Title: The Snow Queen
Author: Patricia A. McKillip
In: Snow White, Blood Red (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary romance, Retellings
Dates read: 7th April 2019
Format: Short story
5th sentence, 74th page: Fool.
Gerda and Kay have been together for years. Yet, somehow their marriage and love doesn’t quite seem to be the way it was. Then, one night, Kay runs across Neva, a startling woman of cold beauty and everything changes.
Hans Christian Andersen’s snow queen has long been one of my favourite fairy tales. There is something that is incredibly sweet, and incredibly dark about it. Something that I just find lingers with me long after I have turned the last page. Maybe it’s Gerda’s ability to love without expectations, fight against what everyone is saying and doing in an attempt to save the boy that she loves. Which meant that when I found out there was a retelling of this story in a more adult manner, I knew I was going to either love it or hate it…
Luckily for me, I actually really enjoyed this retelling. Gerda and Kay are older, their relationship that of a married couple (rather than two innocent children). Yet, the same moments and distances play out. This time, it is through a much more conscious decision made by Kay, but it still has that same horrible feeling. And I liked Gerda in this tale a lot more. In the original I never quite understood just why she goes to such lengths for a boy who never really seemed to give her much attention. I still admire her for it, but I didn’t quite get it…
In this short story, instead of fighting to get Kay back and spending all of her time and energy regaining his love, Gerda spends this time taking care of herself. Although her love for Kay never quire diminishes, she finds a way to take her own place in life. To find her own joy that doesn’t rely on a man… now that, I can really understand.
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