Fairest Of Them All
Release Date: August 6th, 2013
What if Rapunzel was Snow White’s evil stepmother? From the author of Godmother and Mermaid, The Fairest of Them All explores what happens when fairy tale heroines grow up and don’t live happily ever after.
Living in an enchanted forest, Rapunzel spends her days tending a mystical garden with her adoptive mother, Mathena. A witch, Mathena was banished from court because of her magic powers, though the women from the kingdom still seek her advice and herbal remedies. She waits, biding her time to exact revenge against those who betrayed her.
One day Rapunzel’s beautiful voice and long golden locks captivate a young prince hunting in the forest nearby. Overcome, he climbs her hair up to her chamber and they fall into each other’s arms. But their afternoon of passion is fleeting, and the prince must return to his kingdom, as he is betrothed to another.
Now king, he marries his intended to bring peace to his kingdom. They have a stunning daughter named Snow White. Yet the king is haunted by his memories of Rapunzel, and after the mysterious death of his wife, realizes he is free to marry the woman he never stopped longing for. In hopes of also replacing the mother of his beloved daughter, the king makes Rapunzel his queen.
But when Mathena’s wedding gift of an ancient mirror begins speaking to her, Rapunzel falls under its evil spell, and the king begins to realize that Rapunzel is not the beautiful, kind woman he dreamed of.
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.
The Fairest of Them All has kings, queens, princesses, magic and mayhem but this is no Disney fairy tale, it’s chock full of dark and twisted turns and not so happily ever afters. The story is written from Rapunzel’s point of view which I loved as this is her harrowing story to tell. The story is relate-able as it touches on women and their beauty, fear of aging, greedy men, infatuation and selfish mistakes we all can make that impact everyone around us. I really relished the witchcraft aspects that were weaved into the story. Yes some of it was magic but some was just good old naturopathic remedies. Throughout The Fairest of Them All you watch the struggle Rapunzel goes through; while very sad at times the story is so well written I just could not put it down. While I didn’t agree with all of Rapunzel’s choices I definitely understood why she made them, most of them were heartbreaking.
One of my favorite quotes from the book: “Like a child afraid of monsters under his bed. I just…What will happen to us all of Snow White is gone?” It’s really a powerful chilling line. I seriously couldn’t put the The Fairest of Them All down, I read it in one evening. Though there is some sexual content in the book it is not explicit. There is a lot of violence so I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone under the age of 16. At the end of the story I really felt that Carolyn Turgeon accomplished writing a truly uniquely vivid tale that was full of mystery, romance, seduction, and mythical legends.
As a child my favorite princess was Snow White so naturally I always thought I’d grow up and find my prince and live happily ever after. The Fairest of Them All is a true reminder that not everyone gets their Happily Ever After.
INTERVIEW with CAROLYN TURGEON
I’ve noticed your books are based on classic fairytales. What is your favorite classic fairytale and why?
I love the Snow White story—it’s so beautiful, and so strange and twisted at the same time. I love the dark forest, I love the evil queen asking for Snow White’s heart (or lungs and liver, depending on the version you read!), I love the poison apple and the huntsman and that glass coffin in the forest.
Where do you like to write (office, coffee shop, etc..)?
I tend to write anywhere and everywhere: on buses and trains, in coffee shops, sitting cross-legged on the bed wherever I happen to be… (I travel a lot!). I used to think that I had to have very specific conditions to write, but I’ve learned that with my laptop I can pretty much write wherever.
Do you like to listen to music while you write? If so what did you listen to while writing The Fairest of Them All?
I actually never listen to music when I write. If I’m in public I can tune it out, but I much prefer to not have music at all. It’s too hard to concentrate otherwise!
Out of all the books you’ve written what character would you like to spend the day with and what would you do?
I would definitely spend the day with Lenia, the mermaid from my novel Mermaid. I’d like to follow her and see all the secrets of the ocean, not to mention swim with whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins, giant squids and who knows what else!
Can you give us any clues on upcoming projects?
I’m working on a historical novel set in medieval Italy and a crime novel set in present-day New York. I may also do something else with mermaids. I run a mermaid blog—and iamamermaid.com—and have become an expert!
Who is your biggest cheerleader?
Definitely my parents and sister, and my boyfriend Steven. I have a lot of super supportive, cheerleading writer friends, too—you kind of need to have lots of those, as a writer.
Are you a linear writer or do you jump all over?
I’ve become more and more linear the more books I write, and use outlines now whereas I used to feel things out as I went. But if I get stuck or am not feeling a section one day, I definitely allow myself to jump around as much as I want to!
What one word best describes you?
Can you give us three tips for newbie writers?
Write every day, and don’t make excuses.
Learn to step back from your writing and read it as if you were some random book you found in a bookstore. Whatever you don’t like, fix!
Find a group of writers, or one or two writers, that you gel with and who can critique your work, and you theirs. Really listen to what they say—but trust your own voice and instincts, too.
For The Fairest of Them All, what famous actors/actresses would you pick to play the lead rolls?
Rapunzel: Amanda Seyfried
Snow White: Angelina Jolie at age 15
Mathena (the witch who raises Rapunzel): Madeline Stowe
The charming prince: Leonardo di Caprio
The falconer: someone dark and brooding…
Thank you so much for the interview Carolyn, love your picks on actors/actresses! My favorite fairy tale is Snow White too!
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Details: (1) Signed paperback of The Fairest Of Them All by Carolyn Turgeon.
*The giveaway will be international*