In this kingdom, only one fairy tale can end with happily ever after.
In an enchanted forest, the maiden Rapunzel’s beautiful voice captivates a young prince hunting nearby. Overcome, he climbs her long golden hair to her tower and they spend an afternoon of passion together, but by nightfall the prince must return to his kingdom, and his betrothed.
Now king, he weds his intended and the kingdom rejoices when a daughter named Snow White is born. Beyond the castle walls, Rapunzel waits in her crumbling tower, gathering news of her beloved from those who come to her seeking wisdom. She tries to mend her broken heart but her love lingers, pulsing in the magic tendrils of her hair.
The king, too, is haunted by his memories, but after his queen’s mysterious death, he is finally able to follow his heart into the darkness of the forest. But can Rapunzel trade the shadows of the forest for the castle and be the innocent beauty he remembers?
ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT
Rapunzel lives in her forest tower with her adoptive mother, Mathena, where women come for cures of broken hearts, female issues, and other needs. Mathena has rescued her from an abusive home and taught her the ways of nature and magic. Once it was accepted that witches and magic were possible but times change and now the craft is unspoken. With her stunning looks and beautiful voice, travelers stop and wonder, write songs about Rapunzel. She dreams of a man to love her and when that man becomes taken with her, she revels in the wonder of it all.
The man turns out to be a prince, promised to another and even though they are in love, it cannot be. Over time, the local women tell of the wedding and then a birth and Rapunzel wonders what might have been. Of course, this wouldn’t be a fairy tale without the main character getting her prince, but it turns out that being a witch has its benefits. A small twist is that she turns out to be pregnant, but soon looses the child. The Queen dies, helped along by Mathena, and Rapunzel becomes the new queen and stepmother to Snow White.
The story weaves together both tales seamlessly and naturally. The interplay of both good and evil in Rapunzel makes it even more believable. I adored Godmother and this story was a bit more direct in that you aren’t guessing the true identity of each character. There is a lot of female empowerment laced through out about how women must take charge of their own lives. It also delves into the fact that a lot of decisions are gray areas and can lead to unwanted consequences in that one small choice can lead to horrible consequences.
About the Author
Carolyn Turgeon is the author of five novels: Rain Village (2006), Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story (2009), Mermaid (2011), which is being developed for film by Sony Pictures, and The Next Full Moon (2012), her first and only book for middle-grade readers. Her latest novel, The Fairest of Them All, comes out in August 2013 from Touchstone/Simon & Schuster and is about Rapunzel growing up to be Snow White’s stepmother. She lives in Pennsylvania and New York and teaches fiction writing at the University of Alaska at Anchorage’s Low-Residency MFA program. She’s currently at work on a new novel about Dante’s Beatrice, set in thirteenth-century Florence.
I was the girl with the long long hair, trapped in the tower. You have no doubt heard of me. As a young woman I was very famous for those tresses, even though I lived in the middle of the woods and had never even been to court, not for a feast or a wedding or a matter of law.
My hair was like threads of gold flowing down my back and past the floor. If I didn’t tie it up, it would sweep across the stone and collect dust like a broom. I could lean out my tower window and it would fall out like an avalanche, gleaming like the sun hitting the water. It was as bright as sunflowers or daisies, softer than fur, stronger than an iron chain.
Every night I took horsetail and aloe from the garden, spoke words over them and boiled them and mashed them into a thin pulp, which I then combed through my locks to make them strong and healthy and almost impossible to break. I would sing, and inhale the rich scent, to make the work go faster. To this day I love that feeling, of fingers running through my hair, the weight of it as it falls on my back.
Poets and troubadours sang of my beauty then.
It was sorcery, that hair. Sometimes now I wonder if things would have been different, had I been plain.
It is a hard thing, not being that girl any longer. Even as I sit here, I cannot help but turn toward the mirror and ask the question I have asked a thousand times before:
“Who is the fairest of them all?”
The mirror shifts. The glass moves back and forth, like water. And then my image disappears, until a voice, like a memory, or something from my bones and skin, gives me the same answer it always does now:
I turn back to the parchment in front of me and try to ignore the ache inside. The apple waits on the table next to me, gleaming with poison. All that’s left to do is write it down, everything that happened, so that there will still be some record in this world.