Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire
A Novel

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Is this new land a place where magics really happen?

From Gregory Maguire, the acclaimed author of Wicked, comes his much-anticipated second novel, a brilliant and provocative retelling of the timeless Cinderella tale.

In the lives of children, pumpkins can turn into coaches, mice and rats into human beings.... When we grow up, we learn that it's far more common for human beings to turn into rats....

We all have heard the story of Cinderella, the beautiful child cast out to slave among the ashes. But what of her stepsisters, the homely pair exiled into ignominy by the fame of their lovely sibling? What fate befell those untouched by beauty . . . and what curses accompanied Cinderella's exquisite looks?

Extreme beauty is an affliction

Set against the rich backdrop of seventeenth-century Holland, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister tells the story of Iris, an unlikely heroine who finds herself swept from the lowly streets of Haarlem to a strange world of wealth, artifice, and ambition. Iris's path quickly becomes intertwined with that of Clara, the mysterious and unnaturally beautiful girl destined to become her sister.

Clara was the prettiest child, but was her life the prettiest tale?

While Clara retreats to the cinders of the family hearth, burning all memories of her past, Iris seeks out the shadowy secrets of her new household--and the treacherous truth of her former life.

God and Satan snarling at each other like dogs.... Imps and fairy godmotbers trying to undo each other's work. How we try to pin the world between opposite extremes!

Far more than a mere fairy-tale, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister is a novel of beauty and betrayal, illusion and understanding, reminding us that deception can be unearthed--and love unveiled--in the most unexpected of places.


About Gregory Maguire

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Gregory Maguire is the bestselling author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Lost, Mirror Mirror, and the Wicked Years, a series that includes Wicked, Son of a Witch, and A Lion Among Men. Wicked, now a beloved classic, is the basis for the Tony Award–winning Broadway musical of the same name. Maguire has lectured on art, literature, and culture both at home and abroad. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.
Published March 17, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 384 pages
Genres: History, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Young Adult, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister

Kirkus Reviews

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As Margarethe seizes ever greater riches and power, Iris begins to blossom into a confident young woman whose artist’s eye earns her the respect of both the Master and his handsome apprentice Caspar, becoming a handmaiden-mentor whom the highborn beauty Clara eventually accepts as a sister.

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Publishers Weekly

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She, her mother, Margarethe, and her retarded sister, Ruth, flee their English country village in the wake of her father's violent death, hoping to find welcome in Margarethe's native Holland.

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Clara does not want to go to the ball, but eventually Iris convinces her to go and with the help of Caspar, Cinderella is transformed back into Clara, the most beautiful girl in Holland.

May 04 2012 | Read Full Review of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsi...

The Independent

In Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, by contrast, his strategy with the Cinderella story is to show the two stepsisters of the beautiful Clara as very different from each other, and Clara herself as a passive-aggressive young woman determined to make life difficult for all around her.

May 06 2008 | Read Full Review of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsi...


A while later, Clara's mother dies, Margarethe marries the widower and thus becomes the evil stepmother in the story, with Clara being the tortured Cinderella.

Mar 16 2009 | Read Full Review of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsi...

Austin Chronicle

The plan goes wildly astray yet achieves a measure of unpredictable success, and Clara emerges an unlikely Cinderella, armed with a self-awareness and the cachet of intrigue that only a beauty such as hers could possibly have afforded.

Dec 10 1999 | Read Full Review of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsi...

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