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Aug 17

Retold Fairy Tales: 10 Must-Read Adult Fiction Titles

Posted on August 17, 2020 at 4:07 PM by Jenny Levins


Retold Fairy Tales: 10 Must-Read Adult Fiction Titles

Fairy tales are stories that have been passed down for generations. The stories may differ a little or a lot as details and characters have changed over time. This summer, try a new version of your favorite fairy tales and here’s a list of 10 adult books that we have to get you started.

1. Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier
This book is a version of Beauty and the Beast and takes place in Whistling Tor, an area that no one wants to visit, except Caitrin. Anluan has a curse over him and all of his people and it is only with Caitrin’s help and love that the curse can be broken and his people can be freed.

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2. Deerskin by Robin McKinley
This book is a Cinderella retelling. Princess Lissla Lissar finds herself (and her loyal dog) running from her father’s affections, who thinks that the Princess looks very similar to her dead mother. Upon fleeing, she gets a job as a kennel maid for another king and the Prince begins to fall with her.

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3. Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
This story is a version of the Snow White fairy tale. Boy Novak is looking to get away from New York and ends up in Flax Hill, Massachusettes. There she mets Arturo Whitman and his daughter Snow. She falls in love with the family and gives birth to Bird, Snow’s sister. The family must revaluate their dynamic and this book follows the unique relationship between Boy, Snow, and Bird.

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4. Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire
This story is also a version of Snow White. Bianca de Nevada thought the world of Montefiore and Montefiore was her entire world. Well, it used to be. A noble entourage came into town with a wicked woman, named Lucrezia. When Bianca’s father gets sent on a journey by the nobles, she is left in the care of Lucrezia who plans an evil fate for Bianca.

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5. Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman
This book is a retelling of the fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty. Carol is a woman with a secret—she has died many times but her deaths are not permanent. She basically goes from coma to coma only waking briefly in between. The only people aware of her condition is her husband, who only married her for her money and her true love, James Moxie. Upon hearing of her condition, James Moxie starts a journey to his true love to help save her. Carol has to fight for her life and fight for awareness and for true love.

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6. Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
This story is a retelling of Rapunzel. A French novelist, named Charlotte-Rose, is driven out of Louis XIV’s court and seeks refuge in a convent. There, an old nun tells her the story of a girl, named Margherita, was forced to reside in a tower due to a deal made by Margherita’s father and a woman called Selena. Selena kept Margherita away from the rest of the world, but Margherita continued to sing in hopes that someone would hear her and, one day, a young man hears her song.

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7. Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
This is a retelling of the fairy tale, One Thousand and One Nights. the Crescent Moon kingdoms is experiencing a power struggle between Khalif and the Falcon Prince. This is a land filled with all sorts of people: djenn, ghuls, holy warriors, heretics, khalifs, and killers. Supernatural murders lead to even further divide and rebellion within the Crescent Moon Kingdoms. Heroes must rise up to find the truth and unite the people. 

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8. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
This story is a retelling of Vasilissa the Beautiful. Vasilisa spent her Russian winters listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. The demons and evil creatures of the fairy tales, according to her nurse, can be held off by honoring the spirits of the house, yard, and forest that protect them. After Vasilisa’s father marries her new step-mother, the step-mother forbids Vasilisa from honoring the spirits. Soon, they start to experience misfortune and Vasilisa has to step up and defend her herself and her loved ones against the demons from her nursery rhymes.

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9. The Changeling by Victor LaValle
This is a retelling of the The Changeling fairy tale. Apollo finds himself on a journey to find his wife. With a newborn son, he struggles to figure out what is happening with his wife and begins a quest to find her after she vanishes into thin air. His journey takes him to many places and he has come to terms with many secrets as he tries to reunite his family.

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10. The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman
This story is a retelling of the Snow Queen. A librarian lives a small town, quiet life until she is struck by lightning. While being stuck, she made a wish and this event starts the beginning of her new life. She seeks out another survivor of a lightning strike, however, he is in all ways her opposite. The start a relationship together of fire and ice (literally) and are forced to hide their abilities.

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Article by Alexa Stewart, Youth Services Program Specialist