Clearly a tale like Snow White's or Rapunzel's is still ripe for retelling, and Turgeon is comfortable in the world of fairy tales, with two previous novels re-imagining favorite heroines Cinderella and the Little Mermaid, in Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story (2009), and Mermaid (2011). In The Fairest of Them All she writes from Rapunzel's point of view. Rapunzel still lives in a tower in the middle of an enchanted forest, and she has that long, luxurious hair, but she is also a 17 year-old witch-in-training who has not much knowledge of the outside world — especially the ways of men.
Turgeon manages to makes all of her heroines' stories engaging, even when they are doing and thinking things they oughtn't. Although the author is clearly familiar with the Brothers Grimm and Disney, The Fairest of Them All is a distinctly adult spin on some classic stories. The lush prose pulls the reader in, as the story takes Rapunzel and then Snow White for some unexpected twists and turns that will still surprise the most avid fan of folklore. Turgeon proves that there are still exciting stories to tell and retell, featuring beloved fictional characters.
Originally published as Book Review: ‘The Fairest of Them All’ by Carolyn Turgeon on Blogcritics