Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Gregory Maguire, critically acclaimed author of Wicked, returns with his eagerly anticipated second novel. Using a dazzling reincarnation of the Cinderella story set in 17th century Holland, Maguire deftly weaves together stories of inner and outer beauty. Iris is a plain but intelligent young girl. Forced to flee England with her recently widowed mother, Margarethe, and her older sister, she finds herself swept into a life that becomes a legend. Arriving destitute, the family becomes employed in the home of a wealthy tulip merchant. Margarethe is hired as the housekeeper and Iris as a companion to the merchant’s stunningly beautiful but troubled daughter. When the merchant’s wife dies, Margarethe seizes the moment, and a wicked stepmother is born. Narrated with spirit and warmth by Jenny Sterlin, Gregory Maguire’s vision of Cinderella is a sweeping story of love and deception, where a ball, a handsome prince and the betrayal of a daughter can lead to everyone living happily ever after.
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|Listening Length||12 hours and 33 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||January 31, 2014|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #22,220 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#163 in Fairy Tale Fantasy (Audible Books & Originals)
#655 in Classic Literature (Audible Books & Originals)
#1,428 in Historical Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from the United States
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In Confessions, the characters are well fleshed out, the scenery set so divinely, and the pacing precise. Maguire's impeccable use of language draws you fully into the story, hanging on every word.
I was quite startled by the ending, and felt it a little abrupt, but how could I be disappointed after such a magical book! Having a daughter with a disability, I found myself cheering for Ruth. I wish we could find out even more about her. I liked the art slant to the story. Iris held my heart, and Clara , my pity.
I wish the story could have gone on and on, as Wicked has. These are great characters that feel alive.
Similarly to Wicked, this book mainly serves to humanize the villain of the original story. This one is a lot less fantastical though. It focuses a lot more on historical elements like the Dutch Renaissance and the tulip craze rather than fantasy elements. The story still follows a similar path as the original story, but not as many fantasy elements.
I enjoyed the story for the most part. It adds in a lot of new elements and storylines, like the stepfamily's relationship with the painter and the whole element of painting in general that weren't in the original. I like art and art history, so those additions really appealed to me.
The only big complaint I had about this, is the way it ends. It 'ends' pretty abruptly with a lot of plotlines still open ended. All the things that are still open ended are then explained in the epilogue. It just feels a little unfulfilling to have fairly big parts of the plot explained to you in an epilogue rather than actually 'see' them happen in a real chapter.
The story is similar to the original Cinderella story; however, the characters personas (for the most part) are all together different. One of the stepsisters is the "hero" in the story, while Cinderella is a spoiled, selfish brat. When she is reduced the ashes, I almost felt like cheering, she was such an annoying character.
The stepmother is pure evil. She is probably the best written character in this book as she is such a horrible person. I found myself wanting to know more and more about her... why was she such a horrid character. She gets her due in the end.
The story does improve near the end; however then the last few pages (or the epilogue) are so abrupt, I found myself asking.. "so that's it???"
It is an interesting read... just be ready to take some time to get through it.
Top reviews from other countries
My only complaint about this book is that it's written in the present tense; I found it confused me at various points when it came to the passage of time in the story. I find it easier to read in past-tense, but this is a small complaint for me. I'd happily recommend this book to anyone, whether you fond of Cinderella or not, You will enjoy this story.