Monday, December 5, 2016

Once// Historically Inspired Fairytales Review

Today I am thrilled to review a book written by some bloggers I follow.
 I first heard about this project on Hayden's blog some months ago, and jumped at the chance to be an advanced reader.

written by
 Elisabeth Grace Foley, Rachel Heffington, J Grace Pennington, Emily Ann Putzke, Suzannah Rowntree, and Hayden Wand.
"Once" is a collection of fairytale retellings, all spun with the twist of being placed in a historical setting. These short-stories are all standalone, and each taste of the distinct interests and styles of six very different authors. From a time-traveling princess who just wants to sleep, to a lonely girl out west surrounded by wolves, each story definitely has a feel of its own. There's a mystery during the Jazz age, and some steampunk misadventure that will keep you reading until the end. A 1940's tale of heartbreak and an Italian Renaissance tale of freedom share the common themes of war, fear and love. Each story seeks to view well known fairytales through a different lens, and there are sure to be at least a few plot surprises for everyone.

-The Mountain of the Wolf  by Elisabeth Grace Foley: a western-style retelling of Little Red Riding Hood dealing with the struggle between revenge and justice, set amid old mines and wild mustangs.

-She But Sleepeth by Rachel Heffington: a retelling of Sleeping Beauty woven with time-travel, broken glass, and cunning gypsies, set in Romania at the famous Peleș Castle.

-Rumpled by J Grace Pennington: a steampunk retelling of Rumplestiltskin revolving around one rash decision, lies, artificial intelligence and slow love.

-Sweet Remembrance by Emily Ann Putzke: a heart-rending retelling of The Little Match Girl, set in a WW2 era Jewish ghetto, this story explores the concept of loving even after incredible loss. 

-Death Be Not Proud by Suzannah Rowntree: a mystery-style retelling of Snow White involving jazz music, moonshine, and a quest for truth, set around glassy waters in New Zealand.

-With Blossoms Gold by Hayden Wand: a Renaissance era retelling of Rapunzel, this tale about a girl in a tower shows that not all prisons are physical, and deals with themes of courage and faith.

Historical Elements:
I was drawn to this book for it's historical backdrop, and that is exactly what made the stories special.
Some stories definitely pull more on the historical aspect than others. Also, I did learn about some neat places, namely Peles Castle in Romania, and the South Island of New Zealand. Plus the description of a maiden clothed in Renaissance garb made me happy.

The romances were kept pretty clean, with kissing and embraces between couples.
There is a start of a chapter where intimacy is implied to have taken place between a married couple.
Overall I felt like the relationships were sweet rather than steamy.

Spiritual Elements:
These are fairytale retellings all written, (from what I understand) by Christian authors.
Two of the stories have a more fantasy/magic feel, while the others do not.
The last story in particular makes mention of Christianity and the power of prayer, and in some of the others there are subtle themes of faith and honor.

Overall Thoughts:
This was a delightful read, a real treat for someone who doesn't read much fiction these days *sigh*. I couldn't put it down over my Thanksgiving holiday. There were things in each story that I did not foresee happening, which kept it fun. At first I found it hard switching from one author to another, but in the end that is exactly what I appreciated most about it. If these authors ever put together another collection, I would pounce at the chance to get a copy.

I highly recommend buying this book, it is available for purchase on kindle!

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, these stories sound like such fun! I love fairy tale retellings...they make me nostalgic for my childhood. :) Thanks for the recommendation!

    Basically Beautiful