Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is:
Ten Great Fairytale Retellings
I probably could have made this entire list out of Mercedes Lackey books, but I decided to throw a few other authors in for those who may not be quite so obsessed with her writing as I am.
- The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey (Beauty and the Beast) – I mentioned this book just a few posts ago, but it is one of my favourite fairytale retellings. When Rose’s father passes away and she has no money left, she is forced to get a job as a governess. But when she reaches the country estate where she is supposed to be teaching two young children, she finds out that she has actually been hired by an eccentric gentleman who has had a horrible accident and needs someone to read some very odd books aloud to him.
- The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine (Twelve Dancing Princesses) – This retelling of the twelve dancing princesses is set in the 1920s, featuring twelve sisters who have been locked away by their father because he is embarrassed that he could not have a son. Girl after girl was born, each a bigger disappointment, until his wife passed away. Night after night the sisters sneak out to dance at local clubs in defiance of his rules, until one day their father decides it is time for the oldest girls to marry.
- Reserved for the Cat by Mercedes Lackey (Puss in Boots) – A young dancer is visited by a cat who can speak to her telepathically. He tells her impersonate a famous Russian ballerina, and brings her gifts to ensure that her disguise remains intact. But there are evil forces working against the dancer and the cat, and the real ballerina has been taken over by an evil troll that has them in its sights.
- The Humming Room by Ellen Potter (The Secret Garden) – Okay, so this is more a retelling of a classic story. The book actually has the original story in it as well, and even still, it’s a very small book. Roo is orphaned when her parents are tragically killed, and goes to live with her eccentric uncle who has his own secrets. She is a quirky little girl who is far more likeable than the original Mary character, but the overall tone of the story is still very much present.
- The Frog Princess by E.D. Baker (The Frog Prince) – Most people are going to know this story from the Disney movie, but essentially a princess is coaxed into kissing a frog who says he is an enchanted prince and instead of him turning back into a human she ends up as a frog. They have wacky adventures, meet some interesting new friends, and the princess learns to trust in her own abilities.
- Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire (Cinderella) – This is my favourite book by Gregory Maguire. I just love how you get to see things from the other side of the Cinderella tale. While the step-mother is still a pretty horrible person, the sisters are just trying to make the most of a bad situation. No one is trying to be mean or petty, and they really seem to care for each other, their step-sister, and their adoptive father, which is a far cry from the Disney version of these girls.
- Firebird by Mercedes Lackey (The Golden Bird and The Firebird) – This book is a mix of two different folk tales with some smaller details from other stories mixed in. Ilya is the clever young prince with seven brothers who are all vying for the chance to be their father’s heir. Ilya is treated horribly by this siblings, and has few friends. When someone begins stealing their father’s prize cherries the brothers are pitted against each other to see who can catch the thief and earn their father’s approval.
- The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (Dracula) – This book is a mix of adventure thriller and a classic Dracula story. There are many different stories that make up this book, but they all centre around the narrator’s father. The first is set in the 30s, which follows her father’s mentor as he researches the Dracula myth. The second is her father’s story when his mentor mysteriously goes missing in the 50s. And the third her story in the 70s, as her father leaves to find her mother who has been missing for years.
- Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit by Mercedes Lackey (Arthurian legend) – This book is a retelling of the Welsh Triads which name three wives instead of one; Gwenhwyfar daughter of Gwent, and Gwenhwyfar daughter of Gwythyr son of Greidiawl, and Gwenhwyfar daughter of Gogfran the Giant. It focuses on the third Gwen, who is a warrior that has been tasked by the fates to marry Arthur and protect him.
- Reckless by Cornelia Funke (The Frog Prince; Cinderella; Rapunzel; The Table, the Ass, and the Stick; Snow White; Hansel and Gretel; Rumplestiltskin; Sleeping Beauty) This book is all about finding a way into the a fairy tale land, so there are a LOT of different fairy tale retellings in it. Jacob and his brother Will find themselves in Mirrorworld, and Will is afflicted with a sickness that is turning his body to stone. Jacob has to go on a quest to find a cure.
What are your favourite fairytale retellings? Have you read any of these?