The Fairest of Them All by Carolyn Turgeon
What if Rapunzel was Snow White’s evil stepmother? From the author of Godmother and Mermaid, The Fairest of Them All explores what happens when fairy tale heroines grow up and don’t live happily ever after.
Living in an enchanted forest, Rapunzel spends her days tending a mystical garden with her adoptive mother, Mathena. A witch, Mathena was banished from court because of her magic powers, though the women from the kingdom still seek her advice and herbal remedies. She waits, biding her time to exact revenge against those who betrayed her.
One day Rapunzel’s beautiful voice and long golden locks captivate a young prince hunting in the forest nearby. Overcome, he climbs her hair up to her chamber and they fall into each other’s arms. But their afternoon of passion is fleeting, and the prince must return to his kingdom, as he is betrothed to another.
Now king, he marries his intended to bring peace to his kingdom. They have a stunning daughter named Snow White. Yet the king is haunted by his memories of Rapunzel, and after the mysterious death of his wife, realizes he is free to marry the woman he never stopped longing for. In hopes of also replacing the mother of his beloved daughter, the king makes Rapunzel his queen.
But when Mathena’s wedding gift of an ancient mirror begins speaking to her, Rapunzel falls under its evil spell, and the king begins to realize that Rapunzel is not the beautiful, kind woman he dreamed of.
Rapunzel lives in the forest with her adoptive mother Mathena. They grow a garden and help make potions for people needing help. Mathena is all Rapunzel has ever known because she was saved by her from abusive parents. As she grows she becomes more beautiful and learns her hair has powers. She meets a young man named Josef one day not knowing who he really is she falls for him. She soon learns after it is to late he is the prince of the kingdom and soon to be married. As she mends her broken heart time goes by and the prince becomes King , then his wife dies. His first step is to find Rapunzel and wed her. Rapunzel works at learning how to be queen and mother to Snow White her step daughter. She wants to help the kingdom in anyway she can but people call her a witch. As time goes by She and the king have trouble and you see what happens when she is replaced as the fairest of them all.
These aren't the princesses you know. They are different. Rapunzel at first is a sweet girl who will help anyone and falls in love easy. She gives her heart away and does not want it back. As she gets older you start to see changes in her. She becomes jealous and begins to effect her beauty. She wants to have it all and will let nothing stand in her way. Snow White as a child seemed just like the book and movie version. Sweet and innocent. As a teen you see how she acts hateful at times and snotty. I actually liked that as she seemed more real. With Mathena you know she is a witch and does bad things at times I did feel sorry for her but leave no doubt she is out for herself.
I really like reading fairy tale re-tellings and this one is a good one. Combining two characters we know and love and making you see things in a different life. You may think you know how it will turn out but this book has some surprises in store for you. It is very easy to follow and has a nice flow. You get to really see the evil stepmother's side of things. It isn't happily ever after and so many things come to life that make you see what really happened in the past. I sure didn't see many things that happened at the end. If you like fairy tales and want to see a different take pick this one up.
4 out of 5 Bats~Pam