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But this is Cinderella, after all, and tragedy is inevitable. When a wealthy tulip speculator commissions the painter to capture his blindingly lovely daughter, Clara, on canvas, Margarethe jumps at the chance to better their lot. "Give me room to cast my eel spear, and let follow what may," she crows, and the Fisher family abandons the artist for the upper-crust Van den Meers.
When Van den Meer's wife dies during childbirth, the stage is set for Margarethe to take over the household and for Clara to adopt the role of "Cinderling" in order to survive. What follows is a changeling adventure, and of course a ball, a handsome prince, a lost slipper, and what might even be a fairy godmother. In a single magic night, the exquisite and the ugly swirl around in a heated mix:
Everything about this moment hovers, trembles, all their sweet, unreasonable hopes on view before anything has had the chance to go wrong. A stepsister spins on black and white tiles, in glass slippers and a gold gown, and two stepsisters watch with unrelieved admiration. The light pours in, strengthening in its golden hue as the sun sinks and the evening approaches. Clara is as otherworldly as the Donkeywoman, the Girl-Boy. Extreme beauty is an affliction...But beyond these familiar elements, Maguire's second novel becomes something else altogether--a morality play, a psychological study, a feminist manifesto, or perhaps a plain explanation of what it is to be human. Villains turn out to be heroes, and heroes disappoint. The story's narrator wryly observes, "In the lives of children, pumpkins can turn into coaches, mice and rats into human beings. When we grow up, we learn that it's far more common for human beings to turn into rats." --Therese Littleton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This is a really interesting take on Cinderella, not least because of the setting in Holland during the tulip crash. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Demeter's Mother
"The Ugly Stepsister" is an amazingly fun retelling of the "Cinderella" story. Taking a lesson from the wildly awesome "Wicked" (a retelling of the... Read morePublished on July 10 2005 by Wes Kidd
Following in the steps of his first novel, "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West," Maguire continues to plumb his promising literary vein with this... Read morePublished on May 7 2005 by Patricia Davis
First things first, I'm not usually one for the hero of a story; I usually more side with the villians. I've just found the 'bad guys' to be more interesting. Read morePublished on July 16 2004 by Steph Mehl
This story had a lot of promise, a great beginning, a tolerable middle, and a complete let down of an ending in which Cinderella becomes a harlot in a back salon and then produces... Read morePublished on July 13 2004 by Michelle Owen West
I bought Confessions after reading and enjoying Maguire's Wicked. In Confessions Maguire weaves a tale of how the ugly stepsisters come to be in the situation of the common fable. Read morePublished on July 9 2004 by The Old Philosopher
I admit, I have been completely in love with fairy tales since I started listening/reading. As i have matured, I have taken this on to the next level; exploring modern day... Read morePublished on June 17 2004
I really enjoyed reading this book. I thought it was interested and very imaginative. It was a great spin on the classic fairy tale.Published on June 2 2004 by Nichole Luginbill