I’m sure you’ve all heard of Ironskin, the YA Steampunk Paranormal Romance novel with hints of a Jane Eyre story retelling, or perhaps not. Either way, it finally has a UK release as a series of ebooks with a fabulous cover on November 7th. Woohoo for Constable & Robinson! Today I am featuring Tina Connolly’s top 5 fantasy retellings. Don’t forget to visit the other blogs on the tour as well, and a big thank you to Tina for the great post!
Tina’s Top 5 Fantasy Retellings
Oh, what a fun topic! I spent billions of hours in the fairy tale section of our library growing up, and I was always fascinated with the way certain tales would pop up over and over with slight variations. So it makes sense that I love a lot of fantasy retellings—and also, that I would want to do my own. Which is how I ended up with Ironskin, a very loose retelling of Jane Eyre.
Five of my favorites:
1. Pamela Dean, Tam Lin – People have been telling me to read this for years! I finally read it shortly after my first child was born a couple years ago, and adored it. It’s really only the teensiest bit speculative—most of the story is about the joy of studying English literature at a small liberal arts college (I believe the college in the book is loosely based on one in Minnesota, here in the US.) So in that sense, it’s a book for readers.
2. Diana Wynne Jones, Fire & Hemlock – I would be super remiss if I didn’t mention my absolute favorite Tam Lin retelling – one of my favorite books ever – Fire & Hemlock. What I love so much about this book is the way that Jones deftly illustrates Polly’s shifting memories. Things slowly change over the course of the book as Polly tries to figure out where her memories are misleading her, and what really happened when.
3. Gregory Maguire, Wicked – Yeah, I suppose you’ve all heard of this already! I was a huge Wizard of Oz fan growing up—all 14 L. Frank Baum books, all the Ruth Plumly Thompsons I could acquire in the brief windows they were in print, etc, etc—and I loved the way Maguire reworked the source material to make a densely political story. Before the musical came out and everyone had heard of it, I kept describing it to people as, “Imagine The Wizard of Oz is only the children’s version of a dark, complex, true story . . . “ Also, special mention to his book Lost, which has echoes of A Christmas Carol and is neat and twisty.
4. Robin McKinley, Deerskin – McKinley has a number of retellings out, of course! But my favorite is her book Deerskin. The original fairy tale of Donkeyskin is dark and grim, and McKinley deals with the horrifying subject matter in such a careful and keen way. Lissar’s journey is painful and believable. Also, special mention to Spindle’s End, a Sleeping Beauty retelling which I have really come to love the more I re-read it.
5. Alethea Kontis, Enchanted – And a recent one! This YA book blends together a whole bunch of different fairy tales in a lovely and above all, fun way. Enchanted is about Sunday, the youngest daughter of seven. And the sequel Hero just came out, which is about her next-older sister Saturday—I’m really looking forward to picking this up.
Thanks so much for having me on the blog, Hannah! And to everyone reading—what favorite retellings of yours did I miss? Let me know—I’m always on the lookout for more!
Ironskin by Tina Connolly
Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.
It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain — the ironskin.
When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a “delicate situation” — a child born during the Great War — Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help.
Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio…and come out as beautiful as the fey.
Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life — and discovers just how far she will go to become whole again.