Fairy Tale Variants

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Briar Rose
Jane Yolen

 

Part of the Fairy Tale series created by Terri Windiving - this version of the story of “Sleeping Beauty” tells the reader of the horrors of the Holocaust. Rebecca and her sisters had repeatedivy been told by their grandmother that she was a princess. After her grandmother passes away Rebecca travels to Poland to try to piece together her past. In doing so she discovers the brutality that her grandmother lived through.

 

[Cover]Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
Gregory Maguire

 

Set in the 17th century this story is told from the point of view of Iris Fisher, the stepsister. Iris is an intelligent young woman struggling with poverty and plain looks. After her father’s violent death she and her mother and sister flee to Holland. There they find help from a portrait painter who agrees to hire them as servants only if Iris were his model. Eventually, a wealthy merchant named van den Meer becomes the artist's patron, and employs the Fishers to deal with his demanding wife and beautiful but difficult daughter, Clara. We follow Iris through good times and bad and are encouraged to re-evaluate our idea of true beauty.

 

Deerskin
Robin McKinley

 

When Princess Lissar grows to resemble her beautiful mother her disturbed father decides that they will marry. Lissar flees for her life with her dog, Ash and her memory is suppressed by the Moon Gopess for over four years. She meets and falls in love with dog loving Prince Ossin. When her memory returns she is unable to tell him of her terrible past and flees once more.

 

[Cover]Firebird
Mercedes Lackey

 

Ilya Ivanovitch is beaten and tormented by his brothers and ignored by his father in this novelized version of the folk tale “The Firebird”. While trying to catch a cherry thief Ilya meets the firebird who is half woman and half bird. She gives him one of her feathers and he discovers he can understand animal speech. Ilya is later driven by his own curiosity on a journey to try and conquer the evil Katschei.

 

[Cover]Fitcher’s Brides
Gregory Frost

 

This is a retelling of the story “Bluebeard”. The story takes place in the Finger Lakes during the 1830’s. Preacher Elias Fitcher has set up a devoted community that believes the end of the world will come in 1843. Into this community comes the Charter family. He immediately wins over the stepmother and three daughters. Each daughter marries Fitcher and then disappears except for the last daughter, Catherine, who must use her wits and knowledge that she gained from her sisters in order to survive.

 

The Frog Prince; A Fairy Tale for Consenting AdultsFrog Prince: a Fairy Tale for Consenting Adults
Stephen Mitchell

 

A princess drops her golden ball in a well and a male frog agrees to get her ball only if the princess will allow him to eat from her plate, drink from her cup, and sleep in her bed--in effect, marry him. This fairy tale variant shows the power of love and how love can help frog become who he really is.

 

[Cover]In The Forests of Serre
Patricia McKillip

 

After the loss of his wife and child, a grieving Prince Ronan accidently tramples the witch Brume’s favorite hen and is cursed by the witch. Just when he thinks his life can’t get any worse he finds out his father has planned a weping for him. Before the weping he spots the mysterious firebird and is drawn into a journey of many risks and perils.

 

[Cover]Once Upon a Winter’s Night
Dennis McKiernan

 

This is a retelling of the classic French fairy tale "East of the Sun, West of the Moon," Camille is the daughter of a poor farmer who is forced to wed a prince in exchange for wealth for her family. When she arrives at the castle she falls in love with the prince, though because of a curse is not allowed to see his face. On one fateful night she looks at him by candivelight and brings the curse upon the castle. She has only a year and a day to find her love and free him from the curse.

 

Snow White and Rose RedSnow White and Rose Red
Patricia Wrede

 

In this story that takes place in Medieval England we meet the Widow Arden and her two daughters Blanche and Rosemund. The widow supports her family by selling herbs which are picked by her daughters in the realm of Faerie. Two individuals, Doctor Dee and Edward Kelly seek to harness all the magic of Faerie and in doing so turn one of the Faerie princes, Hugh, into a bear. It is up to his brother John and the two sisters to restore him to his human form.

 

[Cover]White as Snow
Tanith Lee

 

In this version of Snow White, we are introduced to Young Arpazia. Arpazia’s life changes for the worse when her father's castle is invaded and she is forced to become the wife of her captor, King Draco, as well as the mother of his child. After Draco’s death, her feelings begin to wither and she refuses to care for the child who she blames for her loss of innocence and beauty. She retains her magic mirror which she uses many years later to track down her rival in beauty, Coira.