Synopsis: This original retelling of the Cinderella story begins in 17th century Holland,
where Margarethe and her two terrified daughters have fled from their hostile home in England. Despite a cold reception in the dutch community
Margerethe manages to find a home and food for the family with an eccentric dutch painter. We meet Clara, an unusually beautiful young girl and
learn of the circumstances which bring her together with Margarethe and her two extraordinarily unsightly daughters. It is not until the last few
chapters of this craftily told tale that the story begins to sound eerily familiar...
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Book Venue's Reader Reviews:
This book was a wonderful surprise to me. I was not sure what to expect of a re-told fairytale, but I
was delighted to find a creative and refreshing storyline that really bears little resemblance to Cinderella until certain events unfold near the end of the story.
We are given the story from the perspective of the daughters, Iris and Ruth. Iris is extremely plain, but a bright and clever girl who is used to taking care
of her sister Ruth, who is slow and dim-witted. We learn about their mother Margarethe and her struggle to provide for her family.
Their plight is set against the backdrop of small dutch town where the new tulip industry is growing, and the painter who takes them in
becomes associated with a successful tulip entrepeneur. What follows is the story of how their fates become entangled to the point of fairytale proportions!
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Gregory Maguire's Website
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Further Reading Suggestions:
- also by Gregory Maquire, The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
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