This Christmas, my mood called for fairytale-themed books, and being a fairytale lover, I already had a few in hand, and these were my choices.
Honestly, this was a book-cover-buy. I mean, look at that illustration! And the story totally lived up to its beauty. (The illustrations are just as beautiful inside!) Easily slip into winter wonderland with this quick, short read about friendship and love. Two friends got separated when the boy followed the Snow Queen to her castle. Bewitched by her, he stayed with her for a very long time. The girl who loved and missed him dearly, risked her life and searched everywhere for him. And yes, it had a happy ending which will warm your heart this cold, dreary season. “No power that I could give could be as great as that which she already has. Don’t you see how men and beasts are compelled to serve her, and how far she has come in the wide world since she started out in her naked feet? We mustn’t tell her about this power. Strength lies in her heart, because she is such a sweet, innocent child.”
Got this book from a swap I participated in, which was also a book on my wishlist. And my…was it love at first read! Jane Yolen is going to be an auto-buy for me from now on, just like Alice Hoffman! ‘How to Fracture A Fairy Tale’ takes a different look at folk tales and fairy tales from Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm, Native American stories, Greek Mythology, Japanese and Chinese folk tales, and many more. For example, The Three Billy Goats Gruff was told from the bridge’s point of view, which I found very clever; wolves were given a chance to tell their side of the story in fairy tales that always gave them ‘bad press’; a dragon’s story told from a dragon’s point of view (one of my favorites in the collection) and a satirical fracturing of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, just to name a few. At the end of the book, a section is dedicated to poems that complement the fairy tales and notes on how Yolen fractured them. A must-read! So glad I picked and read this book!
After reading ‘The World That We Knew’ I knew I had to read Hoffman’s other works, so I started with one of her most beloved works, ‘Practical Magic’. We follow the story of Gillian and Sally, two orphaned girls, raised by their aunts, Aunt Frances and Aunt Jet, who were witches. Coming from a line of witches, the sisters wanted nothing to do with it, and thus went their separate ways – Gillian ran away, while Sally got married. And as fate would have it, they were brought back together again. Gillian needed Sally’s help desperately and the only way out was through magic. Thus began their journey of self-discovery, love, acceptance, and family.
Hoffman’s matter-of-factly way of telling a story may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but to me, it worked in her stories and I loved it! The tone reminded me of that narrator in ‘Desperate Housewives’/ Discovery Channel’s ‘Blood Relative’, distant, mysterious yet so mesmerizing.
This is the prequel to ‘Practical Magic’, where we learn about more about the Owens’ cursed history. Susanna Owens knew that her three children were different – Franny (Frances), who attracted birds without having to call them, Jet was able to read thoughts and Vincent drew danger and women wherever he went. Their mother warned them against love and magic, as they’d bring them nothing but tragedy, but as much as they tried (except for Vincent), love and magic trailed them closely. This is a book about love, loss, family, and most of all, about embracing your ‘magic’.
I enjoyed this a little more than ‘Practical Magic’, as I became more invested in the Owens family history, plus the siblings were such interesting characters! Told in true fairytale fashion, this book is one I’ll never forget!
NEW IN! For fans of this series! Looks like Hoffman is now working on the third book in the Practical Magic series! YAASSS!!!
Have you read any of these? Do you like reading fairytales especially during this cold, dreary season? How are you celebrating your Christmas? What are you reading? Please share with me your thoughts!
Thank you so much for stopping by! I’d like to take this chance to wish you and your family a Blessed and Merry Christmas!!
Related post: My 2019 Christmas reads.