August 19, 2013

Book Review: The Fairest of Them All by Carolyn Turgeon


The familiar fairy tales of Rapunzel and Snow White are skillfully intertwined in Carolyn Turgeon's The Fairest of Them All. It opens with a young Rapunzel luring a prince to her tower with the magical wiles taught to her by her adoptive mother, Mathena. After an afternoon of passion, Prince Josef must return to his castle and his betrothed, although he never forgets the beauty of Rapunzel.

Seven years later, Josef is king. When his beautiful queen dies mysteriously, leaving his daughter, Snow White, motherless, he quickly travels back to the forest to find Rapunzel and make her his queen. Rapunzel, accustomed to living in isolation, has a hard time adapting to life in the castle. People scorn her as a witch; many are upset by Josef's rapid remarriage. But she finds consolation in connecting with her stepdaughter, Snow White--and in her mirror's constant confirmation that she is the fairest of them all.

One day the inevitable happens, and the mirror informs Rapunzel that Snow White has surpassed her in beauty. Josef has also become unfaithful, too. The combination of events enrages Rapunzel, causing her to make some irretrievable errors in judgment. The connection Turgeon makes between the two familiar fairy tales brings out the humanity in the "wicked queen" of the Snow White story, making the reader see how she came to be who she was. Fans of fairy tales and paranormal romances will both enjoy this magical little tale.

When I briefly mentioned this book a few weeks ago, a bunch of you were interested. Frankly, it's not the type of book I probably would've normally picked up, but Shelf Awareness sent it to me for review, and I decided to give it a shot. I ended up being unable to put it down; and read it all in one sitting. (Well, minus bathroom breaks. But I doubt any pregnant woman can read a whole book in one literal sitting!)

Rating: 4 out of 5
Should I recommend this to my grandma? Maybe? There's some sexy stuff - depends on your grandma.

What's your favorite fairy tale retelling?

The cover image is an Amazon affiliate link. Thanks for supporting Quirky Bookworm! As you probably guessed, my main review was originally published in Shelf Awareness.