Let’s Talk Retellings

I love the idea of a retelling, often more than the actual experience of reading them! If I hear a book is a retelling, I will automatically add it to my TBR. That said, I do have some favourites and some that left me wanting more or feeling disappointed. Today, I wanted to share some of my favourites and may talk about a few of my disappointments in a future post. Let me know if you enjoy retellings and if you have any favourites!

Peter Pan

I have to admit that I did not love the original Peter Pan story, but I have discovered that I do love a good Peter Pan retelling. There is something about the dynamic between Peter and all of the other characters that just works!

Peter Darling was my first Peter Pan retelling and it will always have a special place in my heart. It is set in Neverland and is a hate-to-love romance between Peter and Captain Hook- it was incredible! I thought Austin Chant did an amazing job at capturing the charm and tone of the original story while giving it new life.

Darling is a 2021 release and my first K. Ancrum and I thought it was such a page turner! This book is set in Chicago and is definitely a thriller, not a fantasy. It takes place over the course of one night and we get to see the more sinister side of Peter Pan. My favourite part was the dynamic between Wendy and Tinker Bell!

Peter and Alice is actually a play, which is a form of storytelling that I do not read very often. Something about this one drew me to it, and I am so glad that I gave it a chance! It centers around the meeting between the boy who inspired Peter Pan and the girl who inspired Alice from Alice in Wonderland. Its very beautiful and bittersweet.

Mythology

I feel like all five of these books are popular and will come as no surprise!

Circe deserves all the love that it gets, and I actually prefer it over The Song of Achilles.

Natalie Haynes has the potential to become a favourite author. I want to read everything that she has ever written and A Thousand Ships was one of the best books I read in 2020. I love that she gave a voice to so many of the women who played a part in the Trojan War.

The Silence of the Girls is a book that has stayed with me. It tells Achilles story from the eyes of Briseis. I highly recommend reading The Song of Achilles and then picking up The Silence of Girls if you want to see the character of Achilles in very different ways.

I absolutely loved Norse Mythology on audio, especially since it is narrated by Neil Gaiman himself! I am always here for a story about Thor and Loki.

Lore gets mixed reviews, but I really did enjoy it. I thought it had a unique premise and I loved that Lore takes place in modern day and that it is a standalone.

Shakespeare

All’s Well is one of the strangest books I have ever read, and I am not sure that it would technically be classified as a retelling. The story follows a theatre director who is putting on the Shakespeare play All’s Well That Ends Well. I have never read that play, but Mona Awad does a great job at showing the reader how the invents of the story parallel the play itself. I won’t soon forget Miranda as a character- that is for sure!

Much Ado About Mean Girls is exactly what it sounds like. It is the story of the movie Mean Girls written as a Shakespeare play and it is so much fun! This book brought me so much nostalgia and I thought it was really clever.

I did not go into The Dreamers knowing that it is loosely based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but I can definitely see the connection. This is a beautifully written pandemic book where people are falling asleep and never waking up and no one know what is happening. We follow different characters who are affected by this pandemic, and though it may hit too close to home right now, I thought it was well done.

Pride and Prejudice

Not only does Pride and Premeditation have the most gorgeous cover, it is also a really fun mystery! I loved that Tirzah Price took the iconic characters from Pride and Prejudice and put them into a murder mystery with Elizabeth and Darcy trying to prove Bingley’s innocence. I had so much fun with this one and I cannot wait for the rest of the series, which are also inspired by Jane Austen novels.

Ayesha at Last is a romance that is loosely inspired by Pride and Prejudice and there are definitely a few scenes and lines that put a twist on the original story, which I absolutely loved.

Other Stories

I was going to share some Beauty and the Beast retellings, but, despite having read quite a few, there are none that I absolutely loved, which makes me sad! So, instead we will just jump into retellings of different stories, all of which I loved.

House of Salt and Sorrows is a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and I ended up loving this more than I had originally anticipated. It is incredibly atmospheric and spooky. It is the perfect read for this time of year, especially if you love a ghost story! Erin A. Craig’s newest release, Small Favors, is a Rumpelstiltskin retelling, which I am intrigued about.

His Hideous Heart is an anthology written by 13 different authors who were each inspired by a different work from Edgar Allan Poe. This is another creepy book that I think would be best read in October. One of my favourite anthologies! Dahlia Adler edited another anthology called That Way Madness Lies, which includes stories inspired by Shakespeare.

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter is a fun one because it follows the daughters of many men from classic literature, including Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein, and more. Sherlock Holmes and Watson are also a big part of the story!

I debated between whether I wanted to include My Lady Jane or My Contrary Mary in this post, but I highly recommend them both! My Lady Jane is a retelling of Lady Jane Grey’s life and it is hilarious and satirical. My Contrary Mary is the start of a new series but is set in the same world as My Lady Jane and it is a reimagining of the life of Mary Queen of Scots. What I love about these books is that they give better endings to the lives of real women from history!

I have so many retellings on my TBR, so I will definitely share those with you in a future post! Do you enjoy retellings? Do you have a favourite? Is there a specific story whose retellings you are drawn to like I am with Peter Pan? Let me know!

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29 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Retellings

  1. I like the idea of retellings too but in practice have read very few (only one – Norse Myths – that you mentioned). But I’ll certainly be looking into some of those others – particularly the Poe reimaginings.

    One I have read and wholeheartedly recommend is The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester, a sci-fi take on The Count of Monte Cristo. It’s an absolute belter of a book, whether you’ve read the original or not. And one benefit of Bester’s version is that it’s around 1,000 pages shorter!

  2. Great post! I’ve mostly read fairy tale retellings so I hadn’t come across many of the ones you mentioned, but the Peter Pan ones have piqued my interest 🙂
    In any case, one of my favourites is Hag-Seed, which is a brilliant retelling of The Tempest.

  3. Nice post. Seems like I’ve seen a lot of Pride and Prejudice retellings. And I recenlty read a Cinderella retelling (If the Shoe Fits). I’ve enjoyed all the re tellings I’ve read.

  4. I can’t think of any retellings I’ve read…deliberately. But maybe I have without knowing (or without taking note). Honestly, the only thing that popped in to my head was Wide Sargasso Sea, the prequel to Jane Eyre about the crazy wife in the attic. I don’t think that counts as a retelling though.

  5. I absolutely love a well written retelling! House of Salt and Sorrows is a favorite and actually The 12 Dancing Princesses is my favorite fairy tale. Also a recent favorite of mine is Malice. It’s more of a villain origin story and was SO good. Darling is on my TBR along with Small Favors, which I picked up purely bc it is by Erin Craig and had no idea that it was a rumpelstiltskin retelling!

  6. The Song of Achilles made me cry, it was so beautifully written. I really want to read A Thousand Ships. There are so many good books and not enough time!

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