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.
*from publisher for honest review
I have made no secret of the fact that I love Carolyn's book Mermaid but some may just think that's because I am such a massive fan of mermaids. Though that fact is true, it was the beautiful yet tragic retelling that stole my heart. If you aren't convinced I tell you that (prepare yourselves) I loved this one just as much as Mermaid. The twisted retelling that brings both Rapunzel and Snow White together was just as beautifully written with its own tragic twists. Though I would never claim I knew much about the story of Rapunzel beyond the basic, I do know Snow White decently well and this story pulled it all together and made it quite spectacular.
Though the forest that Rapunzel lived in was clear as day I can't particularly say that it was done in great detail but it was as far as I'm concerned perfectly done. There was not pages upon pages of detail but bits here and there throughout that gave an overall idea and let my imagination build it up on its own. I love that the cottage and tower were an old castle that was left and forgotten, it added something to the story. When it did come to castle life there really was much more going on and it seemed more important to the plot to focus on what was going on rather than how things looked. The life inside of the castle and how things were, were much more important. Everything that was important and departmental to the story was there.
Rapunzel's story was just as sad as I had expected it to be, yet her character surprised me. The Rapunzel I know is a girl forever locked away in a tower that is rescued by the handsome prince and whisked away to her happily ever after. Though this one does want the prince and her happy ending, she was not locked in her tower. This girl was raised by a woman that saved her as a child that is a
witch healer and has grown up watching the woman of the kingdom come to Mathena to lessen their heartbreak or whatever woes they may have. Despite all this when the prince comes to her she falls for him but he isn't what she thought either but he is enthralled by her without a doubt. She also has quite a unique talent that comes along with her gorgeous hair that I loved because it gave such a unique twist. Everything is a puzzle and a waiting game from there out and admittedly I had a slight idea of how it would go but there was no way of truly knowing the darkness that lay beneath it all.
The Snow White part was tangled up in everything that happened to Rapunzel and ultimately was to happen in the future. Her relationship with Rapunzel is what is surprising, they do initially get along and begin to love each other. She is every bit the beautiful child that she has been in other tales and is loved greatly by the subject of the kingdom and her father. I was almost saddened by the fact that I knew that their beautifully relationship would end horribly but it is what was meant to be. It was also more than her beauty that brought an end to that, it was in part Rapunzel's. I would love to dive further into the why of that but it would rip apart the story for you.
The way Carolyn twisted these two stories together was virtually flawless and I fell in love with almost every character (the prince is the one I didn't *jerk*). The way everything played out had the beauty, tragedy and heartbreak that I had expected when picking the book up. As far as retellings go this is probably one of my favourites but it is more Adult than YA, that's not saying it doesn't cross over a bit but reader be warned there is some more mature subject matter. It's hard to explain because it's not in a sexual manner but in other ways that once again I can't put out there because it would ruin everything. I would say 16-17+...that is about right I think. However if you love a good retelling and want something that is beautifully written I HIGHLY recommend this read!
My body tensed, and for a moment I wondered if he was going to push past me, into the house. Then he smiled, and I realized: I want him to come inside. It was a feeling I'd seen but never experienced, the feeling of those grieving women: I want to be broken.
I was young and beautiful. I had all the magic of the forest at my fingertips. I was foolish, too; I understand this now after so many years have passed, how I confused infatuation for true love, the power of beauty for real power in the world.
It was wonderful, riding through the meadows and farmland with Snow White next to me, and the guards following. It helped satisfy my craving for the woods, and made it easier for me to adjust to life at court, with all its formalities.
This is to help promote and get this book out there because I
honestly LOVE Carolyn's work <3 It is open INT as long as the
Book Depo ships free to you and you are of legal age to accept the
prize!! Good luck everyone and I hope you love it as much as I do!!!