All the Ever Afters

The Untold Story of Cinderella’s Stepmother
Narrated by: Jane Copland
Length: 10 hrs and 50 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (130 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the vein of Wicked, The Woodcutter, and Boy, Snow, Bird, a luminous re-imagining of a classic tale, told from the perspective of Agnes, Cinderella’s "evil" 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' apprentice when she is only 10 years old. Using her wits and ingenuity, she escapes her tyrannical matron and makes her way toward a hopeful future. When teenage 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".

©2018 Danielle Teller (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An alternate view of the Cinderella story

I've always loved fairy tales, and this beautiful re-telling of the Cinderella story was very appealing. It did drag a bit in the middle, and the ending felt a bit rushed and too tidy, but it's still a lovely story if you love fairy tales. The narration is perfect.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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The Other Side of the Story

There are always two sides to every story, and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Agnes'. It was believable and tied in very well to what we've all read regarding Cinderella. This is a book I could probably read a time or two and never tire of. Probably not appropriate for readers under the age of 14.
Narration of this book was perfect.

2 people found this helpful

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Great book

I loved this book. I was sad when it was over. I love Cinderella and it was fun to hear another version.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A woman far before her time

This book transported me to a different time and I enjoyed every minute of it. a clever woman indeed on a mission to give her daughters the best life they could. I loved the language, the imagery, and the narrator.

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What a great book that tells a different but heartwarming tale.

I loved it. Sometimes it was hard to decipher the language used as it was set so long ago but it was a beautiful book. Told so well. Would recommend it! Leaves you with a warm heart about the fairy tale

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Not what I was expecting...

I was expecting a retelling of Cinderella from the step mother’s POV, but this wasn’t really that. I listened to about half and not much happened. It was basically just the stepmother’s depressing backstory. It’s not bad or anything, just not what I was expecting and not all that interesting. I returned this.

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  • AJ
  • 06-29-19

well performed but not the best adaption

The narrator of this book was great, but this was not the best fairy tale adaptation I've read. usually the point of the "fairy take from the antagonist's view" trope serves to help you sympathize with the villain and see a different perspective. I didn't find Agnes sympathetic at all, and while it served to tie "realistic" events to the high points of the fairy tale, it seemed more to me like an story of a parent treating a Neuro-atypical child harshly than a fairy tale. Attempts to help us see why Agnes acts a certain way are undercut by her internal monologue saying "I should have behaved differently, but..." I finished this but just wasn't really my cup of tea.

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Excellent fairy tale historical fiction

I initially thought this book would have fairy tale elements such as magic and godmothers. As I progressed, I found I wasn’t disappointed at the absence of the supernatural. Oh, there is certainly a godmother and I actually cursed her out loud because her character was so well written. All the characters were! It really is much like Wicked- except instead of the wicked witch of the west, you have “Cinderella” and the “wicked” stepmother/daughters. The author did an amazing job of flipping this tale on its head and making me believe that this story could have happened! She will completely change your mind about Cinderella being the demure victim and make you re-think all the fairy tales of your childhood. If you like reading historical fiction- you will enjoy this. A truly wonderful tale.

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A Mother's Story

A beautiful retelling of Cinderella that gives meaning to the stepmother's story. I loved the incorporation of elements from other versions. This is the story any mother will relate to.

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One of my favorite fairy tale retellings!!!

I've read a lot of fairy tale retellings, but I think this is one of my favorites. It's a beautifully told story of Cinderella's "evil" step-mother. However, this could almost stand entirely alone without the hook of being about Cinderella's stepmother. It's a wonderful and interesting story all on its own and really only ventures into the realm of the Cinderella fairy tale in the last third.

Also, I think I'm really glad that I listened to this one instead of reading it. I feel like I would have skimmed over the beautiful language if I was reading it on my own. But by listening to it, I was forced into absorbing every word and I was transported into the world. Jane Copland is a wonderful narrator.

This book is really wonderful and I would definitely suggest this as a must-read.