Fairest of All

Everyone knows the story of Snow White. The tale has been shared for generations. We all know the Wicked Queen wanted Snow White dead. However, was it really just a story of good versus evil? Serena Valentino offers a new paradigm through which to see the Queen.

When we read basic fairy tales, we often fail to consider small (or not-so-small) details. For example, Snow White was the King’s daughter, not really the Queen’s. Due to numerous wars, and ultimately death, the King left Snow in the Queen’s care. She was the only mother Snow ever knew and solely responsible (along with a few servants) for Snow’s upbringing. Was the Wicked Queen always wicked, or did something happen to change her and the way she looked at Snow?

Fairest of All delves into the complicated relationship between a mother and daughter. Practically any woman in the world understands the very special mother/daughter dynamic. Add “step” in front of mother, royal duties and an absentee king, and what do you get? You have fairy tale we know as Snow White.

The Author takes this tale to a whole new level. There are beautiful family moments. The King, Queen, and Snow love each other dearly, and they do all they can to show that love making the most of the little time they are all together. The Queen makes sure she gives Snow the love and affection she dreamed of as a girl growing up without a mother of her own. The Queen is also very protective of snow – so much so that she speaks out forcefully against the king when he tries to punish Snow without knowing what really happened.

So what happened? What made the Queen grow to hate Snow to the point of wanting her dead? How did such a beloved queen become the Wicked Queen?

Fairest of All takes the reader on a journey that is far beyond good versus evil. Yes, the mirror is a big part of the Queen’s obsession and transformation, but, the mirror is only a small part of the story. The desire for love and acceptance plays a much bigger role in the story of Snow White and the Wicked Queen.

Sarena Valentino does a wonderful job of providing the back story for the Queen. Once her past is revealed, the reader better understands the Queen’s frame of mind. One can understand the struggle the Queen faces every day.

Fairest of All is a tale of love, betrayal, loss, desire, acceptance, and forgiveness. it is a story of lost love and what could have been.

I very much enjoyed this book. It was an easy, fast read that kept me interested throughout. The author’s descriptions, coupled with the many visual adaptations that have been presented through the years, make it easy to see the events unfold. Anyone who enjoys the story of Snow White will enjoy Fairest of All. I would not necessarily read it to my four-year-old niece, yet, but I will not hesitate to share it with her once she is older and can better grasp some of the ideas.