Confessions of an ugly stepsister

Title: Confessions of an ugly stepsister
Author: Gregory Maguire
Publisher: Headline review
ISBN: 978-0-75534169-6
Pages: 397
Year: 1999

Set in the seventeenth century of Holland Ruth Fisher, a stepsister of Cinderella, finally tells her tale. How she, her mother and sister fled England after her father´s death. How they came to Haarlem penniless and hoping for a better future. After some struggling they found shelter with the painter Luykas Schoonmaker. Eventually through circumstances they move into the home of the van den Meer´ ,where they came to know Clara van den Meer later to be known as ´Cinder girl`.

Fairytales come in various forms and versions, but Gregory Maguire, famous for his novel Wicked, tells the story of Cinderella in a whole different way. What if Cinderella was just a beautiful spoiled Dutch girl, daughter of a rich tradesman who handles tulips, experiencing none of the Bibedi Babedi Boe. What if the well-known characterized ugly stepsisters weren´t really mean and devious. Though this idea interested me instantly the book itself wasn´t quite to my liking. Mostly it was the writing style of Gregory Maguire: off and on it was very tedious and a lot of the conversations felt like gibberish and rephrasing. Most of the times it felt like the characters were talking to themselves then to each other. On the other hand the characters were well-written. They grew throughout the story for the better and you came to understand and like them, well except for the stepmother who remained evil. Another point worth mentioning: the ending. It was vague and the story conclusions were all clustered together in the epilogue.

Although the story was interesting on occassions, I had expected more from this book.

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