the time, the story of Cinderella's step-mother unfolds. I have always enjoyed fairy tale retellings especially when they are rooted in reality. Agnes' story reveals how traditional beauty is favored, how your station and gender affect opportunity and choice and most of all how stories evolve. With lavish writing and elegant prose, I was pulled me in to Agnes' world. I was constantly impressed with Agnes' ability to pull herself up and carve out a place for herself in a world where she could have easily been forgotten. In this harsh time in history, we are pulled out of the fairy tale element by the realities of Agnes' life. Most of all, by her want of freedom and never seeming to quite achieve it. Cinderella's 'ugly' step- sisters were also given context. Charlotte and Matilda were enchanting in their own right and I would love to see where their life went as well. By seeing Agnes' background, it provides a stark contrast to Cinderella in every way as well as a basis for the injustices that Cinderella had endured. Through seeing the other side of the story, we go deeper than good vs. evil and the tale of happily ever after; perhaps, Cinderella isn't the only one to receive her ever after. A meaningful story that combines history, fairy tale and strong female leads, All the Ever Afters is one of my favorite reads so far this year. 

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
 

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