The Fairest of Them All – Carolyn Turgeon

A few weeks ago, when the big Chapters was closing, Ro and I went and managed to buy 7-8 books each. One of them was something that Ro had wanted to read, but, upon looking at the synopsis, we decided the The Fairest of Them All was a “Sam” book.

“In this kingdom, only one fairy tale can end with happily ever after.

In an enchanted forest, the maiden Rapunzel’s beautiful voice captivates a young prince hunting nearby. Overcome, he climbs her long golden hair to her tower and they spend an afternoon of passion together, but by nightfall the prince must return to his kingdom, and his betrothed.

Now king, he weds his intended and the kingdom rejoices when a daughter named Snow White is born. Beyond the castle walls, Rapunzel waits in her crumbling tower, gathering news of her beloved from those who come to her seeking wisdom. She tries to mend her broken heart but her love lingers, pulsing in the magic tendrils of her hair.

The king, too, is haunted by his memories, but after his queen’s mysterious death, he is finally able to follow his heart into the darkness of the forest. But can Rapunzel trade the shadows of the forest for the castle and be the innocent beauty he remembers?”

Have I mentioned before that I absolutely love mixed-up fairy tales? I mean, one of my most favourite books of all time is a re-telling of Cinderella (Ella Enchanted, in case you were wondering). So when I found out that this combined TWO fairy tales, I was completely sold.

I loved the way the two tales were intertwined. It wasn’t a shock, since I had read the back of the book, but it was still fascinating to see Rapunzel’s journey from the naive girl  in the forest tower into Snow White’s evil stepmother.

I guess I can’t really talk too much about it without spoiling most of the plot, but the spin on the seven dwarves was a little creepy but well-done. I might have picked up on it sooner if I had been reading “closely”, but either way, it was an unexpected direction. There was also a twist revealed in the last quarter that I couldn’t figure out if I liked it (I had been analyzing the situation in a totally different way) or if it was clichéd.

When I finished reading it, I wasn’t sure how I felt. On the one hand, I felt like it could have gone the opposite way and been a horrifying yet interesting look at the psychology behind the evil-stepmother trope or the corruption of a formerly good-natured person or something like that. But on the other hand, it was a fairy tale so it had to have a happy ending. In that respect, it did not disappoint.

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