All the Ever Afters : The Untold Story of Cinderella's Stepmother
We all know the story of Cinderella. Or do we?
As rumors about the cruel upbringing of beautiful newlywed Princess Cinderella roil the kingdom, her stepmother, Agnes, who knows all too well about hardship, privately records the true story. . . .
A peasant born into serfdom, Agnes is separated from her family and forced into servitude as a laundress's apprentice when she is only ten years old. Using her wits and ingenuity, she escapes her tyrannical matron and makes her way toward a hopeful future. When teenaged Agnes is seduced by an older man and becomes pregnant, she is transformed by love for her child. Once again left penniless, Agnes has no choice but to return to servitude at the manor she thought she had left behind. Her new position is nursemaid to Ella, an otherworldly infant. She struggles to love the child who in time becomes her stepdaughter and, eventually, the celebrated princess who embodies everyone's unattainable fantasies. The story of their relationship reveals that nothing is what it seems, that beauty is not always desirable, and that love can take on many guises.
Lyrically told, emotionally evocative, and brilliantly perceptive, All the Ever Afters explores the hidden complexities that lie beneath classic tales of good and evil, all the while showing us that how we confront adversity reveals a more profound, and ultimately more important, truth than the ideal of "happily ever after."
- Hardback | 304 pages
- 173 x 235 x 30.48mm | 453.59g
- 28 Jun 2018
- HarperCollins Publishers Inc
- William Morrow
- New York, United States
Back cover copy
Compelling fiction often obscures the humble truth . . .
We all know the story of Cinderella. Or do we?
As rumors about the cruel upbringing of beautiful newlywed Princess Cinderella roil the kingdom, her stepmother, Agnes, a woman who knows all too well about hardship, privately records the true story. But what unfolds is not the princess's history. The tale Agnes recounts is her own.
A peasant born into serfdom, Agnes is separated from her family and forced into servitude as a laundress's apprentice at Aviceford Manor when she is just ten years old. Alone, friendless, and burdened with a grueling workload, Agnes carves a place for herself in this cold place that is home to Sir Emont Vis-de-Loup, a melancholic and capricious drunkard.
Using her wits and ingenuity, Agnes eventually escapes and makes her way toward a more hopeful future, serving as a housemaid for the powerful Abbess Elfilda. But life once again holds unexpected, sometimes heartbreaking twists that lead Agnes back to Aviceford Manor, where she becomes nursemaid to Ella, Emont's sensitive, otherworldly daughter. Though she cares for Ella, Agnes struggles to love this child, who in time becomes her stepdaughter and, ultimately, the celebrated princess who embodies all our unattainable fantasies.
Familiar yet fresh, tender as well as bittersweet, the story of Agnes and Ella's relationship reveals that beauty is not always desirable, that love may take on many guises, and that freedom is not always something we can choose.
Danielle Teller's All the Ever Afters challenges our assumptions and forces us to reevaluate what we think we know. Exploring the hidden complexities that lie beneath classic tales of good and evil, this lyrically told, emotionally evocative, and brilliantly perceptive novel shows us that how we confront adversity reveals a more profound--and ultimately more precious--truth about our lives than the ideal of "happily ever after."
"Teller's reimagined tale. . .stands out among the best. . . . Fairy-tale aficionados will adore Teller's complex, touching retelling of this classic story of womanhood, perseverance, and familial love, in which she strikes an ideal balance between familiar and fresh." - Booklist (starred review)
"A fascinating reimagining of the original tale. . . .Readers will feel empathy for Agnes, consider various misunderstandings and think twice before labeling her as wicked." - Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers
"Teller set aside an established medical career as a pulmonary doctor and researcher five years ago to write full time. Nevertheless, she plays surgeon still, extracting the (formerly) villainous stepmother as protagonist and skillfully excising the classic story's myths, magic and misconceptions." - San Jose Mercury News
"As in the best literary inversions (e.g., Gregory Maguire's Wicked), Teller demonstrates the flaws and fine points of characters on both sides." - Washington Post
"Teller's novel is a powerfully written rendition of the Cinderella story... Tells a complex tale of a love that forms through patient nurturing and by just being present." - Book Club Babble
"Teller woos readers into taking a better, more open-eyed look at a character that's been maligned for centuries, one with strength and who's worthy of stunned sympathy." - Guam Daily Post
Sometimes you've only heard one part of the story. Cinderella's famously maligned stepmother, Agnes, gets to tell her own side in this clever take on the fairy tale." - New York Post
"A fun, fantastical story with a strong heroine. . . Inspired me and reminded me that how we confront adversity reveals profound truths about who and what we are." - First for Women
About Danielle Teller