Gregory Maguire belongs to that rare class of writers who move successfully between adult and juvenile fiction. His work for children includes the ever-popular Hamlet Chronicles series, comprising-so far-Seven Spiders Spinning,Six Haunted Hairdos,Five Alien Elves, and Four Stupid Cupids, not to mention picture books and young adult novels. His adult fiction includes three novels that are a new take on classic fairy tales. Wicked revisits The Wizard of Oz, but this time told from the Witch of the West's point of view. (It has been turned into a Broadway musical opening October 2003.) Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, which turned the Brothers Grimm's Cinderella on its head, was an ABC/Wonderful World of Disney miniseries in 2002. And his recent Mirror, Mirror inventively retells Snow White's story. Publisher's Weekly described Lost, the adult novel that preceded Mirror, Mirror, as "a virtual literary paella of adult and children's fantasies: Jack the Ripper, A Christmas Carol, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, The Exorcist, even a wafting glimpse of Dracula." A Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Tufts University, Maguire is an active figure in children's literature education, the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, and a resident of Concord.
Winifred Rudge, a bemused writer struggling to get beyond the runaway success of her mass-market astrology book, travels to London to jump-start her new novel about a woman who is being haunted by the ghost of Jack the Ripper. Upon her arrival, she finds that her stepcousin and old friend John Comestor has disappeared, and a ghostly presence seems to have taken over his home. Is the spirit Winnie's great-great-grandfather, who, family legend claims, was Charles Dickens' childhood inspiration for Ebenezer Scrooge? Could it be the ghostly remains of Jack the Ripper? Or a phantasm derived from a more arcane and insidious origin? Winnie begins to investigate and finds herself the unwilling audience for a drama of specters and shades?some from her family's peculiar history and some from her own unvanquished past.
In the spirit of A. S. Byatt's Possession, with dark echoing overtones of A Christmas Carol, Lost presents a rich fictional world that will enrapture its readers.
Set against the rich backdrop of seventeenth-century Holland, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister tells the story of Iris, an unlikely heroine who finds herself swept from the lowly streets of Haarlem to a strange world of wealth, artifice, and ambition. Iris's path quickly becomes intertwined with that of Clara, the mysterious and unnaturally beautiful girl destined to become her sister. While Clara retreats to the cinders of the family hearth, burning all memories of her past, Iris seeks out the shadowy secrets of her new household-and the treacherous truth of her former life.
Far more than a mere fairy tale, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister is a novel of beauty and betrayal, illusion and understanding, reminding us that deception can be unearthed-and love unveiled-in the most unexpected of places.
When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?
Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability, and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to be the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, a smart, prickly, and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.
A lyrical work of stunning creative vision, Mirror, Mirror is set in Renaissance Italy, where Gregory Maguire draws a connection between the poison apple in the original Snow White story and the Borgia family's well-known appetite for poisoning its foes.
In Mirror, Mirror, Snow White is Bianca de Nevada, born on a farm in Tuscany in 1495. When the duplicitous Cesare Borgia orders her father to go on a quest to reclaim the relic of the original Tree of Knowledge, Bianca is left in the care of her father's farm staff and the beautiful, madly vain Lucrecia Borgia, Cesare's sister. But Lucrecia becomes jealous of her lecherous brother's interest in the growing child and plots a dire fate for Bianca in the woods below the farm. There Bianca finds herself in the home of seven dwarves- creators of the magic mirror -who await the return of their brother, the eighth dwarf, long gone on a quest of his own.
In the evocative style of Maguire's earlier novels, Mirror, Mirror is a fresh, compelling take on a beloved classic tale.