Jessica Day George has offered up a wonderful retelling of a very familiar story in her newest novel Princess of Glass. Being a sucker for fairy tale retellings, this wasn’t a book I could pass by. The originality of George’s tale is apparent immediately as the protaganist of this Cinderella reimagining is not the maid of cinders and ashes! Princess Poppy of Westfalin is one of twelve sisters, all of whom spent years under a curse that caused them to dance into exhaustion night after night. Freed from the enchantment and able to finally enjoy life, the last thing Poppy wants to do is dance. Yet circumstances find her in a strange country, being feted at balls…and perhaps the only person in the realm who has had experience with evil magics. As such Poppy recognizes the signs of enchantment when an unknown lady begins to turn heads and capture the attention of her friend, Prince Christian.
It is not necessary to read Princess at the Midnight Ball, Jessica Day George’s previous novel, in order to enjoy Princess of Glass. However, it would be a shame to miss such a wonderful version of the classic tale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” Poppy’s eldest sister Rose takes center stage in the novel, along with an enterprising ex-soldier turned gardner named Galen.
Other wonderful fairy tale reimaginings include the classic Beauty by Robin McKinley. McKinley also penned Spindle’s End, Rose Daughter, The Outlaws of Sherwood and Deerskin which are all variations of familiar childhood stories. Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin is an unforgetable coming of age set on a the campus of a small fine arts college (although, I’ve got to say the current cover is less than appealing – as they say, don’t judge the book!) Last but not least, Gail Carson Levine as made a career of such offerings as Fairset, Ella Enchanted and more, and fantasy grand dame Mercedes Lackey has been having fun creating a whole world based on various fairy tales in her Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series.
If you prefer your fairy tales all mashed together there’s also Sondheim’s masterpiece musical Into the Woods or Jim Hines’ sometimes spoofy and sometimes serious but altogether entertaining novel The Stepsister Scheme and it’s sequels The Mermaid’s Madness and Red Hood’s Revenge.