The best fairy tale retellings for the young at heart

Who am I?

I have loved fairy tales since I was a little girl and watched my first Disney movie. Over the years, I’ve read many fairy tale retellings, as well as the original versions. I love how writers can see a story like Beauty and the Beast and find ways to make an almost completely new story, but still hold true to the original concepts of the fairy tale. Fairy tales connect us to our childhood and when we read these new versions, it lets us relive a part of our childhood. Not many books can do that! 

I wrote...

What We Didn't Say: An Ever After Tales Collection

By Robyn Tocker,

Book cover of What We Didn't Say: An Ever After Tales Collection

What is my book about?

Paris, France, 1826. Twenty-five years have passed since Beauty broke the beast’s curse. Their eldest son Dante spends most of his days secluded in his attic, nursing wounds that have left him with chronic pain. When Dante accidentally rescues a little girl from her burning home, it stirs up memories long buried. 

Growing up in the shadow of her mother and sister’s beauty, Beauty’s daughter Persephone focuses on her books more than how her hair is curled. An accident causes Persephone to make a horrible mistake, bringing the enchantress back into her family’s life. Cursed to become a beast like her father, until she can love herself and find someone who will love her as well, Persephone is trapped in the Enchanted Castle.

The books I picked & why

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The Guinevere Deception

By Kiersten White,

Book cover of The Guinevere Deception

Why this book?

The Guinevere Deception is a brilliant Camelot retelling that drew me in for many reasons, the main one being the friendships between the women in White’s book. Guinevere has strong connections to the women close to her and this helps her take on her new rule as Camelot’s queen. I also loved how White made the famous knight Lancelot a woman, which further plays with the King Arthur legend. As if that wasn’t enough to recommend this book, White kept readers guessing with the romance in this book. Who will Guinevere choose? Morded? Arthur? Someone else? You have to keep reading the trilogy to find out!

Stalking Shadows

By Cyla Panin,

Book cover of Stalking Shadows

Why this book?

Beauty and the Beast is my favourite fairy tale, so not only do I read every retelling I can get my hands on, but I’m quite particular about how I rate them. Stalking Shadows exceeded all expectations. I loved how she changed the genders of her Beauty and Beast (or Beasts). I love when women are allowed to be beastly and monstrous. Panin also didn’t shy away from talking about tough subjects in her book, another reason I loved it so much. I especially liked how she tackled racism and Lord Sebastian’s experiences as a biracial child growing up in the village.  

Cinderella Is Dead

By Kalynn Bayron,

Book cover of Cinderella Is Dead

Why this book?

Bayron made the classic Cinderella fairy tale something modern girls can relate to. Black, LGBT girls will especially find a kindred spirit in Sophia. I loved how determined Sophia was to fight back against society’s expectations of her. She was willing to fight for her happily ever after, even if it didn’t look like how the world thought it should. To see Sophia’s struggles rewarded with her love story with Constance was great to read.  

Red Hood

By Elana K. Arnold,

Book cover of Red Hood

Why this book?

Arnold’s Little Red Riding Hood retelling tackled so many important topics, from rape culture to female sexuality and misogyny. Instead of needing to be rescued like the original Red Riding Hood, Bisou gains strength from her first period and is able to defend herself and other women from the “werewolves.” Arnold gave her Red Riding Hood agency and control, something many fairy tales seem to take from their female characters. 

Spinning Silver

By Naomi Novik,

Book cover of Spinning Silver

Why this book?

Novik’s Rumpelstiltskin retelling is an outstanding book. Of the three leading ladies, Miryem was my favourite, for a strange reason. I loved how angry she was; the villagers took advantage of her father and she wasn’t about to let that keep happening. She got herself into trouble, but she was smart enough to come out ahead. Miryem, Wanda, and Irina were put in impossible situations, either through their own choices or that of the men in their lives, and in the end, they saved themselves. Another reason to love this incredible book!

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