Like many longtime readers, I remember devouring fairy tales as a kid. Now that I've gotten older, I've discovered the literary phenomenon of the retold fairy tale. This is where an author takes a familiar tale and spins it out into a full-length novel. Sometimes they uphold the characters and events, sometimes they upend them. But it's always an interesting read.
Margo Lanagan's Tender Morsels
is a harrowing version of "Snow White and Rose Red." After a childhood
filled with sexual abuse, Liga escapes to a safe dream world with her
two daughters, Urdda and Branza. But when they're almost grown, the walls between the world she lives in now and the world she left behind are breached, and her daughters must learn to live with pain as well as joy.
Ice by Sarah Beth Durst is based on "East of the Sun, West of the Moon." It's sort of a Beauty and the Beast tale, except the castle is made of ice and the beast is a giant polar bear. In Durst's version, eighteen-year-old Cassie is kidnapped from her father's Arctic research station by a giant polar bear, who holds out the promise of helping her find her long-missing mother.
A Curse Dark As Gold, by Elizabeth Bunce, is a retelling of Rapunzel. If "Tangled" didn't do it for you, or even if it did, you'll want to sink into this lush and intricate tale of Charlotte, a girl struggling to keep the family mill going. When a funny little man claiming to be able to spin straw into gold offers her a deal that could save the mill and her family, she wonders if she can afford his price.
What was your favorite fairy tale? Maybe you can read it in a whole new way.