Monday, September 2, 2013

The Fairest of Them All by Carolyn Turgeon

Fans of fairy tale retellings aren't going to want to miss this latest from Turgeon (author of Fairy Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story and Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale). The Fairest of Them All is actually a combined retelling of Rapunzel and Snow White.

The story opens with Rapunzel and her guardian, Mathena. The two escaped the kingdom long ago, wiping their memories of their time there. Together they've lived in almost complete solitude, protected by the forest that surrounds them and by Mathena's spells. Their only visitors are those who seek out Mathena for her potions and herbs, looking to heal a broken heart, recover from illness, or any number of things the woman can assist with. Through the years, she's taught Rapunzel everything she knows and has kept her safe from the outside world. But one day, the prince discovers their little haven. He and Rapunzel fall madly in love and have a brief but passionate affair - an affair that ends when the prince weds another. Heartbroken, Rapunzel vows to move on but fate has more in the cards for this fair maiden.

The Fairest of Them All is a little quirky. I've read Turgeon before so it wasn't unexpected, but the twist in this tale did still come as a surprise. Turgeon's ability to build unexpected twists is one that I truly appreciate, even if it does turn out a bit oddly in some of her stories.

The blending of the Rapunzel and Snow White tales was done really well, but I did feel that there could have been more to the story. The whole book is told from Rapunzel's perspective and given the Snow White I currently have in mind is the one created for Once Upon a Time, I really would have loved to get part of this particular book from her point of view as well. It's not at all a criticism, simply something I think I would have enjoyed seeing from Turgeon (and would have considered an added bonus with The Fairest of Them All). All in all, I did find the book to be a bit on the short side. Nonetheless, it does make for a quick and enchanting read.

Rating: 3.5/5

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