I read the author's other book, Wicked, several years ago and really enjoyed it, so I had been considering reading this book for a while. The main conceit of this book is pretty similar to Wicked where it's telling the origin of a classic villain, this one being the ugly stepsister from Cinderella.
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.