If You Like….

If you like stories based on fairy tales, you’ll probably like….

— Robin McKinley’s fairy tale remakes, in particular her Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast, one of my favorite books of all time. She revisited Beauty and the Beast in a later book, Rose Daughter, as well as tackling Sleeping Beauty (Spindle’s End), Donkey-Skin (which she changed to Deerskin) and others.

— Some of my favorite novels come out of Tor Books’ long ago Fairy Tale Series, in which contemporary authors were invited to revisit old stories. My two top picks of the series were Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin, set on a college campus in the 1970s, and Patricia C. Wrede’s Elizabethan-set Snow White and Rose Red.

— More recently, Eloisa James took on a bunch of familiar fairy tales, revisiting Cinderella in A Kiss at Midnight and Beauty and the Beast in When Beauty Tamed the Beast.

— Beauty and the Beast appears to be a popular theme. Elizabeth Hoyt’s To Beguile A Beast and Kathleen E. Woodiwiss’ A Rose in Winter (a book I adored as a teenager) both make use of the Beauty and the Beast frame.

— I’ve always liked the fairy tales less traveled. Kate Holmes’ The Wild Swans does a great job with that tale (I’d wondered how someone would cope with a heroine who isn’t allowed to speak for the bulk of the story) and features a rather Miles-like hero.

— There was a novel that came out last year or thereabouts based on the Twelve Dancing Princesses– and it’s driving me nuts that I can’t recall the title (especially since I’d meant to read it, then never got around to it). Anyone else remember?

What are your favorite fairy tale based novels?


  1. Joanne M. on January 23, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Entwined by Heather Dixon is based on the twelve dancing princesses…could this be the book you are thinking about?

  2. jeffrey on January 23, 2012 at 10:51 am

    I just read a “teaser” of A Kiss At Midnight” by Eloise James and it looks enticing. She has a very clever promotional idea where she offered her Winning the Wallflower novelette for E-readers for free, plus teasers from 3 of her recently released novels. Something to think about when generating enthusiasm and interest….

  3. Céline on January 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Is Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George the book you’re looking for? I recently bought it (in the same order as Orchid Affair, to tell the truth)

    Eloisa James is my favourite, of course, and I have Beauty by Robin McKinley in my TBR pile too.

    There are so many fairy tales retellings that I’d love to read! I bought Mermaid by Caroline Turgeon too…
    There is also An Offer from a Gentleman, by Julia Quinn, based on Cinderella, at least at the beginning!!! 🙂

  4. Céline on January 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    That’s weird, my comment doesn’t show… hopefully, it won’t appear twice!!

    So, I was asking if Princess of the Midnight Ball, by Jessica Day George, was the book you were looking for. I’m not sure it came out last year, though…
    I bought it when I ordered The Orchid Affair at the beginning of the year!

    In the fairy-tale retelling that I loved was An Offer from a Gentleman, by Julia Quinn, based on Cinderella (loved it!!)

    I recently bought Mermaid, by Carolyn Turgeon, which promises to be really good!
    Eloisa James is such a great author!! I loved all her retellings!

  5. Renee on January 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Had to be Entwined. I loved it!

  6. Jennifer on January 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Carolyn Turgeon’s “Godmother” is an amazing modern recreation of Cinderella. Deeper and a little darker; I couldn’t put it down. Her most recent book “Mermaid” is equally awesome, I’m sure you can guess the subject. 🙂

  7. Angie on January 23, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    I thought of Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George also, which came out a few years ago. If there’s another recent adaptation though, I would love to read it!

  8. Cho on January 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Juliet Marillier’s Wildwood Dancing is one of my absolute favourites–it’s a beautiful 12 Dancing Princesses retelling. There’s also a sequel (Cybele’s Secret)!

    I must second Tam Lin–I absolutely adore it. Likewise for Robin McKinley’s Beauty and Spindle’s End.

    Additionally, there’s a series called Once Upon a Time, which I believe is put out by Simon and Schuster. Several different authors have contributed to it. My personal favourite is Beauty Sleep.

  9. Virginia on January 23, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    The current series I love based on fairy tales is Mercedes Lackey’s 500 Kingdoms series. In each book she takes two or three fairy tales, shakes them all up, and then makes you wonder how you didn’t see that end coming as you know all the fairy tales. The first book in the series (The Fairy Godmother) explains how her magical world works. Once you read that one, you can read the rest in any order.

  10. Loramir on January 23, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    I love fairy tale adaptations, and Robin McKinley’s are among the best. Spindle’s End is my favorite. For another more kid-friendly one, you can’t beat Ella Enchanted, too.

    Another good series that uses major fairy tale elements and plays with them a bit is Mercedes Lackey’s Tales of the 500 Kingdoms series, which starts with The Fairy Godmother.

    And someone’s already mentioned Juliet Marillier, but her Sevenwaters series starts with Daughter of the Forest, which is a very good version of the same legend as the Kate Holmes one you mentioned with the swans and the heroine who can’t talk. The last book in the trilogy was a bit disappointing to me but the first two were excellent.

    There’s also Judith Ivory’s Beast, a take on BATB and one of the first romance novels I ever read 🙂

  11. Erika on January 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    A Curse As Dark As Gold by Elizabeth Bunce is supernatural spin on Rumplestiltskin with dashes of romance & dark magic. It’s set in an 18th century woolen mill – father dies leaving his 2 young daughters in charge of the mill & its sinister legacy. I think this is technically a YA book, but I thought the themes were quite mature/interesting.

  12. MelissaW on January 23, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Entwined by Heather Dixon – great YA book.

  13. sandy on January 23, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    the twelve dancing princess was the princess curse by merrie haskell

  14. Elizabeth on January 23, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I love Robin McKinley’s Beauty! And most fairy tale stories.

    Heather Dixon’s Entwined is a beautiful telling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses.

    Have you read A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce? It’s a great twist of the story of Rumpelstiltskin.

  15. Pam on January 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Without a doubt Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, an anthology of short stories based on classic fairy tales (the title story is a retelling of Bluebeard, you might also know her version of Red Riding Hood, The Company of Wolves). Her prose is dark and dazzling and her interpretations are just brilliant. Proceed directly to the bookstore: do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars. So amazing.

    I took a seminar on “Feminist Fairy Tales” in college and we also read Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus, Jeanette Winterson’s Sexing the Cherry, which incorporates the tale of the twelve dancing princesses. Tanith Lee (Red as Blood: Tales from the Sisters Grimmer) is also fantastic. Or, if you like poetry, check out Anne Sexton’s Transformations.

  16. Karen H on January 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Just Ella by Haddix was an obsession when I was a preteen. Cinderella realizes Charming is brainless, gets imprisoned, runs away, becomes a warrior, and falls in love. It’s fantastic.

  17. Elizabeth (aka Miss Eliza) on January 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Shannon Hale! She is the QUEEN of retellings, with her Bayern books, Goose Girl, obviously being a retelling of the story of the same name by the Brothers Grimm. She’d probably be known to people on this board for her Austenland, but it’s her retellings where she shines.

    She’s also retold Maid Maleen as Book of a Thousand Days. Rapunzel in the Wild Wild West as a Graphic Novel. Totally check these out.

  18. Tracie on January 23, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Wow, my TBR list just got a lot longer! I read Robin McKinley’s Beauty a few months back based on your rec, Lauren, and enjoyed it so much that I finished it in one day!

    I haven’t read it yet, but I just won a free copy of Sophie Moss’s The Selkie Spell, which is described as a “modern-day fairy tale romance.” I love the cover and am really looking forward to diving into the story.

  19. Deanna on January 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Entwined by Heather Dixon is a book that came out last year based on the Twelve Dancing Princesses and it is very good!
    Fairytale retellings is one of my favorites! I love Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters series. Someone mentioned Shannon Hale above – The Goose Girl has been a favorite fairytale of mine and she revamped it brilliantly! That’s all I can think of off the top of my head.

  20. SusanN on January 23, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    I also like Shannon Hale, and Book of a Thousand Days was my favorite (altho the kindle version was one of the worst ever–hope they’ve cleaned it up in the years since I first read it).

    Haven’t read a number of the others mentioned. Guess I’ll need to add to my ever-growing TBR pile!

  21. Jessica Mac on January 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    So many suggestions!! They all sound so good! Can’t wait till I have time to order some if these!

  22. Pam on January 25, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Hmm, I tried to post on Monday but it didn’t show up…

    Without a doubt, hands down, Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber. She is just magical and her reinterpretations of classic tales are dark, transporting, and seductive (the title story is a take on Bluebeard; you might also be familiar with The Company of Wolves, which retells Little Red Riding Hood). She’s one of the great stylists. She was also a literary critic so her stories are extremely intelligent. One of my favorite books EVER.

    I took a seminar on “feminist fairy tales” in college and we read, in addition to The Bloody Chamber, Carter’s Nights at the Circus, Jeanette Winterson’s Sexing the Cherry (which incorporates the story of the twelve dancing princesses), Ann Sexton’s poetry collection Transformations, and selections from Tanith Lee’s Red as Blood (dark reimaginings of stories similar to Carter). All of these are also dazzling.

  23. Pam on January 25, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Ooops, now it IS here. Please disregard the double post–apologies!

  24. Christiane on February 28, 2012 at 8:44 am

    I rlaely love fairy tales, and I like to see books, movies, and shows that remake them with their own twists. The short story I just wrote is LOOSELY based on Beauty and the Beast, which is probably my favorite.I’m rlaely liking Grimm. I have the latest episode on the DVR and can’t wait to see what happens in that one. I haven’t ever heard of Queen Bee .A funny thing I was talking to my friend’s husband (the ones I went to Disney with) and he honestly thought Disney had come up with all those stories and didn’t know that most of them were based on fairy tales.

  25. Jane on October 5, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    This story is amazing!! I will be using this too take
    in for kid-friendly ghost story day at school!

    Alsoo visit my weblog; children stories, Jane,

Leave a Comment