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.
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!
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)
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....
I'm so glad you asked!
Turns out that Seekerville's own Melanie Dickerson has a Mulan retelling releasing in just two weeks!
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?