Once: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales | Review

I’ve been super excited about this book ever since I heard of it. I mean, six different fairy tale retellings, from six different indie authors… what’s not to love? I’ve read some of these ladies’ writing before and I follow several of them on Twitter, so I couldn’t wait.

I wasn’t disappointed in the least. The retellings were wonderfully diverse in genre, setting, and style, from western to steampunk to suspense thriller. I love that each story had incredible depth and creativity (some of them go in a very different direction than the original), yet at the bottom of them all you can still see the original fairy tale.


(From Goodreads)

Six fairytales you thought you knew, set against a tapestry of historical backgrounds.

A lonely girl plots revenge in the shadow of a mountain. A stolen princess fumbles a century backward. A dwarfish man crafts brilliant automatons. A Polish Jew strikes matches against the Nazis. A dead girl haunts a crystal lake. A terrified princess searches a labyrinth. A rich collection of six historically inspired retellings, Once is a new generation of fairytales for those who thought they’d heard the tales in all their forms.

Featuring the novellas of Elisabeth Grace Foley, Rachel Heffington, J Grace Pennington, Emily Ann Putzke, Suzannah Rowntree, and Hayden Wand.

My Thoughts

//The Mountain of the Wolf, by Elisabeth Grace Foley – A retelling of Little Red Riding Hood as a western, with a not-so-little main character and a very human wolf. The description was incredibly detailed and atmospheric; the plot moves at a leisurely pace for most of it, but the suspense and questions keep it moving. And the romance was so perfect. Western isn’t usually my style, but this was one of my favorites.

//She But Sleepeth, by Rachel Heffington – This one was a little different. To be honest I wasn’t expecting the magical aspects (the opening is set in modern-day LA), and some of it confused me a bit. But the decision to set Sleeping Beauty in Romania, with the evil witch as a gypsy queen, worked out awesomely. And the ending. Excuse me as I go die in a corner. >.<

//Rumpled, by J. Grace Pennington – A steampunk retelling of Rumplestiltskin. This was actually my first foray into the steampunk genre, but I enjoyed it greatly. The setting was perfect for Rumplestiltskin, and really made a lot more sense than the original fairytale. The romance was really sweet as well.

//Sweet Remembrance, by Emily Ann Putzke – The Little Match Girl set in a Jewish ghetto in Poland. I wasn’t too sure about this one at first but it was beautifully told. I guess I should have expected it to be sad, though. Thanks for making me cry. -.-

//Death Be Not Proud, by Suzannah Rowntree – Snow White as a suspense thriller. This one probably differed from the original more than any of the others, but it was a gripping read. Again, it’s not a genre I’m well acquainted with, but Suzannah did it really well.

//With Blossoms Gold, by Hayden Wand – a retelling of Rapunzel, set in an Italian kingdom. This story was so beautiful. I loved the way she built off the original themes of the fairy tale, but made it a totally new story.

I thoroughly enjoyed all of these stories, and I’ll probably be reading more of these authors’ work in the future!

//I received a free copy of this book from the authors in exchange for an honest review

Amazon // Goodreads

Have you guys read this yet? What did you think? Have you read any other good fairy tale retellings recently?

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