I found this book though an online friendship with a bunch of lovely writerly women including Teika Bellamy the editor of this book and driving force behind Mother’s Milk Books. My one regret is that I didn’t find this publisher earlier as I’ve missed the chance to read volume 1 (it’s all sold out.)
This collection of fairy tales retold is truely wonderful and inspiring. The reimagining of traditional fairy tales is a device that I hadn’t thought of until I read this book but having devoured it in a single day I was left wondering what I’d do to write something similar.
Most of the fairy tales in the book are familiar ones from childhood but there were some new ones to me including the story of Seal Women and the Lambton Worm. It was really empowering to read about so many strong, resourceful women in the collection, mostly written by strong, empowered women too. The illustrations by Emma Howitt at the beginning of each tale are lovely – my favourite is the holly crown at the beginning of Solstice.
Rumplestiltskin makes a couple of appearances, in Trash Into Cash by Becky Tipper and Rumplestiltskin by Rebecca Ann Smith. I loved Rebecca’s take on creativity and female empwerment in her story. I enjoyed the modern setting in Becky’s version and how the bond between a mother and child can heal all ills.
Lindsey Watkins tells a bleak and harrowing version of Hansel and Gretel; Ana Salote made me smile with her tale of two intertwined fairy tales; Jane Wright made me weep in Fox Fires with a lovely tale of love, loss and hope; Laura Kayne gave Snow White and the Wicked Stepmother real depth; Marija Smits made me think about the nature of humanity; and Ronne Randall scared me with a dark tale of motherhood and enduring love.
I can only recommend this collection whole heartedly. The writing is excellent and the retelling of traditional fairy tales proved to be thought provoking and uplifting in equal measure.