Published by William Morrow ISBN 9780062798206
Hardcover, $26.99, 384 pages
I'm not a particular fan of fairy tales, but I do enjoy a good retelling or re-imagining of a classic story, so Danielle Teller's All The Ever Afters caught my attention.
Told from the point of view of Agnes, Cinderella's stepmother, we get a different take on Cinderella. Agnes' mother died in childbirth, when she was just a small child. Her father was very poor and couldn't care for three children, so Agnes was sent off to work at the Aviceford Manor house at the age of ten.
She ended up as an assistant in the laundry, where the young child did most of the actual work, while the laundress verbally and physically abused her. It was a brutal life for a child, sleeping on the pantry floor, working sunup to sundown.
One day, she was called to assist Emont, the Lord of the Manor. He was lying passed-out drunk, and Agnes helped clean him up.
Soon Agnes grew up, met a sweet-talking man and fell in love. She became pregnant, and they married, only for Agnes to discover that he was not the man she thought he was.
Agnes was a clever, hardworking woman, and she found her way to becoming a brewer, making ale and selling it at a small tavern. She was quite successful, raising her two daughters Charlotte and Matilda, until circumstances arose that took her livelihood away. (Let's just say that times were not kind to women.)
When Agnes ends up working back at the Manor, the lady of the manor had just given birth to a baby girl, Elfilda, called Ella. Agnes cared for Ella, nursing her, carrying her around while she worked. Lord Emont recognized Agnes as the young child who helped him years ago, and they form a friendship.
Soon Agnes' good business sense helps Lord Emont in running the manor, and eventually the two become close and marry. Ella is not happy about the situation, and neither are Charlotte or Matilda. Ella is a quiet child, standoffish. She doesn't like to ride horses, like her mother did. She loves beautiful gowns and is frequently off in her own world.
Interspersed in the story are journal entries from the Royal Court, where Ella is now married to Prince Henry. Ella has three young children, and Agnes, Charlotte and Matilda are not quite insiders, yet not outsiders either.
We learn from Agnes a different side to Ella and Henry's love story- meeting at the ball, dropping her shoe, the search of the kingdom for Ella using the shoe- it's all here, albeit with a unique viewpoint and spin.
All The Ever Afters is a wonderful story, especially for people who love Broadway's Wicked and TV's Once Upon A Time. It's got a feminist twist to the story, with Agnes using her brains and compassion to make her way in a world that is not kind to women who are not conventionally beautiful or rich. She fiercely loves her daughters, and would do anything to protect them. I recommend it.
Thanks to TLC Tours for putting me on Danielle Teller's tour. The rest of her stops are here:
Wednesday, May 23rd: Instagram: @theshybooks
Thursday, May 24th: Instagram: @readforevermore
Friday, May 25th: Instagram: @hollyslittlebookreviews
Saturday, May 26th: Instagram: @shereadswithcats
Sunday, May 27th: Instagram: @read.write.coffee
Monday, May 28th: Instagram: @_ebl_inc_
Tuesday, May 29th: Instagram: @lavieestbooks
Wednesday, May 23rd: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, May 24th: Reading Reality
Friday, May 25th: Instagram: @thepagesinbetween
Monday, May 28th: Instagram: @Novelmombooks
Tuesday, May 29th: Stranded in Chaos
Thursday, May 31st: Broken Teepee
Monday, June 4th: bookchickdi
Tuesday, June 5th: 100 Pages a Day…Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Wednesday, June 6th: Literary Quicksand
Thursday, June 7th: Instagram: @worldswithinpages
Friday, June 8th: Jessicamap Reviews
Monday, June 11th: A Bookish Affair
This sounds interesting! I loved Cinderella when I was a kid, and still do.ReplyDelete
I don't gravitate towards books like this but my sister loves them. I need to tell her about it.ReplyDelete
We missed you at Book Expo!
Thanks for being a part of the tour!ReplyDelete
I'm not big on re-tellings either but my sister adores them. I need to tell her about this one because I think she'd like it.ReplyDelete