Fantasy – Fairy Tale Fantasy

Fairy Tale Fantasy
While Beauty Slept: A Novel
by Elizabeth Blackwell

Fairy Tale Fantasy. “The truth is hardly a story for children,” explains the narrator of this Gothic retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Leaving her family’s farm to become a lady-in-waiting at the castle of St. Elsip, young Elise witnesses Queen Lenore’s struggles with infertility as well as her desperate plan to produce an heir to the throne. The queen’s bargain with malevolent Millicent results in the birth of the lovely Princess Rose, but also sets in motion a curse that will come back to haunt everyone in the castle and nearly destroy the kingdom. Fans of Delia Sherman’s The Porcelain Dove may appreciate this bittersweet and atmospheric tale of love, loyalty, and hard lessons learned over the passage of time.

Letters to Zell: A Novel
by Camille Griep

Fairy Tale Fantasy. Shocking news! Zell, better known as Rapunzel, has decided to leave Grimmland to pursue her passion: managing a unicorn preserve. Her friends and fellow princesses CeCi (Cinderella), Bianca (Snow White), and Rory (short for Aurora, aka Sleeping Beauty) can’t believe it: how could their friend abandon them? Yet Zell’s decision prompts them to reflect on their own lives. Through the letters they write to her, discussing everything from their relationship woes to their own deferred dreams, the princesses begin to question if “happily-ever-after” is truly what they want out of life.

Mirror Mirror: A Novel
by Gregory Maguire

Historical Fantasy. Set in Renaissance Italy, this revisionist version of “Snow White” casts as its heroine young Bianca de Nevada. Her widowed father is a minor nobleman with loyalties to the Borgia family, particularly Cesare and his sister (and lover) Lucrezia. But when the lecherous Cesare begins to pay too much attention to Bianca, jealous Lucrezia orders a young hunter to lead the girl into the forest and kill her. The girl escapes and is taken in by seven dwarves, who are on a quest to retrieve their special mirror. If you enjoy this novel by Wicked author Gregory Maguire, you may also want to read his Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, a retelling of”Cinderella” set in 17th-century Holland.

Raven Girl
by Audrey Niffenegger

Fairy Tale Fantasy. Hatched from an egg, the half-human, half-raven heroine of this illustrated novel looks like an ordinary young woman, yet speaks the language of birds. Though she has no wings, she yearns to fly, a dream that may be possible through experimental surgery. However, not everyone in her life is in favor of such a drastic transformation, which sets in motion a series of tragic events. Reminiscent of Swan Lake in both storyline and overall tone, The Raven Girl appropriately began life as collaboration with London’s Royal Ballet.

The Fairest of Them All: A Novel
by Carolyn Turgeon

Fairy Tale Fantasy. This “dark and twisted fairy tale” (Publishers Weekly) is, in fact, two intertwined stories: an inventive mash-up of “Rapunzel” and “Snow White,” in which the former escapes her tower (and cruel adoptive mother) and becomes the wicked stepmother of the latter. Flawed yet sympathetic characters lend poignancy to this dark, melancholy tale that explores the sometimes complicated, emotionally fraught bonds between mothers and daughters. Fans of this novel will be pleased to know that author Carolyn Turgeon has also tackled “Cinderella” (in Godmother) and “The Little Mermaid” (in Mermaid).

Six-Gun Snow White
by Catherynne M. Valente

Weird Western. In this witty retelling of the classic fairy tale, Snow White is the daughter of a Nevada silver baron and a Crow woman who died in childbirth. Mocked for her mixed-race heritage by her cruel stepmother, Snow White dons men’s clothing and sets out for “Indian Territory” with a Pinkerton detective in hot pursuit. Fortunately, she finds allies in the form of seven female outlaws as well as a pony named Charming. With its Old West setting and gunslinger heroine, Six-Gun Snow White should enchant fans of fractured fairy tales.

List created 6/20/16 – James Hartmann

Adapted from Nextreads.

Posted in Adult Staff Picks, Reading Lists and tagged , , , , .