Happy Labor Day Weekend! It's the unofficial start of fall season and the perfect time to curl up with these two new fairytale retellings!
Today I bring you two different fairytale reimaginings by two different authors that both play with the idea of what if the traditional villain was actually the hero.
First up is The Beast and the Enchantress by Camille Peters!
My Rating: 4.5 stars
This lovely novella takes the idea of the enchantress, the inciting incident antagonist, and asks what happens when she falls in love with the prince she cursed into a beast. This is a very sweet read where the enchantress starts out unimpressed with the prince then is motivated to curse him in an impulsive pique after he hurts her younger sister. I loved the motivation wasn't truly arbitrary or just for laughs evil on Astrid's part. It was misguided and influenced by her own shortcomings in a pursuit of a type of justice. Only the spell also rebounds on Astrid a bit.
While the beastly side of the curse isn't "he's a monster", I appreciated the development of both characters. Redeeming both of your protagonists and making their growth fit takes definite skill. Astrid isn't a "morally grey" villain. Nevertheless, she had some great growth from the brash impulsiveness driving her decisions in the beginning to the change of hearts required for breaking the curse. Overall, a sweet read in a new world that I wouldn't mind reading more of in the future.
Next we have my review of Rumpled Rhett, the latest retelling from our very own Rachel Rossano!
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Oh my goodness, I cannot explain how much I love this book without spoilers. Nevertheless, I shall do my best. ;)
Rumpled Rhett is a reimagining of Rumplestiltskin and the Huntsman character who appears in various fairytales. Only instead of being the villain, he is most definitely the hero. I adore this story and Rhett and Cat's relationship. The arranged marriage/marriage of convenience between them is one of the most touching and sweetly romantic I've read. Rhett has a lot of groundwork to build in earning Cat's trust due to the fact she comes out of an abusive household. This background and how it shapes Cat as well as her reactions throughout the book have been handled with grace and respect without turning the book itself too dark to handle emotionally. It brings hope and reminds everyone that kindness, respect, and love can fan the embers of waning strength back to a roaring fire spurred on by hope. I applaud Rossano for being able to strike the balance of acknowledging the weightiness of Cat's background and family dynamics without making it uncomfortable or too dark and depressing.
Rhett, for all his fearsome reputation, is the perfect gentle hero for Cat and I adore them together. I wish I could say more about this gentle intriguing hero but he has so many secrets and twists in this book and I don't want to spoil anything! This reimagining of Rumplestiltskin also features cameos from some intriguing background characters whose hinted stories are sure to add to the wonderfully rich world developing in the Once Upon A Duchy series. I cannot wait for the next book!
How do you feel about villain redemption or being reimagined as the hero in fairytale retellings? Let me know in the comments.
Kimberly A. Rogers