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Adult Fairy Tales and Fairy Tale Retellings, Part 2

unicorn in a glen

July 18, 2020

Fairy tales are stories that we learn as children, but remember into our teen years and adulthood. How often do we hear about something being "a Cinderella story," or about something having a "fairy tale ending?" They're engrained in our culture and the way we see the world and tell stories. 

Below, we're offering part two of our fairy tales (and fairy tale retellings) for adults. If you haven't already checked out Part 1 of our list, you should, and then take a look at the list below. 

 


Book Cover: SNOW, GLASS, APPLES

"SNOW, GLASS, APPLES " by NEIL GAIMAN

Also available as an e-book

We all know about the princess with skin white as snow, hair black as coal and lips redder than blood. You might think you know what happens to her, but you would be wrong. The Queen wants nothing more than to rule her kingdom peacefully, but she forced to deal with an inhuman child who lusts for blood.

Book Cover: UPROOTED

"UPROOTED " by NAOMI NOVIK

Also available as an e-book and as an audiobook

Agnieszka loved her home, her quiet village, the quiet woods and the bright river. But a corrupted woods stands at the border and its shadow covers her life. Her people rely on a cold wizard known only as the Dragon to keep the woods at bay and the borders safe. But he demands one young woman serve him for ten years. The next choosing is approaching and Agnieszka is afraid, because she knows that the Dragon will take her dearest friend, the beautiful Kasia. When the Dragon arrives, it’s not Kasia that will draw his eye and be his choice.

 

Book Cover: ALL THE EVER AFTERS: THE UNTOLD STORY OF CINDERELLA’S STEPMOTHER

"ALL THE EVER AFTERS: THE UNTOLD STORY OF CINDERELLA’S STEPMOTHER " by DANIELLE TELLER

Also available as an e-book

A peasant born to serve, ten year old Agnes is forced into servitude as a laundress’s apprentice. Using her wits and ingenuity, she escapes and looks forward to a brighter future. Then teenaged Agnes is seduced by an older man and left pregnant. Now Agnes has no choice but to return to servitude at the manor she thought she left behind forever. She becomes a nursemaid for Ella, a beautiful infant, but she struggles to love this child, who will become her stepdaughter and eventually, Cinderella. Nothing is as it seems and beauty is not always the most desirable.

Book Cover: THE GIRL IN RED

"THE GIRL IN RED" by CHRISTINA HENRY

Also available as an e-book

It’s not safe in the woods. Predators come out at night. The woman in the red jacket has no choice. Since the Crisis, the population has been decimated, and those who survive have fled to quarantine camps. She is just a woman trying to survive in a world that looks nothing like the world she grew up in, one that was once perfectly safe. There are worse things than predators. Sometimes there are men, with dark secrets and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information and unforgiving orders. Sometimes there is something worse. Red doesn’t think of herself as a killer, but she’s not about to get eaten up, just because she’s a woman alone in the woods.

Book Cover: CHARMING THE PRINCE

"CHARMING THE PRINCE" by TERESA MEDEIROS

Once I was Lord Bannor the Bold. I never backed down from any challenge or showed so much as a hint of fear. Then the war ended and I found myself the reluctant papa to a dozen unruly children. Now I need a wife, because I can’t chop their adorable little heads off or toss them in the dungeon. I send my steward to find me a bride; an attractive, meek and maternal woman, too plain for me to fall in love with. You can imagine my horror and dismay when he returned with Lady Willow of Bedlington, a spirited woman who intrigued me. Willow is everything I swore to resist, but I never dreamed that she’d join up with my sweet little children to teach me to fall in love.   

Book Cover: THE HAZEL WOOD

"THE HAZEL WOOD" by MELISSA ALBERT

Also available as an e-book and an audiobook

Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, one step ahead of endless back luck. When Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult classic book of dark fairy tales, dies, Alice learns just how bad her luck can really be. Her mother is stolen away by a figure who claims to come from HInterland, the cruel world where her grandmother’s tale are set. Alice’s only lead is a message from her mom to stay away from Hazel Wood, her grandmother’s estate. With no choice but to contact the rabid fans she formerly avoided, Alice allies with a classmate, Ellery, a superfan with his own reasons for wanting to help her. Alice needs to venture first to Hazel Wood and then into the Hinterland to find out how her own story went so very wrong. First in a series.

Book Cover: WHILE BEAUTY SLEPT

"WHILE BEAUTY SLEPT " by ELIZABETH BLACKWELL

Also available as an e-book

When Elise hears her great-granddaughter recounts a bard’s tale about a beautiful princess asleep in a tower, it pushes open a door Elise has kept locked for years. Elise was the companion of the sleeping princess and she’s the only who knows what actually happened years ago. As the memories flood back, Elise remembers the magnificent world behind the palace walls and the secrets they concealed. Elise has guarded these secrets for a lifetime, because real life is not a fairy tale.

Book Cover: THE CRANE'S WIFE

"THE CRANE'S WIFE" by PATRICK NESS

Also available as an audiobook

George Duncan, an American living and working in London, is divorced and longing to make a connection with someone. All his girlfriends eventually leave, claiming he’s too nice. One night, he is awakened by a terrified keening, coming from his garden. He finds a great white crane with an arrow through its wing. George removes the arrow and saves its life before it flies away. The next morning, George attempts to go about his daily routine, retreating to his book store, when a beautiful woman walks in. George is in awe of her beauty, and her enigmatic nature. He falls desperately in love with her. He believes she holds the possibility to change his entire life, if he only could get her to reveal her secrets.

Book Cover: THE LAST DAYS OF MAGIC

"THE LAST DAYS OF MAGIC" by MARK TOMPKINS

Also available as an e-book 

What has happened to all the magic in the world? Using myths, legends and Biblical mysteries, Tompkins imagines the answer to this question. Aisling, a goddess in human form, was born to rule and with her sister, unite the Celts with powerful faeries. But interests in medieval Ireland are divided. Meanwhile both England and Rome have a stake in driving magic out of Ireland. Jordan, the Vatican commander, finds himself torn between his duty to crush the magic of Ireland and his desire to understand the forbidden magic.

Book Cover: IVORY APPLES

"IVORY APPLES" by LISA GOLDSTEIN

Ivy and her sisters keep secret that their reclusive Great Aunt is actually Adela Martin, the author of the inspired fantasy classic, “Ivory Apples.” Generations of fans to have searched for Adela, scouring her letters and sharing their ideas and theories online, gathering at book conventions in a vain attempt to find her. It was just a matter of time before one searcher gets too close. When Kate appears in a local park, Ivy is suspicious. Kate charms the whole family but she is too curious about “Ivory Apples.” Ivy must protect her secret; Magic is real, untamable and always chooses its own vessel.

Book Cover: ANNOTATED AFRICAN AMERICAN FOLKTALES

"ANNOTATED AFRICAN AMERICAN FOLKTALES " by HENRY LOUISE GATES JR AND MARIA TATAR

This volume revolutionizes the canon of the African American folktale, assembling a collection of tales that argues for their value and suggesting they have an important place beside other classic works of African American literature and American literature. In addition, this volume pulls Caribbean and Creole tales into the canon. Finding stories not seen since the Harlem Renaissance and other archival tales, this volume also reveals how these stories have been changed and claimed by others, including Walt Disney and Joel Chandler Harris. 

Book Cover: ANNOTATED CLASSIC FAIRY TALES

"ANNOTATED CLASSIC FAIRY TALES " by MARIA TATAR

Maria Tatar is a recognized authority on folk and fairy tales. In this volume, she gathers together 25 of the most recognizable fairy tales. She explores their historical origins, their cultural impact and offers new translations of non-English stories. This volume also includes 300 full color illustrations from some of the most famous and most recognizable illustrators of fairy tales. Tatar demonstrates how fairy tales can be seen as models for navigating reality, helping children to develop the ability to survive in a world ruled by adults. 

Book Cover: THE TIGER'S WIFE

"THE TIGER'S WIFE" by TEA OBREHT

Also available as an e-book and an audiobook

In the Balkans mending from war, Natalia is compelled to investigate the circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s death. Searching for clues, she turns to his copy of “The Jungle Book,” and other stories of the deathless man he shared with her. The most extraordinary tale of all is the story her grandfather never told her, the legend of the tiger’s wife. 

Book Cover: THE BRIDES OF ROLLROCK ISLAND

"THE BRIDES OF ROLLROCK ISLAND" by MARGO LANAGAN

Also available as an e-book

On Rollrock Island the men not only fish a living, but also to find a wife. Misskaella, a witch, knows how to draw girls from the heart of the sea, and for a price, a man might buy himself a wonderful sea-wife. He will convince himself that he will love, hold and keep her. He will also convince himself that he’s her master. But the first look into his new wife’s eyes will transform both of them. And the witch will have her payment.

Book Cover: SIX-GUN SNOW WHITE

"SIX-GUN SNOW WHITE" by CATHERYNNE M. VALENTE

Forget the enchanted forest, this story takes place in the Old West. A Nevada silver baron forces the Crow to give up their most beautiful maiden, Gun That Sings, in order to marry her. Their daughter is born into a world with no place for a half Native, half white child. Her stepmother calls her Snow White, referring the pale skin she would never have. Including glimpses through a magic mirror and close-up look at the hard living in the gun slinging West.

Book Cover: HOW TO FRACTURE A FAIRY TALE

"HOW TO FRACTURE A FAIRY TALE " by JANE YOLEN

Also available as an e-book

Jane Yolen is a fantasy icon. Her books are loved by many readers. In this book she tackles fractured fairy tales and legends, breaking open well known stories to reveal their secrets. Each story features an author note and poem illuminating old stories with new light.

Book Cover: BRIAR ROSE

"BRIAR ROSE" by JANE YOLEN

Rebecca loved listening to her grandmother tell the story of Briar Rose. Now her grandma is dying and a now grown Rebecca asks her to tell the story one last time. Instead, her grandmother reveals, “I am Briar Rose.”  Rebecca thinks that her grandma is telling the truth. To prove it, she embarks on a journey and discovers more than fairy tale come to life.  

Book Cover: BITTER GREENS

"BITTER GREENS" by KATE FORSYTH

Also available as an audiobook

When novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force is banished from the court of Louis XIV, due to several scandalous love affairs, she retreats to a convent. There an old nun tells her the tale of a young girl who is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens. Forsyth weaves together their stories into a gorgeous historical novel and an enchanting retelling of Rapunzel.

Book Cover: MR. FOX

"MR. FOX" by HELEN OYEYEMI

Also available as an e-book

Most fairy tales end happily ever after without unnecessary complications. Writer Mr. Fox cannot help but kill off the heroines of his novels. That is until Mary, his muse, comes to life and transforms him from an author to a character. Mary challenges Mr. Fox to join her in stories of her own creation where they search for each other, find each other and try to stay together, even when the roles they inhabit seem to forbid it. Each adventure twists a fairy tale into variations exploding and teasing the conventions of fairy tales and romance and each twist explores the fears that come from forging a lifelong relationship.

Book Cover: FITCHER’S BRIDES

"FITCHER’S BRIDES " by GREGORY FROST

In the “last year of the world,” Elias Fitcher, a preacher in New York state establishes an utopia here on earth where the faithful wait, work and pray for the world to end. In their ghostly old house, three young townswomen whose father has become a convert are ruled by their stepmother, who is influenced by the preacher. Determined to spend eternity as a married man, Fitcher decides that Vernella will be his wife. Now separated from her family, Vernella learns the extent of her new husband’s darker side. It’s rumored that he’s been married before and no one seems to know what has happened to these women. Does the secret lie in the locked room at the very top of the house—the only room that Fitcher has barred from her.  

Book Cover: THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON

"THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON " by SALADIN AHMED

The Crescent Moon Kingdoms are a land of djenn and ghuls, warriors and heretics. The kingdom is suffering from a power struggle between the Khalif and the master thief, Falcon Prince. In the middle of this rebellion, a series of brutal supernatural murders occur. It’s up to a group of heroes to learn the truth behind these killings. When the murder investigation leads them to connect the Falcon Prince’s revolution, they must race against time to save the life a despot.

Book Cover: THE WRATH AND THE DAWN

"THE WRATH AND THE DAWN " by RENéE AHDIEH

Available as both an e-book and an audiobook

The eighteen year old Caliph of Khorasan takes a new bride every night only to have her executed at dawn. So when Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid, suspicions arise, but she has a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on Khalid for killing her best friend. Using her wits to get through the night, Shahrzad discovers she’s falling in love with the Caliph who killed her best friend. 

Book Cover: ROSES AND ROT

"ROSES AND ROT" by KAT HOWARD

Also available as an e-book and an audiobook

Imogen grew up reading fairy tales about mothers who die and make way for the cruel stepmother. She used lie in bed and wish that her life would become one of these stories. Because she has a hard time imagining a stepmother who would be worse. As adults, Imogen and her sister Marin manage to get away to attend a prestigious retreat for artists, but soon learn that living a fairy tale life requires a sacrifice whether it’s love or art. What would you sacrifice?

Book Cover: DEATHLESS

"DEATHLESS" by CATHERYNNE M. VALENTE

You may not know the Russian folklore villain, Koschei the Deathless. Stories about him have been passed down for generations. Valente modernizes his story, spanning the modern history of Russia. Marya Morevna is destined to be Koschei’s bride. She is a clever child of the revolution and will be Koschei’s undoing. Along the way there are Stalinist house elves, quests, secrecy and bureaucracy. This novel is a mash up of magical history and actual history.

Book Cover: THE TRUE STORY OF HANSEL AND GRETEL

"THE TRUE STORY OF HANSEL AND GRETEL " by LOUISE MURPHY

In the last days of the Nazi occupation of Poland, two children are left by their father and stepmother to find safety in a forest. Because real names will reveal their Jewish background, they take the names Hansel and Gretel. Wandering alone in the woods, until they are taken in by Magda, an eccentric woman called a witch by the nearby villagers. She is determined to save the children. At the same time, a German officer arrives in the village with his own plans for Hansel and Gretel.

Book Cover: GRETEL IN THE DARK

"GRETEL IN THE DARK" by ELIZA GRANVILLE

Josef Breuer, a celebrated psychoanalyst, confronts his strangest patient yet. She is a beautiful and mysterious woman who claims to have no name and no feelings. She claims instead to be a machine. Curious, he tries to fathom the roots of her mental illness. Years later in Nazi Germany, Krysta plays alone while her father works at an infirmary next door. Krysta retreats into a world of fairy tales, unable to recognize the danger that surrounds them. When the real world becomes as scary as any fairy tale Krysta has ever read, she finds that her imagination holds power beyond what she could have guessed.

Book Cover: THE CHANGELING

"THE CHANGELING " by VICTOR LAVALLE

Also available as an e-book and an audiobook

Apollo Kagwa’s father disappeared when he was a child, leaving behind a legacy of strange recurring dreams and a box of books labeled IMPROBABILIA. Now a father himself, he and his wife, Emma, are settling into new lives as parents. But the anxiety and exhaustion take their toll on them. Apollo’s old dreams return and Emma begins to act strangely. Believing that Emma is suffering from post-partum depression, it soon becomes clear that her strange behavior goes even deeper. Before Apollo can do anything, Emma commits a horrific act and then vanishes. Apollo begins a quest to find his wife. He meets a stranger who has information about Emma’s whereabouts. Spinning the story of the fairy changeling into a story about a father’s search for his wife and son, this book is sure to surprise.   

Book Cover: THORN

"THORN" by INTISAR KHANANI

Also available as an e-book

Longing to escape from her royal life, Alyrra’s hopes at a different life when her mother betroths her to a powerful prince in a faraway kingdom. When she finally arrives, a sorceress robs her of both her identity and her name and Alyrra takes the chance to start a new life as a goose girl. But she uncovers secrets of her new world, including a threat against the prince and knows she can’t remain silent forever. Caught between two worlds, Alyrra must decide who she is and what she stands for.

Book Cover: DAUGHTER OF THE FOREST

"DAUGHTER OF THE FOREST" by JULIET MARILLIER

Also available as an e-book

Sorcha is the youngest of seven children and the only girl. Without a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who protect and love her. She is the light of their life and they make sure that she only knows contentment. But Sorcha’s joy is shattered when her father remarries. His new wife bewitches him and binds the brothers with a spell that only Sorcha can lift by remaining silent. She must find the Fair Folk and their queen or she will lose her brothers forever. Kidnapped, Sorcha is torn between saving her brothers and a love that only happens once in a lifetime.

Book Cover: THE ICE QUEEN

"THE ICE QUEEN" by ALICE HOFFMAN

Also available as an e-book and as an audiobook

Touched by tragedy as a child, a woman lives a quiet life, keeping others at a distance. She even believes that she wants it to be that way. One day, standing in her house, she utters an idle wish and is struck by lightning. This event sparks a new beginning for her. She searches for Lazarus Jones who was struck dead and the got up and walked away. Maybe this stranger who has faced death can teach her how to live without fear. When she meets him, he is her perfect opposite and an obsessive love affair begins between them. Yet they both hide their most dangerous secrets—what happened in the past to turn one to ice and the other to fire.


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