Fairy Tale Retellings (with a fairy tale giveaway)

Mistress of the WindWE HAVE A WINNER: Congratulations to Blodueudd! Random.org picked you. I’ll be in touch to find out which book you want as your giveaway prize.

I love fairy tales. I used to read the two massive volumes of collected fairy tales my parents had on the shelves over and over as a child (and I have those two volumes on my shelf, now :)). There is something intrinsically satisfying about them, and I’ve read widely on the interpretation of fairy tales and also the reason why fairy tales are so appealing through the years.

My upcoming novel, Mistress of the Wind, is a retelling of the fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon, and I really loved writing it. I felt so connected to the story, having read it so many times since I was a child. The story is part of the Psyche and Eros / Beauty and the Beast grouping of tales, and I love the way the heroine has to go on an epic journey to save her lover. Most fairy tale heroines don’t get that much in the way of grand adventure, but East of the Sun, West of the Moon veers from the usual fairy tale path there.

I love reading fairy tale retellings, and I thought I’d do something today like I did a few months back with historical novels, and find a list of some of the fairy tale retellings out there at the moment–because I’m sure you don’t already have more than enough good books to keep you occupied with the holidays coming up :)

The Snow Child First up, there is The Snow Child. This is a book I really want to read, based on the Russian fairy tale of the Snow Child. It was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and numerous other awards. I’ve always loved this fairy tale, and this is the first retelling of it I’ve seen. You can find all the details on Goodreads here.

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entwinedI only just stumbled on this retelling of the fairy tale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses when looking up fairy tale retellings for this post, but Entwined by Heather Dixon looks like a really great read. princess of the midnight ballThe Twelve Dancing Princesses is such a great story of girls behaving defiantly. I love it :) (Goodreads info here). Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George is another retelling of this same fairy tale, and reading the Goodreads blurbs, I love how both authors have put their own spin on it. The Goodreads info on Princess of the Midnight Ball can be found here.

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BeautyAn enduring classic, and a story that is grouped into the same Aarne-Thompson fairy tale classification number as East of the Sun, West of the Moon, is Beauty and the Beast. They are both part of the ‘husband’ group of fairy tales, although Psyche and Eros is closer to East of the Sun, West of the Moon structurally than Beauty and the Beast, which is more of an internal journey only, where I see East of the Sun, West of the Moon as both an external journey and a journey of internal growth. Of Beast and BeautyRobin McKinley is well-known for her fairy tale retellings, and Beauty is one I haven’t read, but really plan to. (Goodreads info here.) I understand that McKinley’s retelling sticks close to the original Beauty and the Beast tale, whereas the other retelling I came upon while looking for books for this post, Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay, turns the fairy tale on its head and shakes is about quite a bit, while still being recognizably based on the original fairy tale. I am very intrigued (and if you are, too, Goodreads info is here.)

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Ella EnchantedNext up we have the heavy-weight of fairy tales — Cinderella. This has to be one of the most enduring fairy tales of all. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine is one of those wonderful retellings that turns the stereotype of the girl waiting to be rescued on its head. CinderYou can find the Goodreads info here. I don’t know how many Cinderella retellings there are out there, but a recent one, and one I own but shamefully haven’t got round to reading yet, is Cinder by Marissa Meyer. This version of the tale is set in futuristic New Beijing (Goodreads info here). I love the idea of a futuristic / sci-fi setting for Cinderella, and can’t wait to read it.

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cold spellAnother fairy tale I’ve always loved is The Snow Queen. Obviously C.S. Lewis loved it too, because he incorporated elements of it into his Narnia series. I didn’t know about either of these retellings of The Snow Queen before I wrote this post, but it looks like I have a few reading treats ahead of me. The first is Cold Spell by Jackson Pearce (Goodreads info here) and the second is Winter’s Child by winter's childCameron Dokey (Goodreads info here). Both seem to follow the original relatively closely. I’ve always loved the way this fairy tales tackles various ways of seeing the world, and self-sacrifice. There is a poignancy to this story that gets me every time.

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bitter greensAnd finally three other classic fairy tales retold that I’m looking forward to reading. I have Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth on order, and can’t wait to get it. A retelling of Rapunzel, woven through with an account of one of the fairy tale’s first tellers. How great does that sound? And I love the title, too. Goodreads info here. the goose girlThen there is the retelling of The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. The Goose Girl has to be one of my all time favorite fairy tales, and the reviews for this one are wonderful. I am seriously off to order this as soon as I hit publish on this post! Goodreads info here. strands of bronze and goldAnd finally another of my favorites, which I feel like I have a lot more insight into after reading the interpretation of this tale by Clarissa Estes in her wonderful exploration of the power of the feminine in fairy tale, Women Who Run With the Wolves – a retelling of Bluebeard, entitled Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson. Goodreads info here.

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I’m going to offer one of these books (winner’s choice, including an ARC of Mistress of the Wind, if that’s your pick) to a randomly drawn commenter. Tell me about your favorite fairy tale retelling, your favorite fairy tale, or anything else you like :) I’ll do the draw on Friday.

About Michelle Diener

Michelle Diener writes historical fiction and fantasy. To find out more about her and her novels, you can visit her website.
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29 Responses to Fairy Tale Retellings (with a fairy tale giveaway)

  1. That cover is gorgeous! And I have to say, you’ve totally hooked me!
    Lori Brighton`s last blog was …Interview and Giveaway!

  2. Rebecca says:

    I LOVE The Goose Girl (and anything else by Shannon Hale). Another great one is Wildwood Dancing by Juliette Marillier, also a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Like you, I have Cinder waiting on my TBR pile. I’ll get to it soon!

  3. Edie Ramer says:

    Michelle, I love your book and the cover! I think it will be a big hit!

    I’ll have to check out some of the other stories. :)

  4. marilynbrant says:

    Wow, Michelle! What a beautiful cover!!
    And I love fairy tales and their retellings, too, so I know I’ll enjoy many of the books mentioned on your list…yours most of all :).
    marilynbrant`s last blog was …Giving Thanks

  5. blodeuedd says:

    My fav is actually East of the wind, I love that one :D It has been my fav since I saw a Norwegian movie as a kid.
    blodeuedd`s last blog was …Review: Gentlemen Prefer Mischief – Emily Greenwood

  6. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Michelle,
    I really love that cover. You will do wonderful with this release! I can’t say I know too many fairy tales but I adored them when I was younger. I’ll have to check out some of your suggestions. Thanks!
    Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Looking for people to join my street team

  7. Liz Kreger says:

    Love the cover to your book, Michelle. I remember reading it ages ago and it still resonates in me.

    I’ve always been a sucker for fairy tales. Probably lean too far toward the Disney versions, but I love happy endings. I recall a movie released awhile ago … The Brothers Grime, I think it was. Gave an interesting take on so many fairy tales that morphed from the gruesome beginnings. Once Disney gets hold of them, they rarely resemble their original tale.

  8. Misty Evans says:

    Now I want to read all of these fairy tales, Michelle. Perfect for the coming winter months. Some I’ve never heard of.

    Congrats on the new book! Looks like a another one for my keeper shelf. :)

  9. Thanks, Misty. Here in Oz, I don’t have winter months, I have long summer evenings to lie in my hammock and read (evil grin).
    Michelle Diener`s last blog was …Cover Reveal: Mistress of the Wind

  10. I’m a huge fan of fairytales. My favorite story always has been ‘Beauty and the beast’.

    Entwined is one of my favorite retellings from Twelve dancing Princesses! She used a paranormal/dark twist on the story. And Jessica Day George has a very good series with great characters! I really want to read Beauty by Robin McKinley (and all the other books) Of beast and beauty wasn’t AS good as I wanted it to be, but I loved the originality! Cinder is one of the best series out there. It shows me that I can enjoy sci-fi and it’s so enjoyable. I really liked Sisters red & Sweetly, so I can’t wait to read Fathomless & Cold spell from Jackson Pearce! Winter’s child is sweet, I liked Dokey’s books. Bitter greens is high on my wish list! I’ve heard many good things about The goose girl. Strands of bronze and gold was a bit disappointing..

    I really recommend Tiger Lily from Jodi Lynn Anderson! One of the best :)
    Mel@thedailyprophecy`s last blog was …Review 219. Samantha Shannon – The bone season.

  11. Spikeabell says:

    I always say that East of the Sun, West of the Moon is my favourite fairytale because the female protagonist gets to have adventures, so I’ll be looking out for your novel. I highly recommend Bitter Greens and Snow Child. I enjoyed Ella Enhanted and Cinder..and the rest will be added to my TBR pile.
    Fairytales and their retellings inspire my visual arts practice
    See my work at http://www.spikedeane.com
    Spikeabell`s last blog was …Fairytale landscapes in place at Bilk Gallery, Manuka.

  12. Chelsea B. says:

    I absolutely adore Beauty and the Beast. Any retellings of that tale, and I am so totally in. :grin:

  13. Barbara Elness says:

    My favorite fairy tale is Cinderella, and my favorite retelling of the story is Eloisa James’ A Kiss at Midnight. :D

  14. Chiming in a little late, Michelle. Your cover is beautiful! I haven’t read many fairy tale retellings, but your book (love the idea of the heroine saving the hero!) and many you listed sound so good! Thanks for sharing!
    Robin Bielman`s last blog was …Holy Cow, It’s December

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