Sunday, August 5, 2007

Book #38: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister: A Novel

Title: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister

Author: Gregory Maguire

Last year I read Wicked. I didn't like it much, even though I really wanted to. So I didn't have very high expectations going into reading Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, which is the author's reworking of the Cinderella story. One of the stepsisters tells the story of Elise (aka Cinderella), and how she came to be related to Iris and Ruth (aka the ugly stepsisters).

If you're familliar with Wicked, you can expect a similar expansion of the original fairy tale, except it seems to work better here. Maguire sets the story in a painter's house in Holland at the height of the tulip craze, and does his best here, as in Wicked, to sort of explain away the magical elements of the story. It's a fun, light book, reminiscent of The Girl with the Pearl Earring or The Girl in Hyacinth Blue. Could there possibly be a story about Holland in the 17th century where a painter is not prominent?

--originally published 7/30/07

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