"Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister" is a new approach to the classic Cinderella story. Gregory Maquire takes many of the elements that we are familiar with, and weaves a whole new story. One that is fresh and will keep you hanging on to every word.
"Confessions" starts out with the memories and ramblings of an old women. She hears children in the streets telling the story of the Cindergirl, and she wonders how much of the story is memories of her families history, or if the children are telling a story that just happens to resemble her families history. This launches us into the tale of what really happened. Well, to this family at least.
Normally the Cinderella tale is told from the perspective of the Cindergirl, but in "Confessions," we hear the story from the perspective of her sisters, especially the sister Iris. The tale is set against the backdrop of 17th century Holland, and the rise and fall of the tulips enterprises.
I've never really identified with the step-sisters in the Cinderella story before. Typically they are portrayed as cruel and selfish after all. In this story you see them from a different light. The step-mother is still rather wicked, but the girls are all friends, and simply struggling to make the best of a bad situation.
If you want a fresh look at the old story, this book will be a fun read for you! It does deal with some scandalous topics at times (that's Maguire's writing for you), but that is not the main focus of the story. You'll fall in love with Iris and find yourself thinking of the themes and topics in the story long after you put it down!