If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll recognize Jessica Grey as the author of Awake, the modern retelling of Sleeping Beauty. She did a fabulous guest post for me in March on the appeal of the good guy hero, and she is also my Indie Jane co-owner.
This summer, Jessica took a few months off from writing the sequel to Awake to pen a series of fairy tale short stories. If your schedule is anything like mine, sometimes as much as you wish you could really enjoy a book, you just don’t have time. I love short story collections for that reason–I can pick the book up, read 3000 words, and the story is done. My taste for fiction is satisfied in the twenty minutes I had available, and the book is there for me the next time I get a break from my life.
Views From the Tower offers eleven new perspectives on fairy tales we all know. It starts with three flash fiction tales based on Rapunzel, where we get an idea of what it might have been like for her to be trapped, to have a way out, and finally to take charge of her own destiny.
From there, Grey moves on to other tales, such as Rumplestiltskin, Alice in Wonderland, The Princess and the Frog (see my review of this story here), and Snow White and Rose Red. Think you know these stories? Think again. Grey takes the beloved tales, takes them apart, and puts them back together in a way that turns your view of them on its head.
In one of my favorite tales, “Oh My Fairy Godmother,” she takes the mythos of the fairy godmother and makes it completely her own. Her fairy godmother is a modern high school student, about to finish her fairy godmother credentialing. The last step is to fairy godmother someone you know, and as you can imagine, convincing your longtime best friend that you can do magic proves to be a bit of a challenge.
As with all her books, Grey’s voice and quirky sense of humor make Views From the Tower a delight to read. The real-ness of her characters makes it easy to root for them (and their love interests) even in the limited space of a short story.
I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of Views From the Tower, and I still bought a copy as soon as she published. If you like fairy tales that sparkle with wit and romance, you will love this book.
I also encourage you to check out Jessica’s novel if you haven’t already. Awake is a brilliant modern reworking of Sleeping Beauty. Set in LA, two girls stumble upon a sleeping guy in a bejeweled bed, and find a 13th century princess ready to chastise him for trying to wake her when he was not, in fact, a prince. (Full review here)