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Why I Love Fairy Tale Retellings

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Why I Love Fairy Tale Retellings


 

Why I Love Fairy Tale Retellings

by Carrie Schmidt

From the first time I watched Disney's Cinderella as a starry-eyed three-year-old (who watched it in an old theater with sweeping staircases... and became Cinderella as much as any one little girl can), I have loved fairy tales. 

I love the way they champion the power of love & kindness & courage.

I love the way they always end in happily ever after. 

I love the way they reflect the Gospel and my relationship with Jesus. 

But most of all, I just love everything they promise us about life and love. 

Why I Love Fairy Tale Retellings
Fairy Tale retellings continue to be a wildly popular subgenre in, particularly, Young Adult fiction but have a huge adult following as well. (It's been a long time since I've been a 'young' adult and this is still one of my very fave types of fiction to read) They can be historical or contemporary, a more literal retelling or a loose reimagining. Maybe all the details but one are changed to suit the author's purposes, or maybe all the details but one are the same. (Retellings are also crazy popular for classic literature - Austen & Dickens, etc. - and beloved stories from the Bible - Ruth & Esther tend to be the go-to stories to retell here.)

So why do I love them? 

Because they do everything that a fairy tale does (see list above) PLUS they remind me of my childhood, of that princess-wannabe who fell in love with story as Cinderella fell in love with Prince Charming. They remind me what it's like to discover the wonders and intricacies of a beloved plot and characters for the first time. 

Not only that, but retellings of any kind remind us that our stories are never really over. 

I will pretty much gravitate toward any book that claims to be a retelling (for all the reasons I've already mentioned) but allow me to take a moment to share some of my favorites. This can definitely act as a syllabus of sorts for anyone wanting to do more research!

CINDERELLA

The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson (medieval Germany)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (sci-fi)
Texas Cinderella by Winnie Griggs (historical/western)
Cowboy Charming by Lacy Williams (reverse Cinderella/contemporary/western) 
It Started With Goodbye by Christina June (YA contemporary retelling)

BEAUTY & THE BEAST

The Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson (medieval England)
The Lady & The Lionheart by Joanne Bischof (turn of the century Appalachia/circus) 
Whispers In the Reading Room by Shelley Shepard Gray (Gilded Age mystery)
The Beastly Princess by Lacy Williams (reverse roles/contemporary/western)
The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson (medieval Germany) 

SNOW WHITE

The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson (medieval Germany)
Winter by Marissa Meyer (sci-fi)
Once Upon a Cowboy by Lacy Williams (contemporary/western)
The Shadow Queen by CJ Redwine (YA fantasy)

Can't imagine a contemporary retelling of Little Red Riding Hood? You need Everywhere You Want to Be by Christina June.  

Intrigued by an allegorical retelling of The Wizard of Oz? Make sure you grab a copy of Emerald Illusion by J. Rodes.

And what about....

MULAN 

I'm so glad you asked!

Turns out that Seekerville's own Melanie Dickerson has a Mulan retelling releasing in just two weeks! 


Why I Love Fairy Tale Retellings
She knows women are expected to marry, cook, and have children, not go to war. Can she manage to stay alive, save her mother, and keep the handsome son of a duke from discovering her secret?


When Mulan takes her father’s place in battle against the besieging Teutonic Knights, she realizes she has been preparing for this journey her whole life—and that her life, and her mother’s, depends on her success. As the adopted daughter of poor parents, Mulan has little power in the world. If she can’t prove herself on the battlefield, she could face death—or, perhaps worse, marriage to the village butcher.

Disguised as a young man, Mulan meets the German duke’s son, Wolfgang, who is determined to save his people even if it means fighting against his own brother. Wolfgang is exasperated by the new soldier who seems to be one step away from disaster at all times—or showing him up in embarrassing ways.

From rivals to reluctant friends, Mulan and Wolfgang begin to share secrets. But war is an uncertain time and dreams can die as quickly as they are born. When Mulan receives word of danger back home, she must make the ultimate choice. Can she be the son her bitter father never had? Or will she become the strong young woman she was created to be?

This fresh reimagining of the classic tale takes us to fifteenth-century Lithuania where both love and war challenge the strongest of hearts. 

Preorder your copy HERE

⟸⟹⟸⟹⟸⟹

I'm giving away a copy of The Warrior Maiden (or a Melanie Dickerson retelling of your choice) to anyone who comments below. Open internationally as long as Book Depository ships to your country.  

Do you like retellings? Why do you think they are so popular?

   ⟸⟹⟸⟹⟸⟹

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83 Comments on Seekerville: The Journey Continues: Why I Love Fairy Tale Retellings

  • Anonymous
    on September 07, 2019 | 07:46 Anonymoussaid :
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  • Ellie
    on January 24, 2019 | 21:15 Elliesaid :
    "I like fairy tale retellings because of the happy ending factor - just like a fairy tale! :)"
  • Erica Vetsch
    on January 24, 2019 | 12:33 Erica Vetschsaid :
    "Carrie, your posts are always so much fun! I love a good fairy-tale retelling! :)"
  • Sandy Smith
    on January 24, 2019 | 11:21 Sandy Smithsaid :
    "Fun post, Carrie. I work in a book store and know that fairy tale retellings are popular. There are a lot of series for elementary age kids, too. Here are some:

    Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski
    Grimmtastic Girls series by Joan Holub
    Ever After High series by Shannon Hale (about the children of fairy tale characters)
    The books by Liesl Shurtliff which include Rump(Rumplestiltskin), Red (Little Red Riding Hood), Jack (Jack and the Beanstalk) and Grump (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves)


    These are just the ones I remember off the top of my head. I enjoy retellings of all kinds of stories. Please enter me in the drawing."
  • Anne Rightler
    on January 24, 2019 | 09:40 Anne Rightlersaid :
    "Carrie, I’m pleasantly surprised by this list of retellings! I had no idea there were so many out there and by authors I love! I think we like retellings so much because they often remind us of the stories we loved so much as children. They stir up good memories! Thanks for the great post. Here’s hoping to win The Warrior Maiden. Sounds like my kind of book!"
  • Caryl Kane
    on January 24, 2019 | 08:41 Caryl Kanesaid :
    "Love this post Carrie! Fairy tale re-tellings are magical!"
  • Jeanne T
    on January 24, 2019 | 08:40 Jeanne Tsaid :
    "I'm REALLY late to this party, but Carrie, I love this post. The list of retellings for some of the classic fairytales is delightful! I've enjoyed the retellings I've read. And having a list of more retellings makes my heart happy! "
  • Mary Preston
    on January 24, 2019 | 04:51 Mary Prestonsaid :
    "Fairytale re-tellings can be pure magic to read. The ultimate good v evil battle in some cases. "
  • Vince
    on January 24, 2019 | 01:10 Vincesaid :
    "Hi Jan:

    The more I think about it, the common retellings seem to be. I think it is possible that many people, if not most, don't even know when something is a retelling!

    Just consider this headline:

    17 Movies That Are Cleverly Disguised Shakespeare Plays

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/ishabassi/long-live-the-king-of-literature

    Even some Seekers have retold classic short stories as novellas.

    It just might be worth reading, "Tales Twice Told," once again for new ideas!

    Vince
    "
  • Sydney Anderson
    on January 23, 2019 | 23:16 Sydney Andersonsaid :
    "I absolutely love fairytale retellings. They are definitely at the top of my reading list! There is something so fun and magical about them. And I have always loved fairytales. So there's that too. I am currently working on writing my debut novel. It's a retelling of Snow White and I can hardly wait to share it!!"
  • Pam Kellogg
    on January 23, 2019 | 23:11 Pam Kelloggsaid :
    "I love Melanie Dickerson's fairy tale retellings. I liked fairy tales as a child, now I can read the grown-up versions. I really don't spend much time thinking how they are like the original stories, though. I just like them because they are excellent stories that are fun to read."
  • Melanie Dickerson
    on January 23, 2019 | 19:41 Melanie Dickersonsaid :
    "Hahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!! Ruthy, tell Taylor she's a sweetheart! And I love her. (Yes, I know I've never met her, but she loves my books, and you tell me how amazing she is, so I love her. The End.)
    "
  • Kav
    on January 23, 2019 | 19:40 Kavsaid :
    "Eeeeepppp!!!! My library has that one in audio and I just checked it out!!!!!"
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 18:24 MeezCarriesaid :
    "I agree - Melanie's really make the fairy tales feel real. The others I've mentioned (particularly Christina June & Marissa Meyer are wonderful too)"
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 18:22 MeezCarriesaid :
    "I'm in my 40s and love them too! :)"
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 18:21 MeezCarriesaid :
    "Looking forward to your new one :)"
  • Debbie
    on January 23, 2019 | 17:53 Debbiesaid :
    "I've loved fairy tales since I was young because my mom loved them as a child and read them to me. I love retellings because of all the different angles and viewpoints an author can take with them and all the different settings they can be told in. Melanie Dickerson is my favorite, but I haven't read the others you mentioned. I like that Melanie's are set in the same time period as the original fairy tales, but they have a very realistic feel to them--as if they could have really happened. My 14 yo daughter (Melanie Dickerson is about all she'll read) and I are very excited about The Warrior Maiden!"
  • Christina June
    on January 23, 2019 | 17:38 Christina Junesaid :
    "Thanks so much for including my books! <3"
  • Ruth Logan Herne
    on January 23, 2019 | 17:16 Ruth Logan Hernesaid :
    "And while I was driving my young friend around last weekend, you wanna know whose name came up??? MELANIE STINKIN' DICKERSON!!!! :)

    Because her books just grab you by the heart and do not let go!

    The brat!!!!!"
  • Karen G
    on January 23, 2019 | 17:14 Karen Gsaid :
    "Melanie Dickerson is one of my favorite authors. Her fairy tale retellings are full of adventure, period drama and fun for this almost 60 year old."
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 16:03 MeezCarriesaid :
    "i love that analogy, Vince! Very true"
  • Vince
    on January 23, 2019 | 15:30 Vincesaid :
    "Hi Carrie:

    In a way, I think that retellings of fairy tales act as a kind of fountain of youth because they can revive interest in the classic originals. I've read some fairy tales, for the first time, only after seeing Disney's version because I wanted to learn how Disney changed them. It's as if the originals were in themselves retellings.
    "
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 15:26 MeezCarriesaid :
    "haha! We are kindred Disney spirits, Sherrinda :) "
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 15:25 MeezCarriesaid :
    "modern day ones are lots of fun :)"
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 15:25 MeezCarriesaid :
    "YES! well said :)"
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 15:25 MeezCarriesaid :
    "I always do a happy dance when Melanie has another book coming out. Even if I can't read it right away, I put it on my favorites shelf and tell it how pretty it is haha!"
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 15:23 MeezCarriesaid :
    "<3"
  • Vince
    on January 23, 2019 | 15:05 Vincesaid :
    "Hi Ruth:

    Your post comment brings to mind Douglas MacArthur's quote about old soldiers which I'll paraphrase as:

    "Old stories never die, they just fade away into retellings."

    "
  • Sherrinda Ketchersid
    on January 23, 2019 | 15:03 Sherrinda Ketchersidsaid :
    "I'm definitely a sucker for fairytales and retellings. Such powerful stories of overcoming and happy endings. And I am so excited for this retelling of Mulan! Mulan is my favorite Disney movie...always makes me cry when she presents her father the emperor's sword and he tosses it aside and tells her the greatest gift is having her for a daughter. *insert crying emoji* Sigh...so sweet. Can't wait!!!!"
  • Library Lady
    on January 23, 2019 | 14:33 Library Ladysaid :
    "I like fairy tale re-tellings as on long as they are true to the original but the setting is modern day.
    Janet E.
    von1janet(at)gmail(dot)com"
  • R Merr
    on January 23, 2019 | 14:01 R Merrsaid :
    "I enjoy them because reading something with meaning but so much fun is just a must in this crazy world.It takes the reader to a whole different world to savor and enjoy! "
  • Amy Anguish
    on January 23, 2019 | 13:55 Amy Anguishsaid :
    "I too love fairy retales.:-) And I have really enjoyed several of Melanie Dickerson's since discovering her on here. How exciting that she has another coming out "
  • Beth Erin
    on January 23, 2019 | 13:40 Beth Erinsaid :
    "What better way to indulge our inner child than with a fairy tale retelling?! Fabulous post as always, Carrie! "
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 13:38 MeezCarriesaid :
    "well, you know it's never a hardship for me to talk about how much I love your books ;) MUAH right back! love ya!"
  • Melanie Dickerson
    on January 23, 2019 | 13:27 Melanie Dickersonsaid :
    "Oh, Carrie!!! You are the BESTEST EVER!!!
    I didn't know you were doing this! I just noticed because I've been running around all morning. THANK YOU so much for doing this! You are a sweetheart! MUAH!!!!! Storing up hugs for the next time I see you!"
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 13:02 MeezCarriesaid :
    "me too - it gives me new appreciation for the classics, too "
  • MJSH
    on January 23, 2019 | 12:39 MJSHsaid :
    "I love the retellings. I love the imagination of different authors putting new spins on old classic plots!"
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 12:26 MeezCarriesaid :
    "all great ones!!"
  • Lucy Reynolds
    on January 23, 2019 | 12:24 Lucy Reynolds said :
    "I loved The Golden Braid, The Orphan’s Wish, and The Noble Servant by Melanie. Thank you for the chance. "
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 11:35 MeezCarriesaid :
    "ooooo DEBBY!! I would love to read a retelling from you!"
  • Debby Giusti
    on January 23, 2019 | 11:30 Debby Giustisaid :
    "Carrie, you had me at "Fairy Tale!" The stories are always so enchanting and exciting! I've never thought of writing a re-telling. Now you have me thinking...which is always good!

    Thanks for the list of books!

    Mel's stories are wonderful! Her Warrior Maiden looks like another must read!"
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 11:01 MeezCarriesaid :
    ""a way to savor our memories once again" - yes, exactly!!"
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 11:01 MeezCarriesaid :
    "Get busy, Mindy! ;) LOL"
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 11:00 MeezCarriesaid :
    "I completely agree! I may have to do another post on Biblical retellings b/c I love them too."
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 10:59 MeezCarriesaid :
    "YES you're so right! That's why I loved Christina June's Little Red Riding Hood story - not one that typically gets retold. Another REALLY good one is Strands of Bronze & Gold by Jane Nickerson - the Bluebeard fairy tale."
  • Connie Porter Saunders
    on January 23, 2019 | 10:58 Connie Porter Saunderssaid :
    "Hi Carrie. I do love retellings because they remind us of our past. Most people remember the first time that they heard or saw Cinderella or Snow White or even Old Yeller. (My school class went to the theater!) We treasure those memories and reading these stories in a new version, another setting or time, is a way to savor our memories once again.
    Thanks for sharing your list with the different books and thanks for this giveaway.
    Blessings!
    "
  • Mindy Obenhaus
    on January 23, 2019 | 10:50 Mindy Obenhaussaid :
    "Carrie, I still love Cinderella and many of the Disney princess tales, however I'm not sure I've read any retellings. Guess I need to correct that. Looks like I have some reading to do."
  • Mindy Obenhaus
    on January 23, 2019 | 10:49 Mindy Obenhaussaid :
    "How did you know I love scones, Carrie? Yum."
  • Laurie Wood
    on January 23, 2019 | 10:29 Laurie Woodsaid :
    "I love fairy tale retellings and Beauty and the Beast was my favourite fairy tale as a child. My first completed (unsold) novel was a medieval Beauty and the Beast type story set in the Third Crusade. I still love it, even though it was my "learning" novel. :)

    The books that give us a glimpse of other takes on the central story are keepers for me. And I also love Biblical retellings because Ruthie's right - we humans haven't changed one iota over the centuries. I think using contemporary "retellings" of Bible stories is a great way to reach people for God."
  • Kav
    on January 23, 2019 | 10:23 Kavsaid :
    "Eeeeepppp!!!! I'm a HUGE fan of fairy tale retellings! I think it started when I read Beauty by Robin McKinley. I've read some of the books on your list and have been able to put others on hold at my library -- in audio format -- eeeppp - nothing like listening to a fairy tale being read to you. I'm so excited! So thanks for sharing.

    I'd love to read retellings of lesser known fairy tales...or at least, not the Disneyfied version of the most popular ones too. So much scope in this subgenre!"
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 10:21 MeezCarriesaid :
    "We will continue to pray, Wilani! Thanks for the update <3"
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 10:21 MeezCarriesaid :
    "They do! And it sounds like you were in the same theater I was in ;) Didn't that just add to the mood and make the fairy tale come alive?!?"
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 10:20 MeezCarriesaid :
    "My goal in life is to make everyone's TBR stack as gargantuan as mine ;) "
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 10:20 MeezCarriesaid :
    "Retellings done well are key. All of these that I mentioned are, in my opinion, done very well :) Sometimes, too, I've found I need to lay my expectations at the door and just enjoy the inspiration of the fairy tale that the author used, finding like Vince said above the little things they tuck into their story to hearken back to the original tale. Like we're all in on a great secret if we've read the classic fairy tale :) It helps me, rather than expecting it to follow the original too closely. "
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 10:17 MeezCarriesaid :
    "there are so many i could have added to the B&B list that weren't necessarily retellings (I did sneak in Lady & the Lionheart and Shelley's book, which aren't pure retellings but along the theme) but I had to force myself to stop somewhere haha"
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 10:16 MeezCarriesaid :
    ""And that's why we love them, because we see ourselves in them." - yes! that's it exactly, dear Ruthy.

    I wanted to hear Donald Miller so badly but i was setting up the vendor table. I love his take on stories - and it's so true. Most novels/novellas take the same themes and reshape them to fit the author's style or inspiration - making them new again. Kinda like God does with each of us, too :)"
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 10:13 MeezCarriesaid :
    "That new set of eyes is such fun, isn't it? :)"
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 10:13 MeezCarriesaid :
    "Melanie is hands-down my fave too! Pepper Basham is another one that does awesome retellings but hers are usually of classic stories so I didn't include them here.

    "It is also fun to guess how the author is going to make the story different." - I love that. Yes, exactly."
  • MeezCarrie
    on January 23, 2019 | 10:12 MeezCarriesaid :
    "well of course there's plenty of hot chocolate and warm cider since I don't like tea or coffee either :D Yes, being done well (the stories, not the beverages... although, those too) is key!"
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