This is a bit of a ranty, ravy type of story. Just one block of text that recounts Heathcliff’s impressions of Cathy and her family as he grew up. That makes his tale a little more tragic. A little more relatable. Even if I still think he’s a douche.
This was such a beautifully bittersweet storyline. Sleeping Beauty (the Disneyfied version) has always felt a little bittersweet to me. After all, a mistake on her parents’ behalf curses her to a hundred years in sleep. A hundred years in which her loved ones, friends, acquaintances are all unable to live their lives. And it is just the single kiss of a man who is fighting brambles which saves her. In this retelling, Wrede asks just what would happen if the prince were too early or too late? What would happen if the fairy tale just didn’t quite happen the way it was supposed to?
Rumpelstiltskin is one of my preferred fairy tales. There is just something about it that I love, and the fact that it was has been used across many of the different retellings and TV series that I have watched makes it even more thrilling. Which meant that having a Rumpelstiltskin story to open the collection Black Thorn, White Rose made me really happy. It was a great, slightly darker start to these adult fairy tale retellings.
I’ve had this book on my wish list for a very, very long time. So, when I finally managed to find a second hand copy and get it delivered to my door, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it. After all, I love fairy tales, I like stories with a dark twist, and I’m fascinated by retellings and the ways in which people are able to twist and turn classic themes to fit a more contemporary or recognisable setting. Which makes this kind of the perfect short story collection to sit on my shelves.
It’s kind of obvious from the title of this short story that this is a retelling and tale of Hansel and Gretel. But it wasn’t the kind of retelling that I was expecting. From beginning to end this was a bit of a surprise. Immediately I thought that this tale would be one in which the parent would betray her child (like in the original fairy tale).
I began my obsession with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in childhood, but kind of forgot about it until the last year – when I finally got around to reading the original story! And then my obsession began to take a bit of a turn for the… well, obsessive… so I bought this collection as soon as I found it. And opened the page within days of receiving it.
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…
I still don’t like Wuthering Heights, but this short story did help me feel a little sympathy for Heathcliff. Or at least, sympathy for him when he was first hurt. There is no excuse for the actions of later… but I digress, this is about The Cord, not the entirety of Wuthering Heights.
One of my favourite things about poems is the multitude of meanings that a very few words can describe. The multitude of ways in which mere words can tell an entire story. It’s something that prose just can’t quite manage. Prose can fill in more information, but I find that poetry can often find more meaning.
This is an incredibly easy, fun and engaging short story collection. It takes some brilliant authors who take you on journeys through well known fairy tales. The fact that these retellings all focus on the villains of the stories just made me love it even more. I always love the highlighting of grey areas and alternate tellings.