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Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister Hardcover – 3 Apr 2008


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review (3 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755341678
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755341672
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 24 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 560,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gregory Maguire is the bestselling author of Mirror Mirror, Lost, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Son of a Witch and A Lion Among Men, which have earned him rave reviews and a dedicated following.
He received his doctorate in English Literature from Tufts University, and has taught at Simmons College and other Boston area colleges.
He has also served as an artist-in-residence at the Blue Mountain Center, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Hambidge Center.
Gregory has lived in Dublin and London, but now makes his home near Boston, Massachusetts, with his partner, their two sons and daughter.

Product Description

Book Description

A novel of beauty and betrayal, which reminds us that deception can be unearthed - and love unveiled - in the most unexpected of places

About the Author

Gregory Maguire is a bestselling author who has earned rave reviews and a dedicated following for WICKED. He received his doctorate in English Literature from Tufts University, and has taught at Simmons College and other Boston area colleges. He has also served as an artist-in-residence at the Blue Mountain Center, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Hambridge Center. Gregory has lived in Dublin and London, but now makes his home near Boston, Massachusetts, with his partner, their two sons and daughter.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Deborah on 20 May 2008
Format: Hardcover
This review relates to the paperback edition.

During an enforced 3-hour stopover at Los Angeles airport I found this and couldn't resist the cover or the blurb. I haven't read/seen any of his books, so had nothing with which to compare this, and I loved it. It runs alongside Cinderella in a non-parallel line which every now and again curves in to touch the fairy story and remind us of the original, but at the same time keeps very much to its own path. The setting of 17th-century Holland is evocative and atmospheric, including the use of art and the tulip-trade, the machinations of the desperate Margarethe are terrible and at the same time understandable, and Iris is - well, she's lovely. There are comments in some reviews that there is no magic in this book and strictly speaking that's true, but there is definitely more than a hint of something other-worldly and dangerous that lurks in the background and pervades the atmosphere of this book.

The illustrations are lovely - I hope they have been kept in the hardback edition.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By friendlyfreak on 4 April 2006
Format: Paperback
i actually wanted to read this book because i'd seen the film adaptation and i was interested i where the idea had come from. the film itself while intinsically the same varies in a few ways, so dont assume you can skip the book and watch the film. But i'd advise you not to skip the book as it is beautifully written and a joy to read. it's a real page turner of a book. i loved it because i just love that whole reinventing a fairytale concept.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Mary Carr on 26 May 2002
Format: Paperback
You will fall in love with plain Iris as she lives her life in the shadow of the beautiful, troubled and petulant Clara. The book explores the nature of beauty and love, painting and the early tulip trade in Holland. Full of twists and surprises. Don't miss it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By BookJumper on 2 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback
By turns funny and tragic, this story reads like a fairy-tale, one of the important yet disturbing ones by Andersen for example. There is innocence and loss thereof, kindness and cruelty, meditations on the function of art in relation to beauty, and an ending so layered you'll be baffled as to whether it's actually happy or not. Add to that a framing device so clever it will guide yet deceive you until the very end, and you've got a very good book indeed. Sadly though, like "Wicked", a couple of scenes make this unsuitable for the kiddies.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Deborah on 18 April 2008
Format: Paperback
During an enforced 3-hour stopover at Los Angeles airport I found this and couldn't resist the cover or the blurb. I haven't read/seen any of his books, so had nothing with which to compare this, and I loved it. It runs alongside Cinderella in a non-parallel line which every now and again curves in to touch the fairy story and remind us of the original, but at the same time keeps very much to its own path. The setting of 17th-century Holland is evocative and atmospheric, including the use of art and the tulip-trade, the machinations of the desperate Margarethe are terrible and at the same time understandable, and Iris is - well, she's lovely. There are comments in some reviews that there is no magic in this book and strictly speaking that's true, but there is definitely more than a hint of something other-worldly and dangerous that lurks in the background and pervades the atmosphere of this book.

The illustrations are lovely - I see this has just been re-released in hardback and I hope they've kept them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Alan A. Barham on 22 Sept. 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this dark unusal twist on Cinderella but didn't enjoy it as much as "Wicked".

The setting of Holland is very well painted as are the descriptions of the 3 girls. However, Clara needed a bit of a slap several times during the book! So, maybe it has moved me enough to make the character annoy me!

I'm intrigued enough to read his other books.
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Format: Paperback
Gregory Maguire is an author probably best known for his adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, Wicked. Ifve read the entire trilogy, with somewhat mixed results: Wicked itself I enjoyed and thought it was quite clever but the series became increasingly strange and peculiar and much less enjoyable. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book, unlike his others that Ifve read, was a straightforward historical novel with touches of otherworldliness which worked beautifully to enhance the story rather than to make it strange and off-putting. Maguire took a familiar story and retold it in a way which made it new and interesting again, and that was exactly what I was hoping for.

The story is set in Holland in the 1600fs, against the backdrop of the tulip boom. The eponymous ugly stepsister is Iris, a young girl who flees from England to Haarlem with her mother, Margarethe, and silent sister Ruth. Once there, they find the family that they expected to take them in are dead and so the family take up work as housekeepers in a painterfs studio in order to survive. When a rich businessman comes to commission a painting of Clara, his beautiful daughter, with some of his prized tulips Margarethe sees the opportunity for advancement and acts to unite her poor family with Clarafs rich one. But, as in all fairy tales, all is not entirely as it seems and plans go awry.

Often when books choose to take an alternative perspective on a well-known story it is to show that character in a more sympathetic light, so I was surprised by the very balanced way in which Maguire presents Iris and indeed all his characters.
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