If you’re a voracious reader and read YA book fanatic, you already know that fairy tale retellings are one of our favourite genres. We salute the creative brilliance of all the authors who were able to pull these stories off because so many of them are so original. These retellings are able to modernize the characters and plot devices we live in exciting and frequently warped ways, ranging from swoon-worthy romance to intense, non-stop action and everything in between. Here we have mentioned 10 best fairy tale retellings for adults.
10 Best Fairy Tale Retellings For Adults
- The Snow Child By Eowyn Ivey
- The Bloody Chamber By Angela Carter
- GingerBread By Helen Oyeyemi
- Confessions Of An Ugly Sister By Gregory Maguire
- Wicked By Gregory Maguire
- Cinnamon And Gunpowder By Eli Brown
- Deathless By Catherynne M Valente
- The Bear And The Nightingale By Katherine Arden
- The Girl In The Tower By Katherine Arden
- The Winter Of The Witch By Katherine Arden
The Snow Child By Eowyn Ivey
1920 in Alaska is a difficult time to homestead, and Jack and Mabel, two fresh immigrants, have an especially hard time. Without children, they are slipping apart, with her falling under loneliness and despair and him breaking under the strain of farm labour. They construct a child out of the snow during the first snowfall of the season in a playful moment. The snow child is gone the following morning, but they still catch a glimpse of a young girl with blonde hair rushing through the trees.
This tiny girl, who goes by the name Faina, seems to be a forest creature. She survives alone in the Alaskan bush while hunting with a red fox by her side and skipping on the snow. Jack and Mabel grow to adore this girl as their own daughter as they battle to comprehend this youngster who seems to have walked out of a fairy tale. However, nothing is ever as it seems in this stunningly brutal country, and what they eventually discover about Faina will change them all.
The Bloody Chamber By Angela Carter
The narrator, a stunning young woman who plays the piano at tea parties, marries an older, affluent French Marquis. Although happy with the match, her governess points out that the Marquis has previously been married to three women, all of whom perished under unexplained circumstances. He presents his bride with a ruby necklace and warns her not to remove it. He then takes her to his coastal Brittany castle, where she finds his collection of sexual engravings and paintings. They marry that night in a chamber decorated with white lilies and mirrors because he enjoys seeing her embarrassed. He learns that he has important business in New York the following morning. She then begins looking through the Marquis’ belongings in an effort to discover more about him.
She discovers more about his former marriages after looking through his desk, which encourages her to use the forbidden key to enter his chamber. When she finds the bodies of his prior wives, some of them are surrounded by the same white lilies the Marquis adorned her own room with, she quickly knows the full extent of his perverted and homicidal proclivities. She drops the key in her horror, staining it with the blood on the ground. She shares the newly discovered information with the piano tuner when they next cross paths. The Marquis returns home after his business trip is cut short before the two can depart. The young widow establishes a small music school on the outskirts of Paris, and the daughter, her mother, and the piano tuner continue to reside together. Her inheritance is mostly donated to charitable organizations, and the castle is converted into a school for the blind. However, the girl still has a red imprint from the key on her forehead.
GingerBread By Helen Oyeyemi
Loved author Helen Oyeyemi invites readers into a delightful story of a surprising family legacy, in which the inheritance is a recipe. She was inspired by the enigmatic role that gingerbread plays in classic children’s stories—equal parts wholesome and uncanny—from the tantalizing witch’s house in “Hansel and Gretel” to the man-shaped confection who one day decides to run as fast as he can. There are indications that Perdita Lee and Harriet Lee might not be as ordinary as they believe they are.
Perdita Lee may seem like your typical British schoolgirl, and Harriet Lee may seem like just another working mother trying to fit in at the school. One of the reasons is because they live in a walk-up flat on the seventh story with some surprisingly verbal greenery. While Londoners may be able to take it or leave it, Druhástrana—the remote and, according to Wikipedia, nonexistent country of Harriet Lee’s early years—finds it to be highly popular. In actuality, Gretel Kercheval, Harriet’s fascinating childhood friend, who appears to have had a hand in everything positive or negative that has happened, is the world’s truest fan of the gingerbread made by the Lee family.
Confessions Of An Ugly Sister By Gregory Maguire
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister tells the tale of Iris, an unlikely heroine who has been whisked away from the backwater alleyways of Haarlem and thrust into a strange world of money, pretense, and ambition. The narrative is set in seventeenth-century Holland. Clara, the strange and extraordinarily beautiful girl who will grow up to be Iris’ sister, soon crosses Iris’ path. Iris searches for the murky secrets of her new home and the perilous truth of her former existence while Clara retreats to the cinders of the family hearth. In Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Margarethe Fisher’s plain younger daughter Iris recalls the tale of caring for both her attractive stepsister Clara and her mentally challenged older sister Ruth.
After her father passed away, Iris departed the Fens of Cambridgeshire, England for Haarlem, the Netherlands. She frequently muses over the value of beauty and ugliness. Iris develops a painting eye while taking care of her sisters and mediating between Clara and Margarethe, and she spends time learning from a local painter known as The Master and his student, Caspar. The story’s conclusion reveals the characters’ ultimate outcomes: Iris weds Caspar and paints alongside him, occasionally using his name; Caspar “dutifully” looks after Ruth, and Clara eventually passes away in New Amsterdam from a heart ailment.
Wicked By Gregory Maguire
Wicked is a revisionist examination of the people and world of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, its sequels, and the 1939 motion picture version. It is portrayed as a biography of “Elphaba”, who in this instance is known as the Wicked Witch of the West. The plot of the novel follows Elphaba from the time of her rape-related birth, through her radicalization and social exclusion, to her eventual death at the hands of Dorothy Gale. By utilizing her voyage to examine the issue of evil and the “nature versus nurture” controversy, as well as issues of terrorism, propaganda, and life purpose, Maguire humanizes the stereotypically bad figure.
Cinnamon And Gunpowder By Eli Brown
The deadly pirate Mad Hannah Mabbot abducted famed chef Owen Wedgwood in the year 1819. She assures him that he will escape punishment as long as he consistently serves her fine cuisine on Sundays. Wedgwood starts working with the limited supplies on board to satisfy the red-haired skipper. His first success at sea is real bread, which he makes using a sourdough starter as a raging battle rages around him and men are being classed all around him. He will soon be producing pineapple-banana cider and tea-smoked eel. However, Mabbot, who has a peculiar pull on the chef, is under attack. She drives her crew into weariness in her pursuit of the infamous Brass Fox despite being pursued by a dangerous privateer and troubled by a saboteur lurking on her ship.
Wedgwood must rely on the strange crew members he once feared, including Mr. Apples, the terrifying giant who enjoys knitting, Feng and Bai, martial arts experts who swore to protect their captain, and Joshua, the deaf cabin boy who becomes the son of Wedgwood never had. As Wedgwood starts to recognize a pattern in Mabbot’s madness, he must also rely on these crew members. A swashbuckling culinary adventure with cinnamon and gunpowder is boiled over a surprisingly heartfelt love story with a sprinkle of the most bizarre, wonderful cookbook ever created. The Scheherazade myth is turned on its head in Eli Brown’s uniquely amusing and action-packed novel, which takes place at sea and involves food.
Deathless By Catherynne M Valente
A magnificent adaptation of Catherynne M. Valente’s Marya Morevna and Koschei the Deathless, a Russian folktale set in an enigmatic version of St. Petersburg in the first part of the 20th century. Koschei the Deathless is to Russian folklore what devils or wicked witches are to European culture: a threatening, terrible person who serves as the antagonist of several tales that have been passed down orally and in writing for millennia. However, Catherynne Valente’s modernized and altered version of the legend, which moves the action to present times and spans many of the significant developments in Russian history in the twentieth century, is the first time Koschei has been seen through her eyes. However, Deathless is not a dull historical book; rather, it comes alive as the youthful Marya Morevna.
The Bear And The Nightingale By Katherine Arden
The majority of the year is spent in winter at the border of the Russian wilderness when snowdrifts tower over buildings. Vasilisa doesn’t mind, though, because she loves spending the cold winter nights cuddling up next to her darling siblings and listening to their nurse tell fairy tales. She adores the terrifying tale of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon that arrives in the icy night to seize the souls of the unwary. According to her nurse, wise Russians revere the spirits of the house, yard, and forest that guard their houses against evil and fear him.
Vasilisa’s father travels to Moscow in search of a new wife when her mother passes away. Vasilisa’s new stepmother, a fiercely devout city girl, prevents her family from worshipping the home spirits. The family agrees, but Vasilisa refuses. Vasilisa must overcome the people she loves and use hazardous abilities that she has long kept hidden as danger looms over her in order to defend her family from an evil that seems to have emerged from her nurse’s scariest stories. A talented and beautiful voice introduces us to The Bear and the Nightingale, a magnificent first book. It proclaims the presence of a unique ability while casting an alluring enchantment.
The Girl In The Tower By Katherine Arden
Vasilisa is presented with an impossible decision in The Girl in the Tower. She had just two choices after being driven from her home by terrified villagers: marriage or the convent. She is unable to accept either outcome and instead opts for adventure, masquerading as a boy and riding her gorgeous steed Solovey to the open road. But everything changes as she defeats bandits in a skirmish. She receives a hero’s ovation from the Grand Prince of Moscow for her achievements, and she is reunited with her adored sister and brother, who are now members of the Grand Prince’s close-knit group. She is afraid to admit to the court that she is a female because if her lie was found out, it would be very bad for her.
Readers were initially introduced to a captivating protagonist in Katherine Arden’s charming debut book, The Bear and the Nightingale. In a place where snowdrifts reach the eaves of her family’s wooden home and where fairy tales recounted over a fire have some basis in reality, Vasilisa grew up on the edge of a Russian wilderness. Vasilisa attracted the attention of Morozko, Frost, the winter demon from the tales, due to her talent for seeing things that others do not, and together they prevented the destruction of her people. However, Frost’s assistance is not free, and her community has labelled her a witch.
The Winter Of The Witch By Katherine Arden
A catastrophe has now struck Moscow. People there are looking for solutions, and someone to blame. Vasya is all by herself and in a hostile environment. In his fury, the Grand Prince makes alliances that will take him to conflict and ruin. Evil demons are back, this time more powerful than ever and ready to cause mayhem. Vasya, who is caught in the middle of the war, is responsible for the outcome of two different worlds. Vasya, whose future is uncertain, will learn startling secrets about her identity and past as she struggles valiantly to save Russia, Morozko, and the beloved magical universe. She might not be able to save everyone.