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. (Synopsis from Goodreads).
I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
General Review (No Spoilers)
This book was everything I expected it to be, a fairytale retelling that is not exactly what it should be. Rapunzel becomes Snow White’s stepmother, it’s a nice idea mixing the two fairytales together. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I liked how the characters stayed true to the original yet somehow come into their own and new characteristics that fit the story. It took a long time to get to the part of Snow White but it was nicely written and not an uninteresting part.
4 out of 5 stars
Step by Step Review (Spoilers)
0% – What a nice pretty vibrant cover. I cannot get enough of fairytale retellings. A mix of Rapunzel and Snow White, sounds to good to be true.
10% – The idea that she can feel what other people feel, think and their memories through them touching her hair, it’s genius and a beautiful concept. I am not exactly sure how she is connected to the world as a whole because she can feel what’s going on at the at the palace, it’s a nice idea but not sure how it works or to what extent she can feel the world. I am liking how it’s her side written down to set things straight, (not sure what for yet).
20% – Insta-love is not real for me, but it makes sense in this story. Doesn’t bother me too much, but one conversation should not be enough to love each other. I thought for a while that Rapunzel’s son was going to grow up to be the huntsman, but I was completely wrong.
30-40%- I know Snow White’s mother is meant to be very vain but I never thought of Rapunzel like that , it is taking sometime to get my head around Rapunzel being so vain and evil at times. Did not know there was a type of lettuce called Rapunzel, nice piece in info. Looks like it’s almost time for the story of Snow White and Rapunzel to fully entwine, it’s the part of the story I have been looking forward to the most.
50-60% – I am enjoying how much depth there is to the story, lots of detail without getting boring or taxing. So far all is well, there is love between Snow White and Rapunzel.
70%- So there’s been prophecies about what would happen. Possibly one about Rapunzel killing Snow White. I am liking the difference of opinions between the villagers, the ones who live near or need help all say it’s wonderful what the Queen and the Princess are doing, the ones who are further out are causing trouble and saying it is witchcraft. Threatening war. I maybe thinking way out of the box but I think that Mathena gave Rapunzel something to make her infertile so the Kingdom will fall like she has seen. She wants revenge for being driven out of court.
80% – I she going to start resenting Snow White because she cannot have a child of her own?
90% – The part where you saw her change from feeling lonely to angry and evil was well written and enjoyable to read. I remember the tag-line “Only one can have a happy ever after”. Who will it be, Snow White or Rapunzel? I was convinced at the start it would be Snow White, now I am not sure.
100% – I think it’s either going to be a happy ending for both Rapunzel and Snow White or neither. Maybe just not the way I expected at the start. Nice ending. Makes the story mean something.
Who would I recommend this to?
Anyone who likes fantasy or fairytale retellings or just a good enjoyable fun read.